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Moscow Nightlife

Impressions of Moscow ...a survival guide by one of our recent teachers


As Westerners, we love to make stereotypes about the East, especially Russia. The truth is that, for someone who has never visited Moscow, it is impossible to make any kind of judgment. It doesn’t snow all year round in Moscow and bears do not roam the streets at night. Not all Russians are mafia hit-men, and yes, people do smile occasionally. However, there is one stereotype that is most certainly true - Russians love to drink. Morning, noon and night, it is not uncommon to see people walking down the street with a beer in their hand. Bars and clubs in Moscow are very popular, but open and close extremely often so it is difficult to keep check on the hotspots of the moment. One thing is for sure though, there are a vast array of nightlife options available, to any person of any age with any taste. From the classy to the wretched, you will never be bored in Moscow. This city has a vibe which no other city can match, a uniqueness which will inspire you to the very core, leaving nothing but vivid memories of incessant madness.

January, 2005

As I sunk into my deep leather seat, I wondered how I’d never found this place before. Red Bar, situated along Kutuzovsky Prospect, on the 27th floor of the Moscow Business Centre, certainly was a sight to behold. Sheek, stylish and full of beautiful people. The view was exquisite- dazzling lights illuminating a city of infinite possibility. A live jazz band and talented pianist were a welcome supplement to my decadent surroundings. Sipping on my cocktail and puffing on my cuban, I thought life couldn’t get much better. That was, until the bill arrived.

Feeling way out of our league, my friend and I decided to try somewhere a little less damaging to the wallet. We’d heard about this legendary place called the Hungry Duck, and were intrigued. Apparently it got quite crazy late at night, so we decided to give it a go. We eventually found the entrance and felt somewhat nervous about going in. ‘Free entrance!!’ shouted the bouncer, carrying half a bottle of vodka and sitting on the back of a horse. Hmmm... definitely not Red Bar we thought. As we descended into what can only be described as a dark pit, we were greeted by Russian after Russian who insisted we drink vodka with them. What followed was truly eye-opening. Strip shows.....and lots of them.....At first it was just the professionals. But about an hour later, virtually every girl (and boy) in the place was half naked dancing on the bar. It was like a contest to see who would go the furthest. Not a place for the faint-hearted I thought to myself, laughing constantly at the madness around me. It was certainly an experience I’ll never forget. That night we had experienced the two extremes of Moscow nightlife, and as we clambered into a lada outside, we vowed, in the future, to settle for places somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

Bars

  • The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie – stylish, cheap, funky music. Best bar in Moscow.
  • Courvoisier – friendly, full of beautiful people, cheap, great music.
  • Soup – great food, very stylish interior, mellow house/lounge music.
  • Help – relaxed, great cocktails, pop/rock music.
  • Garage – more expensive, extremely cool, go on Wednesdays or Sundays for hip hop/r’n’b.
  • B.B.Kings – great live funk, jazz, rock’n’roll, fairly expensive.
  • FAQ – cosy underground cafe, plays acid jazz and frank sinatra, amazing food and atmosphere.
  • Kitatsky Logic – The place for live rock. Very kitsch and cool.
  • Marakesh – asian feel, nice outdoor terrace, good menu.
  • Gogol – friendly, intellectual types, cheap, good food.
  • Pirogi – cheap, cool, popular. Occasional live acts.

Clubs

  • Fabrique – popular, big, unbelievably cool, reasonable prices, amazing women, worldwide DJ’s
  • Propaganda – soviet style, very funky, cheap, go on a Thursday
  • Karma Bar – super place, expat friendly, great music.
  • Kult – funky, soulful music, hookah, live acts, films, all sorts.
  • Skazka – elitest, expensive, amazing design, super good-looking people.
  • Che – cuban style live bands, amazing burrito’s, lots of dancing.
  • Hippo – studenty hip hop, pool tables, fairly expensive.
  • First – meant to be the best club in Moscow, hard to get in, amazing view, tres expensive.
  • B-Club – westernised, expensive, great music, hip hop.
  • Dirty Dancing – cheap, fun, young crowd, bit of a meat market.

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