Year-Round Oktoberfest

MTMunchen strives to recreate the interior and feel of a Bavarian beer hall.
A beer restaurant called Munchen recently opened in place of the Ivan Kalita banquet hall.

This new German beer restaurant doesn't stray too far from the original banquet hall concept, however, with its business card boasting that it holds banquets, weddings, receptions, corporate functions and general festivities. And Munchen certainly has the space, with four halls seating a total of 150 guests.

Such cavernous proportions do, unfortunately, deprive it of a sense coziness -- especially given that it has yet to attract the crowds needed to fill it. The interior is a fairly Spartan version of a Bavarian beer hall, with the requisite wooden paneling and ceiling beams, checked tablecloths and other such beer-barn attributes.

The menu features just what you would expect to find at a Russified bierhaus. There's fried calamari rings (185 rubles), Rostov-style crayfish boiled in dark beer with sour cream or plain Moscow-style (both 125 rubles). Boiled prawns cost 165 rubles. An assortment of fried garlic breads (ciabatta, rye and baguette) is 62 rubles. American-style snacks include quesadillas (175 rubles) and chicken wings (235 rubles).

As for more meaty offerings, there are three varieties of shashlik (chicken -- 200 rubles, pork -- 220 rubles and lamb -- 240 rubles) and a hefty 1 kilogram pig's knuckle (499 rubles). And, of course, no German beer hall worth its salt would offer a menu without sausages -- Nuremburg (230 rubles), an assortment of cold Spanish sausages (550 rubles), pork and cheese (160 rubles), beef (155 rubles), Vienna (215 rubles) and a whopping 1-meter-long Bratwurst for 1,159 rubles.

There are only two German draft beers available: unfiltered Erdinger (260 rubles a half-liter) and the less common Altenmunster (220 rubles). Czech brands include the locally brewed Kozel (120 rubles) and the imported dark or light Starobrno (230 rubles). The house beer goes for 100 rubles.

Given that the festive season is upon us, Munchen should be picking up and becoming livelier -- it might even end up being hard to get a table.

16/5 Bolotnaya Ploshchad, 951-5838, noon-midnight, M. Borovitskaya.