Bars and Clubs

Photo courtesy of City Space Bar Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy

A Night on the Town

Moscow's night life is legendary. The Russian capital's clubs and bars have a worldwide reputation for the most over-the-top decor; the most expensive drinks; the scariest bouncers with the toughest face control; the most cutting edge bands; the wildest partying crowd; and, of course, the most beautiful women in the world.

Although this might be an exaggeration, it is certainly true that Moscow's night scene is varied, vibrant and very addictive. With the help of our friends, we have gathered an eclectic and quirky list of favorite night spots where you can hear music, grab a bite, order a drink, and do a bit of dancing just about everywhere.

We are capricious. We like bars with a view or with a good after-work vibe. We like them unpretentious, except when we want them to be over-the-top to impress our boss or future in-laws. We may want to nibble, but mostly we want a good selection of drinks, prepared beautifully and served promptly.

When we want music, we want the real thing — be it jazz, folk or techno. We do not want any distractions, unless we are in a mood for distractions and then we want good food, excellent drink, and a bevy of possible dance partners with our music. 

And when we want a club, we want to be surprised. We want to see what we have never seen before. Or, to the contrary, we want the comfort of a club that never changes but somehow never grows old.

Moscow never fails us.

City Space
You can come here to get a bite to eat after work — a bit of sushi, something light from the grill — or enjoy a glass of wine with colleagues, chosen from an extensive and balanced wine list, or splurge on a cocktail mixed just for you that suits your mood, your tastes and your wildest desires. But really, you are going to come here for the view: 360 degrees of Moscow skyline. Comfortable seating, decor that is European chic meets the Jetsons, and hosts and hostesses that make you feel utterly at home. You will not want to leave.
Swissotel Krasnye Holmy, 52 Kosmodamiyanskaya Naberezhnaya, Bldg. 6, 34th floor
+7 495 221 53 57
Open daily, from 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
Wine from 550 rubles a glass

Forte Music Club
One of Moscow's oldest jazz clubs, Forte has been the site of great music by Russian and foreign musicians since 1996. The expansive hall with raised stage makes for comfortable viewing and listening; the outdoor terrace is a dream in the summer months. The food is primarily European — nothing fancy, but reliably good. And the musicians? Alexei Kozlov and Arsenal play here often, and over the years the hall has welcomed everyone from Mashina Vremeni to Procol Harum.
18 Bolshaya Bronnaya Ulitsa
+7 495 694 08 81
Open daily, from 2:00 p.m. to midnight
Wine from 230 rubles a glass

How did this quirky, friendly, affordable club appear on one of the city's most exclusive and expensive pedestrian streets? It is one of Moscow's most enduring mysteries. But here it is, with three halls — circus tent, Parisian cafe, beer hall — and a summer terrace for a drink or nosh. The music is all over the map, from jazz to funk to art rock to experimental, with the occasional disco night thrown in. It is a great place for a quick drink or a long evening.
11 Stoleshnikov Pereulok, Bldg. 1
+7 495 514 09 44
Open daily, from noon to 5:00 a.m.
Wine from 150 rubles a glass
"Gogol is more a bar that is full of people friendly to foreigners than a place designed for them, which is good. The patio in the summer is especially nice for enjoying a beer" — Chris

Igor Butman Jazz Club
Sometimes you need jazz. You need a quiet club where the decor is pleasing, but does not distract from the music. Where the food is pan-European and Russian — tasty, simple, and reliably good. And where the jazz is always good, whether it is mainstream, jazz rock, funk, soul, or blues. How good is the club? In 2013, it was named one of the top 150 jazz clubs in the world by Downbeat magazine. You can catch Butman himself on Monday nights.
Hotel Ulanskaya, 16 Ulansky Pereulok, Bldg. 1
+7 495 632 92 64
Concerts begin at 8:30 p.m.
Martini Bianco from 200 rubles a glass
"The Butman zone and its inherent laws are a unique experience. The show, being jazz, lasts just as long as Igor's faith in his audience does. Starting religiously at 8:30 p.m., it can end between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m." — Max

Photo courtesy of City Space Bar Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy

Icon Club
The former Rai (Paradise) club has re-opened as Icon, apparently at a lower level of sanctity. It has the largest club space in Moscow: a hall for special events, a club and a bar. The decor is without straight angles, like solidified clouds in heaven — or depicted on an icon — with lots of dance space and VIP seating. The bar plays standard pop-rock sets; the club brings in more cutting-edge acts. Face control is tough and they take deposits you can use for drink and food (Asian-European-Russian mix).
Red October Chocolate Factory, 9 Bolotnaya Naberezhnaya
+7 495 364 01 01
Open Friday and Saturday, bar from 10:00 p.m., club from 11:00 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Wine from 500 rubles a glass
"The single women here are particularly discriminative about who they will allow to pick them up. This seems largely dependent on their level of level of sobriety so better not start too early. Anyone with bad luck can always check out the oiled-up and fit go-go dancers" — Max

Kalina Bar
Looking for a place to impress visiting business folks? Head up to the Kalina Bar for the view, the ambiance and a delicious drink. Reserve a couch by the window and forget your problems as a panorama of the city at night lights up before you. If you are hungry, there are two menus offering everything from homemade pasta to sushi. The wine list is long, if a bit focused on France, and the cocktails are terrific. Go with something traditional or try one of their new drinks, like the Mojito Spiced Gold. There is high-class karaoke, for those who like it, and very special concerts, but reserve ahead of time.
 Lotte Plaza, 8 Novinsky Bulvar, 21st floor
+7 495 229 55 19
Open daily, from noon to 6:00 a.m.
Wine from 650 rubles a glass

Masterskaya is a quirky place. It has three big halls — a club, a cafe, and a theater — and everything looks a bit like a stage set. You can have a drink or a bite to eat — European menu with an Asian twist — or stick around for a performance, or stumble on a concert. The crowd is young and hip. The music ranges from a Georgian folk-jazz group to ska. It is sometimes quiet and sometimes wild.
3/3 Teatralny Proezd
+7 495 625 68 36
Open daily, from noon to 6:00 a.m.
Wine from 250 rubles a glass
"Masterskaya is a place where you never know whether it is going to be crowded or completely deserted. It is better to come around 1:00 a.m., after the live concert is over and the dancing has started. It is one of the best places in Moscow to spend an evening" — Andrei

POSH Friends
If you are young and have access to a fair bit of disposable income — at least on the weekends — and you really love dressing up and dancing to be seen, try to get past face control into POSH Friends. Now a favorite with the young, rich and hip crowd, it is one big room with a stage above the bar and seating around the hall. The menu is that Moscow mix of Italian and Japanese, and the sushi is actually quite good.
5 Pushkinskaya Ploshchad
+7 495 500 63 33
Open Monday to Saturday, from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Wine from 400 rubles a glass
"Overall the club has a happy, easygoing ambience. But do not let this mood cloud your judgment! Any sign of over-intoxication or misdemeanor and large men will make sure that before you can blink, you will be sitting on a bench by a fountain in the square with only the pigeons to hit on"— Max

Going to Propaganda is like going back to that great college bar and dance club: you are afraid it will have changed, or you will have changed, but somehow it is as great as ever. Open since 1997, Propaganda is a fine place to call in at during the day for a bite to eat, and a terrific place to hit after the sun is down. Friendly, democratic, affordable, with a changing schedule of music and visiting DJs, it is a place that prides itself on welcoming everyone.
7 Bolshoi Zlatoustinsky Pereulok
+7 495 624 57 32
Open daily, from noon to 6:00 a.m.
Wine from 160 rubles a glass

Silver's Irish Pub
Even people who are not Irish or from the U.K., or have never visited Ireland or the U.K. have a craving for a night of pub-crawling. Crawl no farther than Silver's Irish Pub, opened and operated since 1997 by Irish folks. The decor is cozy. The Guinness is expertly pulled. The sports run nonstop. The pub grub is satisfying, and the hangover-remedy breakfasts are nothing less than miraculous. Their holiday parties are highly recommended.
5/6 Nikitsky Pereulok
+7 495 690 42 22
Open Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to midnight;
Friday and Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to last guest; and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to midnight
Wine from 180 rubles a glass and Guinness from 195 rubles

Shalyapin bar

An exclusive bar. Special cocktails. A particular service.
New cocktails of the Shalyapin Bar.
The Shalyapin Bar, located on the ground floor of the Metropol Hotel, is able to surprise you with both historical interiors of the early 20th century and first-rate service. Qualified and incredibly good-natured bartenders can mix you a cocktail of any complexity. Another reason to become a regular and long time visitor of the Shalyapin Bar has recently appeared — an exclusive line of original cocktails that refer to the era of old times, still coinciding with the spirit of the times and the latest trends in mixology.
A special and unique drinks service combined with the Bar's historical interior — marble pillars, moldings on the ceiling, chandeliers in the modernist style — immerses you in the atmosphere of the early 20th century. The Shalyapin Bar is open around the clock, seven days a week. A large assortment of appetizers and desserts in addition to cocktails are at guests' choice. Free WiFi.

Ploshchad Revolutsii, Teatralnaya, Okhotny Ryad. 2 Teatralny Proezd, first floor
+7 499 270 10 64
Around the clock
Visa, Master Card, Amex

Lifestyle Guide 2014
Lifestyle Guide 2014
The new issue of the Lifestyle Guide presents the best places in Moscow ― fine dining, bars, nightclubs, luxe spa salons, beauty centers and premium-class hotels.
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