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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Not Catching

Vi:rus, tucked into Smolensky Passazh shopping center, was hardly buzzing on its official opening last weekend. A shoal of large black jeeps crowded outside while indoors few women seemed to be smaller than 2 meters tall, which was also about the measurement of most mens' chests. Not many dancers but maybe that was just the first night.

Apart from the name and a rabid press release talking about going into the 21st century, the only fancy electronic nonsense was some rather repetitive wall slides, half-decent lighting and a natty disc jockey position.

Go to the toilets though - the men's have barbed wire entwined within the seat and I'm told the women's have roses.

And look out for the owner. You'll know him when you see him. He's small, looks a bit like a dowdy Dustin Hoffman and likes traveling with large butch men surrounding him. His bodyguards - I counted three plus numerous hangers-on - formed a circle round him as he made his way to the exit before speeding off in a car escorted by two jeeps with flashing lights.

Beer starts at 90 rubles a bottle and gin and tonics at 250 rubles.

Vi:rus, 3/5 Smolenskaya Ploshchad, Fri. and Sat. 10 p.m. until last client, Tel. 721-2128. Metro: Smolenskaya.

NEW! Metelitsa Bookmakers

Skip past the casino and head into the bookmakers next door for some beer and sports. Set to stay open 24 hours in June, it's got a decent selection of dishes to snack on. Bacon sandwich and chips for 92 rubles is a favorite. Beer is reasonable (95 rubles for half a liter) and most importantly they have Sky and a dozen other channels so you can watch virtually any sports. And if it's quiet and you ask the manager nicely he'll put on Brookside.

Metelitsa Bookmakers, 21 Novy Arbat, Mon. to Sat., noon to 2 a.m., Sun., noon to midnight, Tel. 745-5839. Metro: Arbatskaya.

- Kevin O'Flynn