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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Beer-drinking establishments seem to have taken over the city this season - appropriate in a culture that values beer as much as Russia's does. However, if, in London, going to a pub is nothing more than a pleasant way to spend a Friday night, in Moscow, it's inevitably an adventure. And the Beer House doesn't disappoint.

Because the bar is situated right off Tverskaya Ulitsa, just to get inside we had first to brave the aggressive prostitutes and their "friends" who populate that neighborhood.

We paid the entrance fee, which covers three hours of "beer tasting," an interesting euphemism for the shameless ingestion of unlimited quantities of eight domestic beers (and salted crackers) that ensues. Inside, we found ourselves in the year 1986: Cream-colored walls, fake aquariums, mirror tiles and wooden paneling completed the illusion that we'd been transported to the kolkhoz bar of some provincial village.

In order to speed the intoxication process and save the house some suds, most guests are also served a couple of free shots of vodka, which have little effect on most of the Russian guests but nearly killed a group of lost Puerto Rican tourists who appeared to have been separated from their group and ducked into the Beer House for shelter the night we visited. The menu is limited, though it does include most popular snacks and starters. Our marinated seafood salad (at 160 rubles the most expensive thing on the menu) took 40 minutes to arrive and was then inedible.

While the staff was very friendly and accommodating, the majority of the beer-loving clientele did their best to further the bar's cooperative-restaurant-circa-the-Brezhnev-era feel: men in red blazers and women in wigs and cheap Turkish cocktail dresses. While none of this conjured up any unpleasant associations for the 14 Puerto Ricans, we'd soon lost our appetite for brews of any kind and gone home.

Pivnoi Dom. Cover: 250 rubles for men, 150 rubles for women, 125 rubles for non-drinkers. 12/27 Maly Gnezdnikovsky Pereulok. Metro Pushkinskaya. Tel. 229-6688. Open 24 hours. Creditcards: none.

- Arina Birstein