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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Efes Planning 20 Internet Bars

MTThe TimeOnline Internet cafe, which has 200 computers, is in the Manezh mall.
If Efes has its way, Muscovites will have a choice between sipping coffee or quaffing a beer while surfing the Internet.

The Turkish beer company is planning a network of 20 Internet bars in the capital, with the first set to open in the Manezh shopping center near Red Square.

Semikh Mavish, general director of Moscow-Efes Brewery, Efes' Russian subsidiary, said last week that the Internet bar in Manezh will occupy around 600 square meters.

Another two Internet bars will open soon after, he said without giving the locations.

Efes-Entertainment is in charge of development. Moskva-Efes founded Efes-Entertainment with charter capital of 32 million rubles ($1.01 million), and its owners include a Turkish pub owner, according to the AK&M news agency.

Mavish said there are not enough Internet cafes in the city.

The goal of the chain is to popularize the Efes brand, and the Internet bars will host promotional events, said Mavish, adding that a name for the Internet bar has not yet been chosen.

He said that the amount of investment is being discussed.

The move would make Efes the first major brewer in Russia to create its own chain of restaurants or bars. So far, brewers have only worked in cooperation with other companies.

The Rosinter restaurant chain manages three bars in Novosibirsk and Omsk called Sibirskaya Korona, a premium brand of beer owned by Indian-Belgian joint venture Sun Interbrew

Krasnodar-based Pikra, a part of the Scandinavian Baltic Beverages Holding brewing empire, which owns No. 1 brand Baltika, has joint projects in Krasnodar with a number of entertainment complexes and bars.

The new project, however, will bring Efes face-to-face with a range of problems -- one of which is the high lease rates in the Manezh shopping center, restaurateurs said.

Rosinter was forced to close both its Rostik's and TGI Friday's restaurants in Manezh due to high rental costs, said Yelena Novitskaya, a spokeswoman with the restaurant chain.

Manezh, furthermore, is already home to an Internet cafe, TimeOnline, which opened in February 2001 and has 200 computers covering a space of 500 square meters.

TimeOnline's owners had said before the opening that it would be the largest Internet cafe in Eastern Europe.

(Vedomosti, MT)