The "Albion" is back. Having been forced to close their popular English-style pub in its previous location opposite the Kremlin at short notice, Dmitry Nikonov and his partners re-opened it Saturday night at 7 Durasovsky Lane, just off the Boulevard Ring.
"The administration of Okhotny Ryad decided they wanted our former premises for a museum," said Nikonov, "so we closed there Aug. 1, and it has taken us a month and a half to find this place and move everything here."
Though the move from Alexandrovsky Sad might not have been by choice, Nikonov admits that the former location was probably more prestigious than it was practical.
"There was a problem with parking there, and we were often forced to close if there was a special state occasion at the Kremlin. Here we have lots of free parking, we're still central, and there are fewer restrictions on what we can do," he said.
The new Albion is larger than its predecessor. In three separate rooms, it functions as a local pub and restaurant, a sports bar and a live music venue.
On the stage Saturday night was the '80s Moscow ska band Kabinet, and their concert was an event in its own right. The group, with the difficulties of performing in the '80s now long behind them, have been working together again in recent years and performed an electric set of old and new material in preparation for an album release in the next month.
Nikonov expects that the packed-out Saturday show was just the first of many that will establish the Albion on the Moscow live music circuit.
"The music is a major thing for us", he said. "We're going to have a mix here — classic rock and modern rock — and we'll have club nights as well. We'll have events that appeal to younger people and to people who are 30-plus."
One thing that has not changed with the move is the wide selection of imported ales and beers on tap at the Albion.
"This has always been a key point for us", said Nikonov. "We have 14 different imported beers, and for many of them we are the only place in Moscow to have them. And we have four different Russian beers."
The menu at the Albion will continue to replicate the style and quality of a good English gastropub, and Nikonov is hopeful that the combination of food, drink and music on offer will continue to satisfy the Russian and expat regulars, including the new locals as the Albion looks to become a fixture at its new location.
The Albion has its new location at 7 Durasovsky Pereulok. Metro Kurskaya. Open daily till midnight, later on weekends.