Now that spring has finally sprung in Moscow, the city's numerous cafes and bars have opened up their roofs and terraces, offering those Muscovites who don't leave the city every weekend for the dacha the chance to enjoy the sunshine in comfort. Nearly 2,000 of these summer verandas are open at venues across the city. To help you choose the best al fresco experience, the Moscow Times has put together this list of the Russian capital's best terraces for every occasion.
Best for families with children
Keeping your children entertained and happy on a swelteringly hot day can be a challenge, which is why the Anderson chain of family cafes have now opened four summer verandas, each offering a range of exciting toys and games to create what will undoubtedly be a summer paradise for children and adults alike.
Anderson on Gilyarovskogo: Just a few steps from Prospekt Mira metro station, the Anderson Cafe on Gilyarovskogo provides "a cosy island of calm in the heart of Moscow." Guests can enjoy the shaded terrace while their children amuse themselves in a "mini-town," complete with a bridge, playhouses and a sandbox, in bright colors to suit the sunny weather.
Address: 39 Gilyarovskogo Ulitsa. 495-380-1304. Metro: Prospekt Mira. cafe-anderson.ru.
Best for 20-somethings
Gogol Bar: best known for its pleasantly affordable beers, Gogol Bar on Stoleshnikov Pereulok is a hotspot for young people in Moscow looking for live music in a prime location with the opportunity to make the most of the fresh summer air. Gogol offers its customers the chance to soak up the rays and make the most of the long summer evenings on its courtyard terrace. Guests can enjoy the friendly atmosphere and even benefit from screenings of rare films, live concerts and discos.
Address: 11 Stoleshnikov Pereulok, bldg. 1. 495-514-0944. Metro: Chekhovskaya. gogolclub.ru.
Best for brunch
Breakfast Cafe: while this cafe technically doesn't have a veranda or terrace in the same way as other cafes on this list, the enormous glass doors that fold entirely away during warm weather make the cafe join with the street, as tables packed with delighted customers spill out onto the pavement. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the tasty menu offered by Breakfast is definitely one not to miss. From their granola and kasha-based "healthy menu" to other "happy" breakfasts including eggs, pancakes and whoopie cookies, as the name suggests, the team here really knows how to do morning food well.
Address: 2/1 Malaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa, 916-640-8636, Metro: Pushkinskaya. breakfastcafe.ru.
Black Market Cafe: even the pictures on the website of this cafe are enough to make the hungry traveler drool — and the prospect of enjoying them on Black Market's summer terrace looking out over Usadba Park is a delightful one. The cafe is open from 10am and caters to all sorts of tastes, from those hankering after fruity granola to a ravenous omelette fan. If you feel the need to stretch your legs after satisfying yourself with these delicious offerings, the cafe sometimes sets up a ping pong table.
Address: 2/1 Usacheva Ulitsa, 495-989-0445. Metro: Frunzenskaya. blackmarketcafe.ru.
Best for views
Strelka: Strelka Bar on the banks of the Moscow River is still the ultimate mecca for the view-hunter in Moscow. The Strelka Institute was created in 2009 to positively impact on the cultural and physical landscapes of Russian cities, encouraging the exploration of new ideas and values — a principle that continues in its summer program, when the courtyard and rooftop area turn into a lecture hall, workshop, cinema, playground and bar. The bar boasts an excellent range of cocktails and an international menu, as well as street food from the kiosk in the courtyard. Weekends at Strelka feature special music programs, from dj sets to live performances, all against the beautiful backdrop of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Address: 14 Bersenevskaya Embankment, bldg. 5, 495-771-7416. Metro Polyanka. strelka.com/bar.
Time Out Rooftop Bar: This 12th floor bar boasts views from two sides — one over Tverskaya and Bretskaya streets, the other side to the Satire theatre and the Garden Ring. Their exciting and extensive cocktail list is divided into "times" — from breakfast time to "sundown time," you can enjoy a refreshing (or reviving) cocktail while looking out over one of the best views of central Moscow. Open from midday every day, TimeOut Rooftop Bar catches the sunshine and the atmosphere of this lively city, and on the weekend, the space lights up with music acts and dancing through the night.
Address: 5/1 Bolshaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Hotel Pekin. 495-229-0180. Metro Mayakovskaya. torooftop.ru.
Best for a romantic date
Chips: despite its rather unglamorous name, one of Arkady Novikov's top restaurants boasts a cosy and partly shaded summer terrace. The view over Petrovka Ulitsa is excellent, and the combination of a comfortable atmosphere and a very reasonably priced menu is all you need to create the perfect date — not to mention the extensive cocktail list and Novikov's signature delicious food.
Address: 7 Kuznetskiy Most. 495-628-6867. Metro Kuznetsky Most. novikovgroup.ru.
Best for coffee
Cafe Confael: Confael Cafe is one of a run of outdoor terraces lining the pavement down Nikistiy Bulvar, but seems easier to overlook than its neighbors. This is an inexplicable oversight, since its wide-ranging menu of coffees, both hot and cold, hot chocolates, and accompanying chocolate treats is quite a sight to behold. Try the berry coffee frappucino or the hot chocolate with chili for a taste that's just a little bit different. It is also allegedly home to a portrait of Prince William and Kate Middleton — in chocolate form.
Address: 1a Kozitskiy Pereulok. 495-960-5873. Metro Arbatskaya. confael.ru.
Bosco Cafe: Accompanying your coffee here is a one-of-a-kind view of Red Square and Lenin's mausoleum that will stay with you forever. Combined with a chic interior, prime location and simple but classic Mediterranean menu, Bosco Cafe gives customers the central Moscow summer experience accompanied by live music and the fresh breeze blowing across from St Basil's Cathedral.
Address: GUM dept. store, 3 Red Square. 495-620-3182. Metro Okhotny Ryad. bosco.ru.
Best for the real foodie
Russian Seasons: This restaurant was founded by Russian star chef Anatoly Komm and it shows. It's a fairly pricey seventh-floor view, but the experience of dining on fine red shrimp or carefully crafted borshch with foie gras served to you by a team of Komm's loyal and very knowledgeable waiters on an alfresco terrace is one that tourists and Muscovites alike have flocked to try.
Address: 8A Strastnoy Bulvar. 495-229-2800. Metro Chekhovskaya. russkie-sezony.com.