If you've lived in Moscow long enough and partied hard enough you'll probably have heard of face control. A ritual barbarism carried out by stern-faced bouncers at the city's more upscale establishments, it essentially involves you either getting the nod of approval or the brutal statement "tonight there is a private party." The latter is often combined with a gesture to the exit or an aggressive crossing of the arms.
Rejectees are plunged into an existential crisis. Why me? What did I do wrong?
Waving a foreign passport just isn't going to cut the mustard, and while the decisions and reasoning of heavies at the door are both mysterious and sometimes illogical — you may get in one week, and not the next — there are a few rules of thumb you can follow to improve your chances.
Firstly, dress to impress. It has been argued there is no such thing as overdressed in Moscow, unless you're aiming to get into a grimy but cool basement club. Secondly, Moscow is one of the few places where being a girl isn't necessarily an advantage — probably due to the abundance of supermodel types. If you're in a large group, split into smaller groups of three or four with a mix of genders. And the obvious. Be fashionably early, don't be loud in the line and definitely don't exude the air of being drunk and/or obnoxious. If you don't get in, take heart that you'll probably have a better time somewhere else.