Drink and dance the night away by the river
You’re probably unlikely to encounter many Roma at Moscow’s restaurant-bar Gipsy, but it does boast one of the most ethnically diverse kitchens in Moscow. A look at its website reveals that it has an Australian head chef and cooks from India, Uzbekistan, and Russia — all of whom prepare their respective regional dishes. Whether you’re craving a shawarma or a 9,000-ruble bottle of wine, the menu has you covered. Gipsy’s riverbank terrace is its most popular attraction, with its swing benches and hammocks catering to footsore customers. There’s also the customary ping-pong table for those of us that need our fix. From Thursdays to Sundays, the establishment turns into a raging nightclub that often features eclectic hip-hop.
A cosy kosher corner
If you’ve ever visited Prague then you’re surely familiar with the legend of the Golem who resides in the attic of the Old Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. The synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya in Moscow’s Patriarch’s Ponds neighborhood also has a hidden secret — albeit a pleasant one. Jerusalem is the name of a kosher restaurant terrace located on the rooftop. It serves a variety of Middle Eastern and Caucasian foods, including a plethora of fresh salads with imported olives. The neighborhood’s greenery, coupled with the quaint architecture, is a perfect setting for indulging in Mediterranean delights.
Still going strong
No, we aren’t in the 1920s at a Parisian terrace drinking a brandy with Ernest Hemingway. We are, however, in 21st-century Moscow, where bohemians and rooftop terraces go hand in hand. The Strelka Institute, a non-profit educational establishment for media, design and architecture, boasts one of the most popular rooftop terraces in Moscow. Open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to midnight, and on weekends until 3 a.m., the terrace overlooks the river and offers drinks and dishes from an international menu.
The hippest house in town
There’s something about the minimalist name of Dom 12 (House 12) that immediately gives the impression the establishment is going to be a very, very cool place. Don’t judge a book by its cover, because this venue offers much more than its name reveals. Dom 12 is not just the epitome of hip, but one that consists of a wine bar, a nightclub, a hidden Moscow courtyard, and a two-story veranda.
Get the 5-tsar treatment
Tourists usually flock to St. Petersburg to get a taste of the garish, imperial Russian aesthetic, but if you wander into the restaurant Turandot on Tverskoi Bulvar, you’ll get much more than a taste of it. The 12 grandiose rooms here feature wines that go for double-thousand digits in rubles, small ornate dishes with expensive meats, live classical music, a revolving podium, and an impressive terrace. After a visit to Turandot, you will never again question why Moscow has stolen the mantle of the nation’s capital from St. Petersburg.
No need for a propeller
One of the most iconic animated heroes in the USSR (although he actually originated in Sweden) was Karlsson, a little man with a propeller on his back who spends his days scheming his next blueberry jam heist in his rooftop house. Located on the top floor of the not so fairytale-like Central City Tower is the restaurant Karlson, where the interior, menus, and clothes of the waiters perfectly match the charm of the childhood story, creating a homely and comfortable ambience.
O2 Lounge Ritz Carlton
Where fashion sits
If you’re feeling blue on a warm Moscow day, the Ritz Carlton on Tverskaya offers a wonderful rooftop terrace overlooking the Kremlin. The menu at the O2 Lounge consists of a variety of lavish cocktails with some of the world’s most prized liquors. If you’re hungry, you’ll pay a hefty price for some top-class sushi, but it’s worth the extra 3,000 rubles if you want to get a sense for how Moscow’s glitterati live. In addition to the thrilling panoramic view, you’ll likely get a glimpse of some Muscovite celebrities.