Moscow is filled with cool bars for a tipple or two and a chat. Here are some of our favorites.
Hidden in one of the maze-like courtyards on Ulitsa Petrovka, Voda is a magnet for Moscow's so-called “creative class.” The décor is minimalist and you'll probably have to stand.
Call ahead to reserve a spot; you can't just pop in unannounced. There's no menu: You tell the bartender your preferences and get one of the pink-colored cocktails that are the Voda specialty. So show a little initiative and receive a little attitude - and a tasty cocktail.
17/7 Petrovka Ulitsa. Metro Chekhovskaya. facebook.com/pages/Вода/1512307185459508
Russian for “little box,” Korobok is located in the basement of the Tehnikum, a restaurant famous for its “auteur” cuisine.
Don’t be discouraged by the sign on the curtain saying “Staff Only.” Behind it is a dimly lit and cozy interior with a huge lamp. There’s a short cocktail menu, and the bartender can mix up what you like.
7/5 Bolshaya Dmitrovka Ulitsa, Bldg. 2. Metro Okhotny Ryad. korobokmoscow.ru/index_en.html
Antiquarny Boutique & Bar
You might be confused when you open the door to this quiet spot in central Moscow because it looks like an antique shop.
Most of the furniture and decorations are, in fact, for sale, but people come here for the unique atmosphere and great cocktails. Sometimes theater performances are held.
5 Zvonarsky Pereulok. Metro Lubyanka. antiquarny.ru/en/
At Brasserie LAMBIC, beer is a philosophy and a way of life. Offering a variety of ales — light, dark, fruity, wheat, you name it — LAMBIC won’t just hand you a menu and leave you in the lurch.
Their expert sommelier and waitstaff are always on hand to advise you on labels, flavors, and the perfect dishes to go with every drink. It turns out that beer is a much richer and more complex drink than you knew.
Multiple locations, including 40a Myasnitskaya Ulitsa. Metro Chistiye Prudy. lambicbar.ru
Beer & Brut
If you’re struggling to choose between beer and wine, Beer & Brut has got the answer: both, and plenty of them.
At this elegant manor-house restaurant in the heart of Moscow, visitors can begin their day with a late noon-to-6 p.m. breakfast of tvorog in white chocolate with cherry marmalade and a glass of Prosecco, stay for a lunch of crab burgers and Speyside Oak Aged Blond Ale, and come back again for dinner — perhaps a dozen oysters and a Pinot Grigio Corvesso? No matter your drink of choice, Beer & Brut has just the dish to go with it.
26/1 Pokrovka Ulitsa. Metro Kitai-Gorod. beerandbrut.ru/
Chainaya Tea & Cocktails
Chainaya is one of a few Moscow cocktail bars that occasionally make it onto the international lists for best bars. Designed like a Chinese tea house (hence the name), it specializes in customized cocktails. Call ahead to make sure you’re expected behind an unmarked door in one of the courtyards facing the Belorusskaya train station.
29/1 1-ya Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ulitsa. Metro Belorusskaya. +7 (495) 967 3052
Mendeleev is a bar in the basement of the small Chinese cafe Lucky Noodles. It’s been around for a while, so it’s a “secret” in name only. Exposed brick, antique furniture and customized cocktails are what people come here for. On any night there are plenty of Moscow’s expats here, and there’s dancing on the weekends.
20/1 Petrovka Ulitsa. Metro Kuznetsky Most. mendeleevbar.ru