Russia’s capital city is vibrant and packed with fun things to entertain you during the day, but what do you do in the evening? Drink vodka, of course! Take a break from the sightseeing and try some of these great bars, all in the heart of the city.
Located on the top floor of the Swissotel Tower, the view will have you hooked even before your drinks show up. You have a 360 degree panorama of the city and look straight down at the Moscow River.
Not only is the view amazing, the service is prompt and courteous, the food is amazing and the cocktails are fantastic. Choose your drink from 17 pages of the cocktail menu, or just go straight for the signature drink: Moscow Spring Punch (vodka, honey, raspberry, ginger and lime). For all of these reasons, City Space wins awards year after year and is often voted the best bar in the city. Reserve a table if you won’t be arriving early as this is one of the most popular bars in Moscow and often fills up before 9:00 pm.
Small and social, if you come early you’ll find yourself sitting with local residents who appreciate the family-feel of the place. Another award-winning bar, you’ll also meet up with travellers from all over the world who have stopped in for an afternoon drink to enjoy the ambience.
The location is fairly convenient for sightseers who will surely appreciate the food as much as the incredible cocktails. Hang around for a while and you’ll see the clientele change from the working crowd to hipsters who want to have a great time without loud music.
The signature drink here? Tell the bartender what your favourite flavours are and he’ll come up with something just for you.
A businessman’s bar, the Deli is tucked into the basement of building 20 on Sadovaya-Karatnaya Street. Even though you’re there for the vodka, come hungry so you can sample some of the incredible food on the menu.
The owners make infusions and barrel-aged cocktails right on the premises, which allows the Deli to offer an ever-changing cocktail menu with flavours not found anywhere else. In fact, the best beverage to order here is a sampler of shots featuring the current batch of infusions.
Practice your Russian with the bartender and he’ll give you all the insider’s tips on what’s going on in the city that day. This difficult-to-find bar is so pleasant that you may find yourself returning the next evening for a few more of those infusion shots.
The interior of this bar is decorated with eclectic furniture and accessories from all over the world, creating a lively, cheerful atmosphere that feels like something between a luxury train station and your great-aunt's living room.
It is made up of two large rooms connected by a hallway that has nothing but a bar table. The odd mix of styles attracts artistic and educated people who enjoy a good conversation as much as they enjoy one of the excellent cocktails the Projektor serves. The signature drink is gin, not vodka, but nothing says you have to stop at one…
Part of the Strelka Institute, the bar is a mix of Scandinavian and Italian design from the 70s' – read: shiny chrome and a lot of plastic. Don’t be put off by first impressions; this is one of the hippest, liveliest bars in the city.
The customers are younger as many of the patrons are students at the institute that houses the bar. This almost guarantees that you’ll find someone that speaks your language and would love to spend hours with you discussing art, politics or music.
On a warm evening, choose a seat on the terrace overlooking the river and listen to the jazz drifting out from inside as you sip your vodka. If you’re feeling philanthropic, have another drink – proceeds from the bar help support the institute.
Within walking distance of Red Square, Duma is hidden down an alley in a basement, so it can be a bit difficult to find. They have live music several days a week and the crowd is young enough to find the Soviet-era décor delightful and charming.
The tourists that manage to ferret out the bar find themselves surrounded by Muscovites having a rocking night oute. This is the place to come if you want to have a real Russian experience and enjoy a local nightclub. Summer visitors have the advantage of veranda seating - a bit removed from the music and crowds but with a prime view of the ping pong table and the endless matches.
One of the oldest cocktail bars in the city with one of the longest drink menus around, Tema is lively and inexpensive. You could consider visiting as soon as you arrive in Moscow as the bar is open 24 hours a day, or plan an evening with friends to try several rounds of the cocktails.
The bartenders encourage frivolity and dancing, often inviting patrons to dance on the bar (wearing a hard hat… just in case) or on the wide windowsills. Need to take a break? Head downstairs and curl up on one of the cushy sofas for a few minutes before gathering your courage to head back to the dance floor. Don’t expect a relaxing evening here, but you can plan on great food and a lot of fun.