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The former Red October chocolate factory has become the place to be this season. Trendy bars and fancy restaurants, modern art galleries and photo studios, stunning views
of Christ The Saviour Cathedral and Tsereteli’s Peter the Great statue – all this is readily available at the chocolate factory’s former site, on Balchug Island in the city centre.
1. Strelka Institute
The Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design was created by businessman Alexander Mamut and Afisha magazine founder Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper.
Over the summer Strelka has hosted a wide range of public discussions and workshops on contemporary architecture, urbanism, media and design.
But it's not just culture: the amphitheatre comes in handy for screening unique programmes, such as last month’s World Cup and specially selected films. The space between the seats and the screen turns into a happy, sweaty dance floor for live gigs and DJ sets after midnight.
In the autumn, an educational program run by Strelka’s curator, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, is to begin.
Daily 10 am-10 pm, 14 Bersenevskaya Nab., bldg. 5, 771 7437, www.strelkainstitute.com
2. Strelka Bar
The hottest place to be in Moscow this summer, Strelka Bar has an indoor bar and restaurant on the first level and a terrace on the top, with its own bar and a scenic view on Christ the Saviour Cathedral. Despite somewhat slow service and higher drink prices upstairs, Strelka Bar has hosted the coolest parties of the year.
Mon.-Thu., Sun. noon-2 am, Fri.-Sat. noon-5 am, 14 Bersenevskaya Nab., bldg. 5, 771 7416
3. Art Akademiya
This is a restaurant with an inclination towards modern art, owned by art dealer Yevgeny Mitta and artist Vladimir Dubossarsky together with Akademiya restaurant chain owner
Igor Vitoshinsky. An impressively long wooden bar – claimed to be the longest in Moscow – is circumscribed by a lounge with large leather couches and industrially sturdy wooden tables.
A VIP/exhibition room has some Russian contemporary art on display, while another room is turned into a Russian contemporary art museum with photographs of the country’s key figures in the genre. The original glazed tile floor from the former caramel shop has been left untouched, along with the old chocolate factory’s pipes and ceiling.
A small shop in the corner offers books and catalogs dedicated to modern art.
Mon.-Thu., Sun. noon-midnight, Fri.-Sat. noon-6 am, 6 Bersenevskaya Nab., bldg. 3, 771 7446, www.academiya.ru
With mostly Asian cuisine and a great terrace facing the statue of Peter the Great, this is a restaurant “for grown-up club-goers”, as Afisha put it. To get there, guests have to take a ride on an old-school elevator remaining from the factory’s Soviet times and operated by a liftman. Since there is no specified dance floor on the terrace, on Friday and Saturday nights guests dance everywhere. The atmosphere is very relaxed and very un-Moscow – which is a fair statement to make about the whole Red October area.
Mon.-Sun. 2 pm-last guest, ¾ Bolotnaya Nab., bldg. 2, (985)991 0424, www.restaurantmao.ru
5. Rolling Stone Bar
A wide range of guests is welcomed here, from hipsters to supermodels, making the bar a great competitor to the notorious Rai Club located just few steps away.
The bar originally included a tattoo salon, which was meant to be an essential part of its rock’n’roll spirit, but it never picked up and was closed, making more room for the dance floor. For the summer the bar moved to the roof terrace, though the recent weather debacle may have given cause for reconsideration.
Mon.-Thu., Sun. noon-last guest, Fri.-Sat. noon-6 am, 3 Bolotnaya Nab., bldg. 1, 504 0932, rstattoo.ru
6. October Boxing Club
A boxing school and club for “white collars”, this place has three big gyms – two for boxing and one for working out. Its classes include group training and sparring.
A one-year subscription costs about $2,000, with three- and six-month memberships available, as well as personalised individual programmes.
The conveniently located sports bar is appealing for coming together after training.
Mon.-Fri. 8 am-10 pm (from September working hours will be extended), Sat. 10 am-5 pm, Sun. 10 am-3 pm, 5 Bersenevsky Per., bldg. 1, (499) 995 0797, www.bcoctober.com
With its name meaning “glaze”, this private gentlemen’s club is a perfect after-party place for those with money to spend on girls they wouldn’t be able to impress otherwise.
Glazur says it provides differently designed chambers – in French, English, Moroccan, Indian, Japanese and American styles – for relaxation, privacy and access to TV, karaoke and PlayStation.
“You’ll be taken away by the winds of happiness and joy!” claims Glazur’s web site. While some private clubs choose to be discreet, Glazur has a bright, aggressive sign and is bulging with self-satisfaction.
Sat.-Sun. 3 am-1 pm, 8 Bersenevskaya Nab., bldg. 1, 226 1817, www.afterparty.am
The summer bar and restaurant at Forma photo studio is still full of summer gaieties such as ping-pong, fuzball, hammocks and honey dew lemonade. It’s is a prominent rendezvous point for Moscow’s gilded youth, most of whom are the owner’s friends and colleagues – models, photographers and socialites.
Mon.-Wed., Sun. noon-midnight, Thu.-Sat. noon-last guest, 7 Bolotnaya Nab., bldg. 3, (985)760 2423
Known for its strict face control and high-priced hookahs, the glamorous and kitschy club Rai (“Paradise”) was the first entertainment venue to open at Red October (2005) and is the city’s longest-living club of this kind. The wide range of techno music from resident DJs doesn’t really matter since everybody here is concerned only about showing off and sex – one of the recent thematic parties was even named “Only RАЙ, only Sex!”
Thu.-Sat. midnight-7 am, 9a Bolotnaya Nab., 767 1474, www.raiclub.ru
10. Progressive Daddy + Daddy’s Terrace
Owned by vodka tycoon Mark Kauffmann, this club and restaurant claims to be “the only Moscow new-luxury-hippie-place”. Its terrace has the best view of the Moscow skyline from Red October and arguably all of Moscow, thanks to its prime position at the bow of Balchug Island. The restaurant serves mostly Italian cuisine, supervised by molecular gastronomy maestro Anatoly Komm. The club temporarily closed for summer, with a re-launch coming up in September; face control plus one-night table reservation prices at 10,000 to 100,000 roubles work as a filter for those who aren’t progressive enough.
Mon.-Thu., Sun. noon-midnight, Fri.-Sat. noon-4 am, 6 Bersenevskaya Nab., korpus 2, 669 9969, www.progressivedaddy.ru
Dome’s owners decided to go against the mainstream and put a cinema in a bar, not the other way around. The cinema (not to be confused with Dome Cinema on Olimpiisky Prospekt) has cosy couches for up to 60 people, who can enjoy food and drinks from the café while watching art house movies or specially selected programmes; all screenings are free on condition of ordering something from the menu. Parties with DJs and live gigs are planned.
Mon.-Thu. noon-midnight, Fri.-Sat. noon-5 am, Sun. 2 pm-midnight, 3/10 BersenevskyPer., bldg. 7, (499)788 6524, www.domebar.ru
A hipsters’ gallery equally good for exhibitions, performances and parties, this “public space” – a concept that’s rather new for Moscow – is focused on presenting significant cultural phenomena. Founded by two Russian architects, Mel also functions as an architectural studio.
5 Bolotnaya Nab., (499) 230 3109, www.melspace.ru
13. Lumiere Brothers’ Centre for Photography
The focus here is on more traditional exhibitions, especially Soviet retro art of all kinds – from iconic cultural activists to Soviet photography to WWII allies meeting on the Elbe.
Occupying more than 1,000 square metres, the centre’s territory also houses a lyceum, library, café and an art-and-book-shop.
Tue.-Fri. noon-8 pm, Sat.-Sun. 11 am-8 pm, 3 Bolotnaya Nab., bldg. 1, 228 9878, www.lumiere.ru
14. Pobeda Gallery
Nina Gomiashvili, co-owner of the original Pobeda gallery at Winzavod, split from her business partner and founded her own Pobeda – the only Russian gallery to take part in the international Paris Photo festival. Pobeda is currently exhibiting works by Alexandra Catiere, a photographer of Soviet origin, who has been named an emerging star of the international photography scene by key industry magazine American Photo. The next exhibition – starting on Sept. 10 – will be Julia Kissina’s “Shadows Cast People”.
Tue.-Sat. 1 pm-8 pm, 6 Bersenevskaya Nab., 644 0313, www.pobedagallery.com
15. Igor Kormyshev’s Gallery
This exhibition hall, oriented towards Russian fashion, holds public discussions and seminars dedicated to the subject. In charge of all these activities is Kormyshev’s girlfriend, young designer Alissa Lautier, who also owns the Russkaya Ulitsa store conveniently located nearby.
Tue-Sun10 am-9 pm, 2 Bersenevsky Per., bldg. 1, (499) 788 6228
16. Russkaya Ulitsa
Russkaya Ulitsa or “Russian Street” is one of very few places in Moscow presenting exclusively Russian designers.
It has collections from the new generation of fashion prodigies, leather bags made by its owner Alissa Lautier, and labels such as Viva Vox, Arsenicum, Serguei Teplov, Konstantin Gayday and Julia Soldatova, among other brands – some 35 to be exact, many of which surprise even the most sophisticated fashionistas.
Mon.-Sun. noon-10 pm, 8 Bersenevskaya Nab., bldg. 1, 771 0614, www.russian-street.ru
17. Narayana Yoga Studio
With several well-equipped halls open for different levels of training every day at a cost of 400-800 roubles a class, Narayana welcomes everyone, including pregnant women, kids and the elderly. A cosy tea room/library and a small photo gallery help you relax after an intense workout.
Mon.-Sun. 7 am-10 pm, 5 Bolotnaya Nab., bldg. 1, (499) 230 3476, yoga-narayana.ru
18. Sweets Shop
Serving as a reminder of Red October’s original purpose, this shop offers a wide range of classic Soviet chocolate, such as Alyonka, Vdokhnovenie and Mishka Kosolapy, and the weirdly unforgettable Ptichye Moloko or “Bird’s Milk” – a must-try.
Mon.-Fri. 10 am-8 pm, Sat. 10 am-5 pm, 14 Bersenevskaya Nab., www.konfetki.ru
19. Red October exhibition hall
An exhibition hall spread over a few thousand metres is due to open in September, with the first floor intended for cultural events such as the MIGZ festival of contemporary music and media arts (September 3-4), and the second for high-class exhibitions of a more academic kind.
6 Bersenevskaya Nab.
A new bar officially opening in September. Belka’s founder Avanes Pogosyan says it will be the pearl of the island and a great companion to Strelka – like the two dogs who travelled to space. The name “Belka” also refers to “belaya goryachka” (a Russian term for delirium tremens). A sophisticated cocktail menu is to be complemented by live piano, saxophone, accordion and violin music before midnight, and DJs after.
3 Bolotnaya Nab., bldg. 3, (985) 768 5171,www.mainpeople.ru
This café, club and bakery is a creation of the owners of Dirty.ru – the most popular group blog site in Russian. Most likely tired of online activities, the organisers decided to create “a social network of a traditional kind”, set up a huge kitchen, and host a wide range of events, such as previously online-only “Dirty Gathering”. Currently open in a minimal state, Blogistan is to officially launch in September.
Mon.-Sun. 9 am-midnight or until last guest, 6 Bersenevskaya Nab., bldg. 3, (910)429 4644, www.blogistan.ru
22. Krasnaya Zarya + Zarya Bar
A newly-opened “boutique-hotel” with great views from every room, Krasnaya Zarya is way cheaper than the average Moscow hotel of its kind: a two-person room costs about 5,000 rubles. Zarya Bar opens in September.
3/10 Bersenevsky Per., bldg. 8, 980 4774, www.red-zarya.ru, www.zaryabar.ru
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