Dining and Nightlife in Moscow
As evident from the amount of other attractions described through these pages, the amount of things to do in Moscow can be really overwhelming. However, this by no means is limited to day-time activities. In many ways, Russia’s capital actually comes to life at night. The pretty and evocative historical face and the busy commotion of everyday living and working in Moscow is transformed into a multitude of entertainment options through the night. Whether you are after a traditional Russian meal, top notch international fine cuisine, an ultra-chic venue to splash your cash or a street-wise underground music club...Moscow has it all and more.
Over the past decade or so, the increasing wealth amongst Muscovite has really pushed up the bar for restaurants. With excellent venues competing for strong demand, diners have a great choice of cuisines from every corner of the world. The upscale restaurants charge top dollar but the food, service and surroundings are excellent. More casual options are obviously available as well as the usual suspects of Western franchises. The closer you are to the centre of Moscow the greater the number and wider the variety of restaurants available.
As a visitor to Moscow it is very probable that you will want to sample some traditional Russian food. This is in fact highly recommended and certainly worth doing some research to find a restaurant to your liking. A typical Russian meal is a real event in itself and could literally take hours. Russians treat their dining as a mini celebration taking their time to enjoy the food, the drink and the company. Moscow has a number of recommended restaurants for such a traditional dining experience. Choice really depends on budgets, from renowned high-class, great ambience restaurants to more modest places mingling with genuine locals.
Muscovites know how to party. Hardly anything is taboo in Russian’s capital and, whatever your tastes, you are sure to find a niche that suits you. Typical bars and pubs, happening live-music bars and concert venues, and extravagant night clubs, strip clubs and disco bars all contribute to a great nightlife scene. These venues seem to be relentlessly trying to outdo each other with outlandish designs and daring concepts constantly made up to discover the latest craze that attracts the crowds. This means that, apart from a number of mainstays that have established themselves in Moscow’s nightlife folklore, the ‘in’ clubs change pretty frequently depending on the next fashionable trend. Also, casinos have all shut down as gambling has been outlawed.
The majority of nightlife venues in Moscow remain upon all night and charge an entrance fee. The trendier the club the more expensive the entrance fee. There is also a culture of stringent face and dress control at the door by immovable bouncers who can have rather lofty standards. The dress code may be summed up as ‘posh’ and women in Moscow dress to impress.
Even though Russians are famed for their vodka, truth is that there was nowhere as close to the choice of bars there is today before the fall of the Soviet Union. This made Moscovites look towards their Western counterparts for inspiration and as result Moscow now has its strong share of franchises, British and Irish styled pubs, American bars and German beer halls. The more affluent head out to one of the many striking and contemporary lounge, cocktail and cigar bars.
Bowling alleys, karaoke bars, billiard rooms and other traditional forms of entertainment are still popular in Moscow. It is common to have establishments with dedicated areas covering all sorts of entertainment. So under one roof you may find an area with a-la-carte dining, a sushi bar in one corner and a cocktail bar serving nibbles in another, a disco bar or music club in one room and a karaoke club in another. Entering the same venue you will find yourself moving from a restaurant, to a cocktail lounge and onto a night club.
Browse our Moscow nightlife pages to see what tickles your fancy. The chances are that you will head out in and around Kitai Gorod, Arbat and the Garden Ring to party the night away.