Moscow nightlife can be both fun and very confusing.
Restaurants often turn into clubs, and of course there’s the infamous ‘face control’ door policy which only admits the most beautiful, the most cash-laden and the most cultured – and very much depends on the whim of the ‘face master’ on the door at each club.Head to the right venue though, and you’ll find them full of beautiful people up for a crazy party.
Asking your hotel to phone ahead can help, as well as taking a few glamorous faces – and the ability to spend. Face control is simple; those who look cultured, wealthy and beautiful get in, those that don’t, won’t.
Cuisine: European, Japanese
RAI. It’s not just the name of a club – it’s the benchmark of glamour, the pinnacle of hedonism and the definition of an entire clubbing era.
A growing organism, RAI is always developing to remain at the forefront of club culture. Since hitting the Moscow scene four years ago, the club has refined its cutting edge vibe and today you’ll find a trendsetting venue that competes with the world’s most distinguished nightspots.
RAI sits at the heart of the Russian capital and pulsates with the beat of this legendary city. Loud and lavish, the parties here attract some of the most beautiful people on the planet.
Always evolving and moving with the times, RAI last year launched Evolution, a brand new program of quality music, stunning shows and an atmosphere you won’t find elsewhere. Trendy, tasty and utterly irresistible, RAI is the club of choice for those in the know.
Opening hours: Thu, Fri, Sat 11pm – 7am
Type of music: House, vocal house, deep house, progressive house, mash-up
Bolotnaya Embankment, 9 (near the Red October chocolate factory)
+7 985 364 0101
CITY SPACE BAR
The top floor of the luxurious Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy is home to one of Moscow’s trendiest bars. Chic, stylish and ultra-modern, City Space Bar is a great place to start and finish your evening.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a breathtaking 360 view of the Moscow skyline, while the expert bartenders mix up a selection of fabulously extravagant cocktails; classic drinks have been given a modern twist by these ‘cocktail designers’. Winner of several awards, including the coveted World’s Top Ten Bars (by the Bartender’s Guide 2008), City Space Bar is a hotspot for the city’s fashionable elite.
+7 495 221 5357
34th floor Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy, Kosmodamianskaya Nab, 52, 6, Moscow 115054
Rivalling Imperia Lounge for the toughest door policy in Moscow, Soho Rooms attracts Russia’s social elite.
Models and celebrities are in abundance, as well as the capital’s movers and shakers. The club consists of four different rooms: the Dining Room, Disco Room, Bar Room and the Summer Terrace. The Disco Room is where the action happens and where you’ll find top DJ’s David Guetta and Alex Gaudino luring the likes of Naomi Campbell, Gerard Butler and Roman Abramovich onto the dance floor. Located on the banks of the River Moscow, Soho Rooms is one of Moscow’s premier clubs and is highly recommended.
Manager: Dmitry Braude, Managing Director
+7 495 988 7474
Savvinskiy Embankment, Pereulok 12, Str 8, Moscow
One of the world’s finest opera and ballet halls is returning to active service this year.
The Bolshoi Theatre, the second largest opera house in Europe, is one of the most instantly recognizable monuments in the Russian capital. The opera house has been in existence since 1776, and despite several fires and a bomb attack, the theatre’s Classical Greek design is still very impressive. The Theatre has a varied ballet and opera program, many of which are traditional Russian performances, such as Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. Currently, the main stage of the Bolshoi Theatre is closed while it undergoes a $730m renovation that will see the theatre reemerge as one of the world’s top opera halls. During the early part of 2011, shows will still be available at the Bolshoi Theatre’s New Stage.
Considered by many Russians to be the best place to start your evening before heading for the slightly wilder clubs, Kalina is a stylish bar with a fabulous view.
Located on the 21st floor of a Moscow high-rise and just a few minutes walk from Old Arbat street, the bar offers a breathtaking view of Moscow and an elegant and sophisticated interior. The bar has an excellent drinks menu that includes a vast array of cocktails, expertly prepared for you by the resident mixologists.
+7 495 229 5519
8, Novinskiy Boulevard, Lotte Plaza Shopping Center, 21st floor
When the company that produces Imperia Vodka announced that it would be opening a club in Moscow in 2010, it caused a stir amongst Muscovites.
Since vodka is the national drink in Russia, any announcement from one of the country’s main distributors was likely to create a buzz, and with Imperia Lounge, the hype was justified. Floor-to-ceiling screens project lasers and graphics onto the walls and the clientele is almost entirely made up of Russian models and celebrities. The club has one of the toughest door policies in town and exercises the legendary Moscow face-control, so you’ll really have to impress to get past that velvet rope. Once inside you’ll see why Imperia Lounge is the place to see and be seen. The multi-level industrial space features wall-mounted LCD displays and go-go dancers suspended on circular pedestals above sunken lounge spaces, together with a cool VIP deck. The music is supplied by some of the hottest DJs around, making it one of the coolest dance floors in Moscow. It gets hot and sweaty so be prepared for a crush!
Olga Milenina, VIP Manager
+7 495 967 0990
5 Mantulinskaya Ul, Building 7, Moscow 121151
Housed in a cavernous 17th century converted warehouse, GQ Bar is the brainchild of restaurateur Arkady Novikov.
The entrepreneur owns a string of restaurants and bars across Russia, all of which have a reputation for the high-class clientele they attract and the quality of food and drink on offer. GQ Bar continues this theme with the clientele seemingly pulled from the magazine images that adorn the walls of the restaurant. The bar has a timeless décor of dark oak and white walls, and the large windows provide plenty of light. A great place to start your evening, GQ Bar is located in the Baltschug area, close to many of Moscow’s finest hotels and tends to attract a more mature, business-minded crowd.
+7 495 956 7775
Ulitsa Baltschug Dom 5, Moscow