St Petersburg is steeped in cultural tradition and has plenty to offer in terms of music and dance, from worldrenowned theaters to atmospheric jazz halls.
Partygoers and fans of revelry will find plenty to enjoy within the city’s burgeoning night scene, and the constantly evolving nightlife will make every night a unique experience.
THEATRE – MARIINSKY THEATER
Two things spring to mind when you think of classical Russia: ballet and opera.
The Mariinsky Theater has been the home of these two great Russian institutions since it opened in 1860. Named in honor of Tsarina Maria Alexandranov, wife of Alexander II, the theater has not only become one of the symbols of St Petersburg, but Russia as a whole. While the theater is predominantly thought of as a ballet hall, it is equally famous for the stage masterpieces of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rimsky- Korsakov, the singing of Fyodor Chaliapin, Ivan Yershov, Medea and Nikolai Figner, and Sofia Preobrazhenskaya, as well as ballet dancers such as Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Galina Ulanova, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Stopping in for a show is sure to be one of the highlights of the tour, and elite travelers can look forward to a seat in the Tsar’s Box; the best place to view the concerts from. This box is always highly sought after so call ahead to avoid disappointment.
+7 812 326 4141
1 Theatre Square, 196240
There are few clubs in the world set in a former 19th century mansion, but then, this is St Petersburg.
The ever changing nightlife means that finding the right clubs is often a case of speaking to your concierge; clubs tend to open for a short period of time before closing down and moving to a new location with a different name, keeping the scene fresh and original. The newest clubs will highlight the direction that the St Petersburg sound is heading in. Nightclubs in St Petersburg tend to range from abandoned bomb shelters to impressive buildings designed by famous Russian architects. Such is the case with Ostrov, designed by Briullov. The interior of the club is understandably classy, with a clientele of wealthy Russians coming here for the exclusive alcohol and erotic shows. There are VIP rooms upstairs available for hire that provide some breathing space from the often hectic dance floor area. Popular with both Russian and international celebrities alike, Ostrov more than lives up to its high-class setting.
If your idea of Russia involves sitting around a gorgeously decorated bar drinking fine cognac while smoking expensive cigars, and chatting to local and ex pat millionaires, then the bars at the Taleon Club will be perfect.
Beautifully decorated with artwork from the Renaissance, comfortable seating and exquisite antiques, both the Eliseev and the Atlantes are two of the finer bars in St Petersburg. The warm atmosphere is sure to be the perfect tonic for the cold Russian winter days.
+7 812 324 9911
Nevsky prospect 15, 191186
JFC JAZZ CLUB
For those who prefer their jazz a little livelier, there is the JFC Jazz Club, where the hip, young crowd of St Petersburg head for a more energetic and dynamic evening.
An intimate affair, the JFC Jazz Club is well known for its innovative approach to jazz; international musicians such as Eddy Gomez and Lenny White have performed here, and it isn’t unusual to find Dixieland, Latino or even Folk music being played. Still, regardless of the genre of music, the crowd is always on its feet and looking to have a good time. Both jazz clubs are likely to be extremely busy, so it’s best to call ahead and book a table to avoid disappointment.
Located in the delightful Hotel Astoria, the Kandinsky Bar is where the elite of St Petersburg like to wet their whistles.
Named after the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, famous for being one of the pioneers of the Abstract art movement, the bar abounds with luxury and class, amid a stylish décor. Wealthy patrons come here to enjoy an extravagant cocktail or sample some of the exclusive whiskeys on offer, while leaning back, smoking one of the many fine cigars and conversing with other affluent locals and ex pats. The bar also has a selection of tantalizing desserts and light meals for those feeling a little peckish. Open 24 hours a day and with live music in the evenings, this is one of the most comfortable and fashionable places in town.
Walter C. Neumann, General Manager
+7 812 494 5137
39 Bolshaya Morskaya, 190000
JAZZ PHILHARMONIC HALL
It may come as a surprise for many visitors to St Petersburg, but jazz music is very popular here.
Considering the former Soviet Union’s often disparaging attitude towards Western (specifically American) culture, it is curious to find such an array of jazz establishments in St Petersburg; yet, since the first live Russian jazz concert in 1922, jazz music has managed to thrive and flourish. Opened in 1989 by David Goloshekin, a world-famous and highly regarded musician, the Jazz Philharmonic Hall is where the cream of St Petersburg come to enjoy the music. A classy and highly sophisticated bar, the hall is ideal for those who enjoy their traditional jazz, and a quiet atmosphere is encouraged.