The 2018 World Cup is set to see around one million visitors come to Russia. It’s likely that the vast majority of these will be in the capital at one point or another, and as such we’ve compiled a list of the best bars in Moscow – with everything from pubs to nightclubs to keep you occupied during your time there. For more information about the history of Moscow, please see our Moscow city guide.
We’ve grouped the bars into different sections that can be found on the colour coded map below: sports bars for a decent place to watch the football; well priced drinks and good conversation, for those who want to keep it chilled; wine and cocktail bars, for those after something more classy; and nightclubs, both commercial and more specialised.
For a less discerning list of all the bad Russian bars in Moscow that masquerade as British pubs, go to the Russian government’s official welcome site.
Лига Пап (Liga Pap)
Address: Ulitsa Bol’shaya Lubyanka, 24/15 / ул. Большая Лубянка, 24, стр. 15
Easily the best sports bar in Moscow. Cavernous cinema-style seating in front of the big screen makes for a great atmosphere, however you may have to reserve seats in advance for popular matches. That said, Liga is best enjoyed when sitting (or standing) outside. Fans often spill onto the street for big games, creating a carnival atmosphere.
The Hudson Bar
Address: Lesnaya Ulitsa, 20 / Лесная улица, 20, стр. 1
American-owned expat bar with a great sound system, English commentary, good pizzas and screens everywhere. Can’t really go wrong.
Address: Nikolskaya Ulitsa, 10 / Никольская улица, 10
Things in Papa’s favour are that it has lots of screens, a varied food and drink menu and it’s well priced; it’s also right next to Red Square. However, it’s also underground, dingy, a bit smelly and very expatty. Even so, you’ll probably end up here regardless due to its location.
The Fan Zone (next to Moscow State University)
Address: Universitetskiy Prospekt / Университетский проспект
Not so much a bar as a sprawling square with the impressive Stalinist backdrop of Moscow State University; the fan zone promises to be a pretty special atmosphere. Alcohol consumption is set to be banned in the area around the stadium and the fan zone both on match days and the day preceding it; in the Fan Zone itself beer can be consumed. Expect it to be pricey though.
Well priced drinks and good conversation:
Все твои друзья (Vsye Tvoiy Druzya):
Address: Malyy Gnezdnikovskiy Pereulok, 12/27 / Малый Гнездниковский переулок, 12/27
This street was one of the first to really embrace craft beer in Moscow. Bce Tboiy Druzya is tiny and doesn’t really have any seats – you’re more likely to be perched on top of a beer barrel. The crowd here really like their beer, the music is excellent and live sport is common. Great place to meet locals.
Address: Malyy Gnezdnikovskiy Pereulok, 9 / Малый Гнездниковский переулок, 9
Just next to Vsye Tvoiy Druzya, this place has no TV, no food, just beer – and a huge range of it at that. The definition of the place to go for “a quiet pint”.
Address: Ulitsa Sretenka, 24/2 / улица Сретенка, 24/2
Another craft beer haunt: this time a bit more up market. The combine a great range of beer and cider with a top notch food menu. Often gets packed on weekends.
Address: Bolshoi Zlatoustinskiy Pereulok, 7 / Большой Златоустинский пер., 7
Bourbon is a Moscow institution. It has a very unique character, with most clients sitting along the bar making it very sociable, particularly after hours. Bourbon is open 24 hours and is often at its most interesting at 3/4am. It’s serious about Rock and Roll and has a rugged commitment to not providing wifi.
Бар Под мухой (Pod Mukhoi)
Address: Strastnoy Bulvar, 6 / Страстной бульвар, 6с2
One of the best known of Moscow’s variety of ‘speakeasy’ bars. The entrance to this 24-hour underground bar is hard to find, and the clientele appreciate that. There is a firm and rather arbitrary door policy, but those that are let in get a great range of drinks at bargain prices. Again, most interesting in the small hours of the morning.
Address: Stoleshnikov Pereulok, 11 / Столешников пер., 11
One of the best beer gardens in the city. Gogol is extremely central and a great place to sit outside on a warm summer evening – of which the World Cup will hopefully provide many. The food and drink menu is broad, but nothing special. Be aware that waiters at Gogol have begun to insist upon tips for drinks over the last few months – likely due to the approaching World Cup. Do not feel pressured into giving them anything – tipping for drinks is highly unusual in Russia.
Address: Ulitsa Kuznetskiy Most, 7 / улица Кузнецкий Мост, 7
Another famous Moscow watering hole likely to be frequented by many visiting fans this summer. Its main draw, apart from its location, is its unbelievably cheap beer – around EUR 1.50 for a pint. It’s best to drink in the street or on the terrace outside though – bars this cheap aren’t exactly luxurious within.
Кот Шредингера / Schrödinger’s Cat (inside Shelter Bar)
Address: Ulitsa Bolshaya Dmitrovka, 32c1 /улица Большая Дмитровка, 32с1
Slightly mad and very cool, Schrödinger’s Cat is a very Moscow institution. Hidden, James Bond style, behind a sliding piece of wall in Shelter Bar, this is the sort of place you’ll never find unless you’re looking for it. The waiters, all donning lab coats, make a remarkably unique selection of cocktails, all of which come in equally bizarre vessels.
Address: Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya / ул. Большая Никитская, 19/13
Mayak is a jazz bar above a theatre, however the crowd here is generally very mixed. There’s a lovely restaurant and great live music, but it can often feel very quiet until later in the evening, at which point it turns into a lively dance venue pumping out cheesy Russian classics – a bit of a mix of everything.
Address: Ulitsa Petrovka, 15 / улица Петровка, 15с1
If you really are craving a British pub, this is probably the best of them. Good selection of drinks, especially whiskies, and top of the range gastro-style food.
Address: Ulitsa Petrovka, 15 / улица Петровка, 15с1
Right next door to Haggis. Its main draw is that it’s open 24 hours, but the shisha is also nice and the sofas very comfortable – one for those nights when you feel like talking into the wee-hours. They have a sister bar at Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, 17 (Мясницкая улица, 17с1).
Address: Bersenevskaya Embankment, 14 / Берсеневская набережная, 14с5
Part of the Strelka Design Institute, the crowd here is young and pretty hip. The rooftop terrace has breathtaking views of the Moskva River and Christ the Saviour Cathedral. They regularly bring out a big screen for football matches as well. Roman Abramovich watched the Champions League Final here, so it can’t be that bad.
City Space Bar
Address: Swissotel, Kosmodamianskaya Naberezhnaya, 52 / Swissotel, Космодамианская набережная, 52, стр. 6
Located on the top floor of the Swissotel, City Space Bar is a great place to blow a load of Roubles on cocktails. If you’re one for great views though, this is the place to be. The clientele tend to be stunning young women accompanied by older men.
I Like Wine
Address: Ulitsa Pokrovka, 16 / улица Покровка, 16
One of those where an explanation isn’t really necessary. The wine choice is excellent, the music light enough that you can have a proper conversation, the seating on wonderful padded sofas is excellent. There’s also an outside terrace that’s oh-so-Parisien.
Address: Chistoprudniy Bulvar / Чистопрудный бульвар
This floating bar, built on top of Chistye Prudiy (the Clear Ponds) offers fantastic views of the surrounding lake. You’ll want to be seated outdoors here.
Campari Bar (formerly TimeOut Rooftop Bar)
Address: Bol’shaya Sadovaya Ulitsa, 5 / ул. Большая Садовая, 5/1
Atop the Hotel Pekin, this bar, built over two floors is pretty hip and a great place for a cocktail or two whilst taking in views of the city. They even provide blankets as it can get quite windy up there!
Address: Ulitsa Petrovka, 20/1 / улица Петровка, 20/1
Dmitri Mendeleev, as well as inventing the periodic table, is also supposed to have specified the exact formula for making vodka. It’s a total myth, but every Russian believes it, thus giving him godlike status. The underground cocktail bar named after him is certainly mysterious – you enter through a purple curtain in a nondescript noodle shop, descend some stairs into an alluring underworld with sumptuous cocktails and techno music.
Address: Malaya Bronnaya, 20A / Малая Бронная улица, 20А
Uilliam’s, just next to Patriarshy Prudiy (The Patriarch’s Ponds), is extremely upmarket, frequented by the so-called “golden youth” of Russia. This area has highest concentration of blazers that you’re likely to see in Moscow. A great place for a cocktail and some late-afternoon people watching.
Address: Stoleshnikov Pereulok / Столешников переулок, 12с2
This eponymous bar, owned by one of Moscow’s most famous fashion designers and TV presenters, is home to Moscow’s arty and fashionista crowd. You’ll do well to get in, but if you do, you’ll be hanging round with some very cool cats indeed.
Address: Tverskaya Ulitsa 23/12 / Тверская улица, 23/12
This trendy cocktail bar, with its sharply dressed clientele and a piano in the corner is very 1920s until the techno music is ramped up at around midnight on weekends.
Address: Bolshoi Zlatoustinskiy Pereulok 7 / Большой Златоустинский переулок, 7с1
A favourite student hangout, right next to Bourbon bar – in fact, many people switch between the two throughout the night. Watching the tables get moved aside to make space for a house and techno dancefloor is quite something. Great for a cheap night out.
Address: Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, 16 / Мясницкая улица, 16
Probably the best karaoke bar in town. The songs, mainly British and American classics, are sung with alarming seriousness by a passionate, down to earth audience. Can be hard to find a seat on weekends.
Address: Ulitsa Sretenka, 1 / улица Сретенка, 1
Another self-explanatory bar. 24 hours and gets rammed on a weekend. If you want to be in a mosh pit at 5am then look no further.
Address: Bolotnaya Embankment 3 / Болотная набережная, 3, стр. 2
One of Moscow’s biggest commercial clubs, make sure to arrive in a mixed gender group as it can be hard to get in otherwise. The roof comes off in the summer, leaving you with great views of the Moscow river. The crowd tend to be very glamorous, music is nothing special though.
Rolling Stone Bar
Address: Bolotnaya Embankment 3 / Болотная набережная, 3, стр. 1
Gypsy’s next door neighbour, surprisingly big inside and spread out over multiple floors, great fun attempting to find your way around.
Address: Ulitsa Rochdelskaya 15c30 / улица Рочдельская, 15с30
Another of the more commercial Moscow nightclubs. Spacious and not as deafening as most clubs though, can feel like walking through a garden at times.
Address: Nizhnaya Siromyatnicheskaya Ulitsa, 10c7 / Нижняя Сыромятническая улица, 10с7
Can be difficult to find, abandoned factory in artsy East Moscow, but definitely worth it for techno music fans.
Address: Nizhniy Susalniy Pereulok 5c26 / Нижний Сусальный переулок, 5с26
Very expensive drinks, entrance fee (rare for Moscow), however the after parties here go on past midday.
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