St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, is also the capital of the Russian brewing industry and provides a staggering concentration of drinking establishments per capita. How do you choose? Here are ten of the most charming and atmospheric bars to start with.
Pub, American, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer
Owners Mikhail Dmitriev and Timur Sokolov established Birreriya Pub with the aim of creating a mix between an Italian tavern and a Belgian pub. Birreria has a carefully chosen selection of beer and the snack menu consists of Italian street food to compliment the taste of the brews. The interior is discreet, with wood panelling and upholstered seating made with red leather. Ceiling-high windows provide an impressive panoramic view of the nearby St. Vladimir’s Cathedral.
Redrum Bar hosts the headquarters of the leading brewery in St. Petersburg, AF Brew. It is said that they initiated a craft brewing revolution in Russia, and specifically St. Petersburg, when they brewed Redrum IPA, which became an instant best-seller. Redrum Bar is a nightclub too, a typical combination for a city with white summer nights. It features a minimalist design, well-organised lighting, stylish white brick walls, and gets filled with an equally fashionable audience.
Sidreriya Pub could roughly be translated as ‘cider bar’, and offers ten variations of draft cider; everything from well-known Russian brands, such as Altai Glory Wood, to Irish classics, such as John Kepplers. The collection of ciders also includes rare varieties of bottled cider which are strictly imported in small quantities. The interior of the place itself resembles a cave, with a semi-round arch in one of the rooms, and is full of stylish whitewashed brick walls, light wooden furniture, and vinyl albums scattered around the walls.
When creating Khroniki Bar, the owners focused on the traditional wine bars of old early-20th-century Leningrad, the name given to St Petersburg after the Soviet Revolution. Khroniki has a typical Soviet period style, including high tables without stools, clear ashtrays everywhere and a herring sandwich on the menu. The bartenders pour mainly strong spirits such as vodka from different countries, whiskey, bourbon and Finnish liquor. The cocktails only include the three most popular, Free Ingria, with cloud-berry liqueur, and shots with the names North and West. Bar Union has a large variety of alcoholic drinks and a space designed to accommodate local band gigs, football meetings and dance nights. The bar has its own grill, on which burgers are cooked using fresh meat and other ingredients, and it also has a lovely open backyard terrace. Try the cider and beer here, since the owners have gathered a great selection of both, including those from the Russian craft brewery AF Brew. They also provide a selection of wines and spirits and all the classic cocktails. Mishka Bar is a lovely café by day, with nice mixture of Russian food and European influences on the menu and very reasonably priced salads, falafel and sandwiches. At night it turns into a nightclub, popular with young Russian crowds thanks to cheap alcohol and good quality authentic cocktails. DJs play sets of everything from from disco to pop to accompany them. Tipplers Bar is located in a dark basement, lined with aged reproductions of 17th century paintings, paint buckets instead of chairs, and a metal bar construction. Cocktails are a distinctive feature of this institution, because they are served in very odd containers, including thermos flasks, tin cups, and beakers. The bartenders pay great attention to the reactions of customers, and each drink is accompanied by a small side dish. Tipplers Bar has collected alcoholic drinks from famed British, Belgian and Irish producers. If you are ready to try something unusual, just ask a bartender, as many of their secret mixes are just an experiment. Dead Poets Bar is a frequent hangout spot for Russian intelligentsia and a place for a quiet, relaxed drink. You will not find any parties or DJs here, but the bar has a selection of strong alcoholic drinks from across the world. The menu does not offer much variety either but it’s tasty: burgers and different snacks including cheese, pickles and unusual pies, from chicken liver pate to fillings with olives and anchovies, served in a baguette. Located on top of the AZIMUT Hotel Saint Petersburg, Sky Bar is the perfect spot for socializing, meeting with business partners or celebrating. The open terrace provides visitors with incredible view of the skyline of St. Petersburg’s historical center. Indulge in long drinks and cocktails, or opt for some of the great regional Russian and international bottled beers. The main a la cartemenu uses seasonal ingredients to create dishes with Russian, Asian and Scandinavian influences.