Kazan is one of Russia‘s cultural hubs, with a vibrant creative and student scene. As a World Cup host city, life after dark is about to shine even brighter in Russia’s Tatar capital. Whether you’re after a gig, a cocktail, the latest craft beer or a dance, check out our picks for where to get your party on.
Fomin Bar and Shop
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
This spot is a craft beer bar that serves up seasonal and staple brews from some of the leading local and international microbreweries, on tap, by the bottle, or to go. Cheerful and friendly with a Scandinavian inspired style, the bar stocks standard ales, lagers and stouts, but also has a supply of more unusual brews, flavoured with curious ingredients such as pumpkin, guava, apricot and papaya. It also has bar snacks with a local twist, such as cured horse meat, to keep you going through the night.
One of the stalwarts of Kazan’s nightlife, Sol, (or ‘Salt’), is a fun night out with the cool kids, right in the city centre. There’s a full menu offering European and Russian standards, as well as a solid cocktail and spirit list to fuel nights that go into the early morning with djs or bands. The lively bar is good for a mid-week drink or two over a meal, or a Saturday night to let your hair out on the dance floor.
Tucked away from Bauman Street’s traffic and the main tourist drag, The Woods is another craft beer bar that offers up some of the latest brews from Russian craft-breweries such as Jaws and Victory Brew. Like Fomin, The Woods also doesn’t shy away from stocking unusual concoctions, with a healthy supply of unconventional beer flavours. It also has a good range of lip-smacking burgers to get stuck into. Slightly dude-y, but super relaxed, there are board games to play and the bar even hosts a beer pong competition.
Dance until the early morning to loud latin music in this Cuban themed bar. The kitchen prepares South American and Latin inspired cuisine, and there is a host of house cocktails with names you probably won’t find anywhere else, such as ‘Cactus’, ‘Cuban missile crisis’ and ‘Che Guevara’. Lively and fun, this spot is where you’re guaranteed to find locals busting out the moves on the dance floor until the party is over. While it should be easy to find on the main drag, if you are having trouble, just follow the beat.
Though a little out of the way, this stylish gastropub and wine bar is filled with young, creative types. The interior is kitted out like the home you wished you owned. Blond wood and Scandinavian inspired minimalism transform the venue into a comfortable and relaxed spot that’s – surprisingly – fairly reasonable. An extensive wine list boasts an international selection and the kitchen proudly turns seasonal and local produce into tasty meals – trying something off both menus here won’t break the bank.
A slightly scruffy but throughly enjoyable pub that is full of individuality and charm, this little place has something for everyone. Depending on the night, you can catch a game, watch a gig, fill up on pub grub, or take your time over a pint or two while you play a board game or read a book. The gigs cover musical styles, from electro and jazz to acoustic sets. What To Do!? also puts on open mic nights, so you can catch emerging local talents.
Probably the most ultra-cool bar in Kazan’s sea of hip venues, this bar takes its name from America’s first celebrity barman, known for his smashing mint juleps. There is no phone number, no signage, no booking, so it really is a venue for Kazan’s in-crowd – the exquisite libations here are mixed by some of Kazan’s best cocktail makers. Dark, broody and cosy, just how a cocktail bar should be, it is best to go with someone in the inner circle, as entry can be selective.
Another great cocktail bar over the river from the Kremlin, this place is far bigger and rowdier than Mr Willard, but just as great, with a less selective door policy than its smaller counterpart. The bartenders are always friendly and unpretentious in their expertise, and for a cocktail bar the atmosphere is lively, fun and relaxed. There is also a pretty comprehensive menu of both bar snacks and meals.