Where to Drink Vodka in Moscow

A tasty Martini
A tasty Martini | © Ralph Daily / Flickr
Dasha Fomina

Although vodka is ubiquitous these days, Russians have their own way of downing their national treasure. Indeed, there is a particular vodka etiquette. So if you want to get the most out of your drinking experience, here are the places to drink vodka the right way.

1. Beluga

Restaurant, Russian, Seafood

The pleasantly spacious and tastefully decorated Beluga, overlooking the city centre from the second floor of the historic Hotel National, is a project of Russia’s celebrated restaurateur, Alexander Rapoport. With 70 varieties of vodka, 20 kinds of caviar and an impressive assortment of vodka pairings, Beluga is a classy modern Russian restaurant with an elegant take on traditional food. It’s a place where you can drink vodka and feel great about it.

2. Petrovich

Restaurant, Russian, Beer

Petrovich is a cult music club where time stopped in the 1980s. The food is traditional and simple; interiors are deliberately scruffy, and service is a little on the slow side. However, you’ll probably find it full of celebrities and the creative crowd looking for the ultimate vodka experience while listening to a live music band or dancing to 1980s hits.

3. Sakhli

Restaurant, Georgian

Who says traditional Russian food is the companion for vodka? After a mouth-watering dinner at Sakhli, a gold standard for Georgian cuisine, you’ll never think this way again. Appetizing khinkali, lobio, shashlyk and ajapsandal are the perfect match for vodka and Georgian chacha, something that even philosopher Slavoj Zizek couldn’t resist.

5. Café Pushkin

Cafe, Restaurant, Patisserie, Dessert Shop, Pastry Shop, Bakery, Russian

Despite the fact that there’s no shortage of food places in Russia’s capital, Café Pushkin is where your Moscow friends will take you on your first night in the city. Café Pushkin, located in a lovely 19th-century mansion, is the place to wine and dine in style, complete with deliciously cooked and impeccably served Russian and French dishes, elegantly designed interiors and a surprising selection of vodka, including the ones made with thyme, grape and lemon.

6. Oblomov

Restaurant, Russian, Vegetarian, Vegan

This gourmet restaurant, located in the city centre, is the place you should go for a taste of 19th-century Moscow. Oblomov’s casual ambience and dishes, such as smoked sterlet, bear and deer meat, and an assortment of mini-pies, will make even a non-drinker want a shot of vodka.

7. Shinok

Restaurant, Russian, Ukranian

Opened in 1997, Shinok has been the best place to eat the food of Russia’s south in Moscow for the past 20 years. The restaurant, equipped with a petting zoo, has some of the best vodka pairings in the city. The borscht, pancakes and caviar, pickled fish and mini-pies are nothing less than legendary.

8. С.D.L

Restaurant, Russian

C.D.L., located in the history-rich Central House of Writers (Tsentralny Dom Literatorov), is a restaurant with authentic Russian food and spectacular ambience. In this stomping ground of Soviet intelligentsia, you can have three kinds of caviar, inventive cold and hot platters and traditional Russian soups that work surprisingly well with vodka and Russian moonshine while sitting under the chandelier that Stalin himself presented to writer Maxim Gorky.

9. Lyusyen

Restaurant, Russian, French

A beautifully designed restaurant where you can have a traditional Russian meal in a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere, Lyusyen offers plentiful appetizers, authentic Olivier salad, and ground meat cutlets. In other words, it has everything to enhance your vodka experience.

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