St. Petersburg may be known as Russia's cultural capital, but Moscow easily rivals its northern neighbor. Ballet at the Bolshoi, concerts at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and theaters packed for Chekhov plays are among the highlights of the intense arts scene in this city with dozens of theaters and concert halls and many prestigious acting schools. From raucous, boho joints like Kitaisky Lyotchik to sophisticated "minigarch" (wannabe oligarch) hangouts, Moscow's nightlife scene has a little bit of something for everyone. Almost all the major hotels have upscale bars: those at the Baltschug Kempinski, Ararat Park Hyatt, and Golden Ring are elegant and have majestic views of the city. But you'll likely have more fun if you head out on the town and taste a little Russian hedonism, be it sipping a cocktail on the rooftop at Rolling Stone or jumping about to a guitar band at Krizis Zhanra. For those after something calmer, there are several English-style pubs like Sixteen Tons that are great for a quiet pint and a bite to eat.

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  • 1. Bar Strelka

    Zamoskvorech’ye | Bars/Pubs

    The superbly positioned summer terrace overlooking the Moscow River and the Cathedral of Christ Our Savior is the main attraction of this upscale...Read More

  • 2. Ryumochnaya

    Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya | Bars/Pubs

    Ryumochnaya. For a true Russian vodka-drinking experience, head to this 125-year-old tavern whose name literally translates as "shot bar."...Read More

  • 3. Balchug 5

    Zamoskvorech’ye | Bars/Pubs

    This place is not cheap, and the face control gets strict from time to time, but if you're looking for an elite bar scene, it's hard to beat...Read More

  • 4. Bilingua

    Kitai Gorod | Bars/Pubs

    Young, creative types frequent this smoky bar-club-bookshop, which also has inexpensive food, live rock and pop music, and weekend club nights. ...Read More

  • 5. City Space Bar

    Southern Outskirts | Bars/Pubs

    Perched 140 meters above the city and with stunning panoramic views, this upscale cocktail bar is the perfect spot to watch the sun set over Moscow. ...Read More

  • 6. Glavpivtorg

    Kitai Gorod | Bars/Pubs

    Live musicians perform songs from the Soviet era at this enormous retro eatery with a big choice of beers, including its own brand. The traditional...Read More

  • 7. Gogol

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Bars/Pubs

    Cheap beer and a buzzing atmosphere attract a young crowd at Gogol. Head here for a quiet drink and a game of foosball during the week or join...Read More

  • 8. Hard Rock Cafe

    Arbat | Bars/Pubs

    It may be an international chain, but somehow the Moscow branch manages to maintain its own flavor. Locals come for the pop-music classics,...Read More

  • 9. Help

    Northern Outskirts | Bars/Pubs

    Help. More than 200 drink options range from classics like the Long Island Iced Tea to more exotic but well-made local creations. 27 ul. 1st...Read More

  • 10. Kitaiysky Lyotchik Jao Da

    Kitai Gorod | Bars/Pubs

    Live music and tasty, affordable food draw a bohemian crowd to this cellar, whose name translates as "Chinese Pilot." ...Read More

  • 11. Krizis Zhanra

    Chistiye Prudy | Bars/Pubs

    An easygoing but stylish clientele fills this café-bar. In the evenings, the staff pushes away the tables to create a small dance floor. Live...Read More

  • 12. Mendeleev

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Bars/Pubs

    A black curtain to the right of the counter in a cheap eatery, Lucky Noodles, conceals an atmospheric underground boîte with chandeliers, a...Read More

  • 13. Silvers

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Bars/Pubs

    This is the place to go for an authentic Irish pub atmosphere and a pint of Guinness. Wood-paneled walls, shamrocks, and tons of expatriates...Read More

  • 14. Sixteen Tons

    Western Outskirts | Bars/Pubs

    A popular pub with a club upstairs, this spot serves its own home-brewed beer and hosts regular rock and indie gigs. ...Read More

  • 15. Tinkoff

    Arbat | Bars/Pubs

    A lively microbrewery with a wide range of tasty home-brewed beers and hearty German-style food is popular with diplomats working in nearby...Read More

  • 16. Proyekt O.G.I

    Kitai Gorod | Bars/Pubs

    This was one of the city's first bohemian clubs, complete with a bookstore and live music. It has since evolved into an increasingly commercial...Read More

  • 17. Real McCoy's

    Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya | Bars/Pubs

    A speakeasy theme pervades this bar. Weekend nights, the place explodes into an alcohol-fueled party that includes customers dancing on the bar. ...Read More

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