St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg's cultural life is one of its top attractions. The city oozes musical history, and there's a fascinating and thrilling concentration of the brightest names in classical music here. Russian classical ballet was also born in St. Petersburg and you can almost always catch a performance of Swan Lake at any time of the year.

The city's nightclubs and discos can't compete with Moscow's glamorous establishments in terms of grand scale, pomp, and attitude, but they offer a more laid-back environment and friendlier crowds.

Your best source for information about what's going on is the St. Petersburg Times (www.sptimes.ru), a free, local, independent English-language weekly that's published on Wednesdays. It can be found at airline offices, bars, clubs, hotels, cafés, and other places generally patronized by foreigners or students. The publication has a calendar of events in the Arts and Culture section, with theater and concert listings, a club guide, and a restaurant column.

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  • 1. Shamrock Irish Pub

    Admiralteisky | Bars/Pubs

    A long-standing favorite of local expats, this jolly inn with great pub food, cozy wooden furnishings, and a reasonable selection of beer stands...

    A long-standing favorite of local expats, this jolly inn with great pub food, cozy wooden furnishings, and a reasonable selection of beer stands across the street from the Mariinsky Theatre. The company's younger talent can be often spotted having a quick bite or beers here at any time of day. Live Irish music is played every night, except Tuesday and Friday, and a bargain-priced set lunch is available weekdays.

    27 ul. Dekabristov, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 190000, Russia
    812-570–4625
  • 2. Cafe Sunduk

    Liteiny/Smolny

    Head to this intimate and quiet little art café decorated in a British colonial style for live jazz, blues and rock. The menu is varied...

    Head to this intimate and quiet little art café decorated in a British colonial style for live jazz, blues and rock. The menu is varied and good but inexpensive. Beware, though: the toilet, with its many large but defunct locks, is designed to confuse the guests.

    42 ul. Furshtatskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191123, Russia
    812-272–3100
  • 3. Central Station

    City Center

    A youthful, fashionable, mixed crowd packs onto three floors, each with its own character, interlinked by a number of dark staircases. There are theme nights,...

    A youthful, fashionable, mixed crowd packs onto three floors, each with its own character, interlinked by a number of dark staircases. There are theme nights, drag shows, multiple lounge areas, karaoke, and a counter that serves food.

    1 ul. Lomonosova, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191011, Russia
    812-312–3600
  • 4. Daiquiri Bar

    City Center

    Cocktail bars are few and far between in St. Petersburg but for expertly mixed drinks, rely on the talented bartenders here. The music is geared...

    Cocktail bars are few and far between in St. Petersburg but for expertly mixed drinks, rely on the talented bartenders here. The music is geared to a young, hip crowd and can become a bit loud later in the evening, so go early if you want to have a conversation without shouting.

    1 ul. Bolshaya Konyushennaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-943–8114
  • 5. Datscha

    City Center

    A tremendously popular haunt of expats, bohemians, students, and night owls takes after the merry joints of the Reeperbahn in Hamburg (the owner is German)....

    A tremendously popular haunt of expats, bohemians, students, and night owls takes after the merry joints of the Reeperbahn in Hamburg (the owner is German). The galvanizing spirit of this eclectic art bar is hugely addictive—despite its claustrophobic size, low ceilings, shabby setting, horrific toilets, and lack of food beyond peanuts. The music, mainly rock and ska, is loud enough to make conversation barely possible. Reckless dance parties sometimes get out of hand and spill into the street, where neighboring bar Fidel soaks up the overflow.

    9 ul. Dumskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    No phone
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Dickens

    Admiralteisky | Bars/Pubs

    This outlet of a chain that originated in Riga, Latvia serves up a lot of Merrie Olde England kitsch. The food is pricey but good. ...

    This outlet of a chain that originated in Riga, Latvia serves up a lot of Merrie Olde England kitsch. The food is pricey but good.

    108 nab. Reki Fontanki, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 190013, Russia
    812-702–6263
  • 7. Fish Fabrique

    Vladimirskaya

    This is a favorite haunt of locals and expats who enjoy drinking and listening to local alternative musicians, or who just want to play table...

    This is a favorite haunt of locals and expats who enjoy drinking and listening to local alternative musicians, or who just want to play table football.

    10 ul. Pushkinskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191040, Russia
    812-764–4857
  • 8. Griboyedov

    Vladimirskaya

    The best underground (literally) club in the city, this small former bomb shelter is usually packed with friendly, down-to-earth hipsters. It's owned and operated by...

    The best underground (literally) club in the city, this small former bomb shelter is usually packed with friendly, down-to-earth hipsters. It's owned and operated by a local band. In addition to decent live music, there's a mix of talented DJs spinning house, techno, and funk; check listings for different nights. Upstairs is Griboyedov Hill, or GH, which houses a small cafe, a couple of terraces that offer outdoor seating in the summer, and lmusic fare that is lighter than that to be heard in the club proper.

    2a ul. Voronezhskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191119, Russia
    812-764–4355
  • 9. Hallelujah Bar

    City Center

    This little bar stands out from the rest by the young, attractive, and friendly crowd it draws in. Always packed at weekends, getting to the...

    This little bar stands out from the rest by the young, attractive, and friendly crowd it draws in. Always packed at weekends, getting to the bar can be a bit of a chore but the retro 1980s and '90s music makes the wait more bearable.

    7 ul. Inzhenernaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191011, Russia
    812-314–5926
  • 10. Jazz Philharmonic Hall

    Vladimirskaya

    Russia's top jazz musicians, including the Leningrad Dixieland Band and the David Goloshchokin's Ensemble, regularly appear at this venue in a turn-of-the-20th-century building, as do...

    Russia's top jazz musicians, including the Leningrad Dixieland Band and the David Goloshchokin's Ensemble, regularly appear at this venue in a turn-of-the-20th-century building, as do visiting jazz luminaries.

    27 Zagorodny pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191180, Russia
    812-764–8565
  • 11. JFC Jazz Club

    Liteiny/Smolny

    The most popular jazz venue in town attracts top musicians performing all styles of jazz: acid funk, swing and blues, avant-garde, mainstream, improvisation. The only...

    The most popular jazz venue in town attracts top musicians performing all styles of jazz: acid funk, swing and blues, avant-garde, mainstream, improvisation. The only disadvantage is its modest size, so you may want to reserve a seat ahead of time.

    33 ul. Shpalernaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191123, Russia
    812-272–9850
  • 12. Kabare

    Vladimirskaya

    This gay club has been going for years, in one incarnation or another. Attracting a friendly mixed crowd, the emphasis is on having a good...

    This gay club has been going for years, in one incarnation or another. Attracting a friendly mixed crowd, the emphasis is on having a good time and everyone is welcome. Shows at the weekend start at 2 am and attract a loyal following. The club serves coffee and light snacks from noon on weekdays.

    43 ul. Razyezhaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191119, Russia
    812-764–0901
  • 13. Kneipe Jager Haus

    Admiralteisky | Bars/Pubs

    Designed as a cozy hunting lodge, this German pub is one of the quieter drinking venues in town. It has vaulted brick ceilings, antique bric...

    Designed as a cozy hunting lodge, this German pub is one of the quieter drinking venues in town. It has vaulted brick ceilings, antique bric-a-brac, and stuffed wild animals and game trophies.The spirited and highly herbal Jägermeister digestif pops up in just about every other drink offered here, including the popular Grizli and Jager-Cola cocktails. There's also a sauerkraut-heavy German menu available and a filling three-course business lunch on weekdays. The pub, open round the clock, also has branches at 17 ulitsa Pravdy and 64 Srednii prospekt.

    34 ul. Gorokhovaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 190023, Russia
    812-310–8270
  • 14. KwakInn

    Vasileostrovskaya

    This pint-size Belgian pub—the only one in town—is one of the city's friendliest venues. Within its yellow walls you can get mouthwatering mussels and frites...

    This pint-size Belgian pub—the only one in town—is one of the city's friendliest venues. Within its yellow walls you can get mouthwatering mussels and frites and a couple of dozen Belgian beers, both draft and bottled. In addition to the beers, Belgium is evoked with Tin-Tin cartoons and posters recalling Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Audrey Hepburn.

    37 Bolshoi pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 199178, Russia
    812-493–2639
  • 15. Malevich Bar

    Liteiny/Smolny

    Friendly and unpretentious, this club by night also offers a number of classes, such as tango and vocal training, during the early evenings to prepare...

    Friendly and unpretentious, this club by night also offers a number of classes, such as tango and vocal training, during the early evenings to prepare clients for dance floor magic and karaoke. Not particularly easy to find or very well decorated, the club still manages to be welcoming and entertaining.

    109 Moskovsky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 196084, Russia
    812-920–3207
  • 16. Metro

    Vladimirskaya

    An old standard is as popular as ever and continues to draw fashionable teenagers from all over the city and the suburbs. Each of the...

    An old standard is as popular as ever and continues to draw fashionable teenagers from all over the city and the suburbs. Each of the three floors plays different music. The door policy is very strict.

    174 Ligovsky pr., St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 192007, Russia
    812-766–0211
  • 17. Mishka Bar

    Vladimirskaya

    Local celebrity DJs spin their favorite discs at this club, which is popular with expats for its international vibe....

    Local celebrity DJs spin their favorite discs at this club, which is popular with expats for its international vibe.

    40 nab. Reki Fontanki, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191025, Russia
    812-643–2550
  • 18. Money Honey Saloon

    City Center

    If rockabilly is your thing, or if you simply want to see a country-western saloon in Russia, head to this always-crowded bar for dancing and...

    If rockabilly is your thing, or if you simply want to see a country-western saloon in Russia, head to this always-crowded bar for dancing and lots of fun. The live music usually starts at 8 pm. A minimal cover charge is collected sporadically.

    13 Apraksin Dvor, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191023, Russia
    812-310–0549
  • 19. Purga

    City Center

    They celebrate New Year's Eve every night here, and whatever season and the weather, you get the full holiday package, complete with decorated Christmas tree,...

    They celebrate New Year's Eve every night here, and whatever season and the weather, you get the full holiday package, complete with decorated Christmas tree, the Russian version of Santa Claus and his granddaughter, champagne, and a dance party. An exhaustive collection of season's greetings recordings delivered by Soviet and Russian leaders is broadcast and mocked throughout the night. This ritual has become one of St. Petersburg's most memorable nights out. The food and beer is good and inexpensive, and the droll staff is dressed in white rabbit costumes. Each table has a unique design. Be sure to get there and fill your glass before midnight. Purga's clone next door throws wedding parties with the same regularity and similarly comic bent.

    11 nab. Reki Fontanki, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191011, Russia
    812-570–5123
  • 20. Stirka

    Admiralteisky | Bars/Pubs

    This peculiar hybrid of a bar and a laundromat started life as the graduation project of a German design student. Here you'll find underground...

    This peculiar hybrid of a bar and a laundromat started life as the graduation project of a German design student. Here you'll find underground rock DJs, international bands, a good sound system, a small bar, and comfortable soft furnishings. Guests are welcome to follow in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones—it's said they made use of the venue's washing machines and dryers while in town on tour.

    26 ul. Kazanskaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191186, Russia
    812-314–5371

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