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The Beverly Hills Diner – America Without A Visa ?

6 Nov

Have you had your lifetime dose of pelmeni? We have an answer to your winter SAD that does not include borsch.

America Without A Visa – Beverly Hills Diner

– Girls with pompoms, boys with milkshakes – and burgers to boot! –

Olivia Newton-John

The Beverly Hills Diner is a 5min trot from the Chistie Prudy/Turgenevskaya metro – a hop, a skip and a jump away from what been referred to as “one of the best burger places in the city” – being from the land of potatoes and cabbage, I am quoting the most knowledgeable people in this area: Americans.

Tasteful, as to be imagined in Beverly Hills, the diner is a kitch 70’s style – which is a fun change from the usual wooden tables and chairs. It’s a bit like walking on to the set of Grease – you find yourself distractedly wondering if John Travolta had secretly opened this place to relive his vocalist hayday, before he went all Tarantino, with suits and silly dancing with Uma Thurman. Now close your eyes. Do remember that song, from Pulp Fiction, where they twist together with Uma – well that is the type of music they play here. Honest-to-god good old American tunes that will have you thigh slapping and finger tapping in no time. This will keep you occupied whilst waiting for service at peak time.

What to expect: on each table you will find an interesting array of napkins, sauces, and a non descript contraption that for all intents and purposes, looks absolutely useless. As it happens, there are 3 buttons at the bottom of this thing. One to call the staff, one to get the bill and the other one to cancel the call. This is all very fine and dandy but here at the TIP, being slightly childish, with a touch of ADHD, after 2 attempts at pressing the right button and enough arm waving to attract a scout for the special Olympics, I pressed on all the buttons, many times. Life went on without me. It wasn’t that important because they give the menu when you sit down so you have some reading to do – the choice is phenomenal.

Had enough of Moscow this week?

Working too hard?

Not working hard enough?

Splash some cash in the diner, the patent red and white leather booths will make it feel

like a well deserved pre- Christmas treat. 

Food and drinks: the food menu is huge – huge enough that the whole wait was spenting head scratching over what burger to have. They also offer a vast array of salads, sandwiches, bagels, hot appetizers, mexican food, soups, vegetarian food – all American style , this is like the ultimate comfort food hang out. Had enough of Moscow this week? Working too hard? Not working hard enough? Splash some cash in the diner, the patent red and white leather booths will make it feel like a well deserved pre- Christmas treat. We both opted for the Gourmet Burger – which allows you to choose 2 of 4 ingredients (cheese or blue cheese, or bacon or something else) on top of the rest of the burger set up. Incidentally, we both chose bacon and blue cheese sauce – of course – and a bottle of wine. Yes, wine in a diner, Californian wine too. You can also choose a very large glass of “soda” or an even bigger milkshake – they have about 12 flavours to choose from! Average meal is going to set you back 500rub, a milk shake about 250rub (tbc, all the menu on their website), 1ltr of drinkable Californian red wine 1000rub, cheese cake 250rub.

The service:  

Peak time: The wine arrived – it was not a bottle but a litre – much to our amusement considering it was a Sunday evening and a long day of work was waiting for us. The burgers were some what long in arriving but a polite member of staff came and apologised for the delay. The burgers arrived without bacon but with american cheese. Again, the same member of staff, upon careful examination of the claim and my fingers in the blue cheese sauce, agreed and returned with a bacon blue cheese burger. I would have liked the American cheese in there too – but we got what we ordered so they are forgiven.

Not Peak Time: like Wednesday at 4pm. This is the time to go and get some work done – it is very quiet and the staff will attend to you with all the due attention expected of an American Diner. Drinks arrive promptly and food is the usual waiting time – the bill may even be faster than usual.

The bonus: every 30min or so, all the female members of staff are obliged to bust out the pompoms and do a ridiculous dance routine – entertainment points were definitely acquired. Imagine 7 waitresses in halloween costumes bopping around with pompoms – only 5 know the routine the other two waving their arms around and making no attempt to mimic their colleagues – creating what can only be described as a joyous rainbow of desynchronized two stepping. Yeah Baby!

So, America Without A Visa? Don’t know, the TIP never got that far – But it gets a thumbs up, we just wish they had corndogs!

Where: Сретенка 1, Sretenka 1

Metro Chistie Prudy

Check them out here: http://www.thediner.ru/index.html

PROPAGANDA. It’s right up our street

4 Nov

“If you were hoping for red army choir songs and some washed up KGB puffing on a cuban in the back, try the Lubyanka building next door”

Bouncer, Propaganda Security Staff

“Propaganda is a bit like forced marriage, you get used to it after a while”

My Mum


   Now this is a tricky one. There are these places, every so often, that you inevitably get dragged to    because your friends like them. You hate it the first time. Too smoky, too many people, terrible        music (house music, the worst). Then you return there another freezing winter evening, and you      still hate it, for all the above reasons and because, this time, they make you queue! The third time,    you have to look after your own coat, and you get in the wrong queue at the coat check, the fourth    time, you watch 30minutes of your life trickle down the bathroom sink whilst waiting to relieve          yourself. So there is only one true question to ask yourself:

Am I a masochist?

Going to Propaganda for the TIP team is a bit like being married off for cattle, without the economic windfall. No one wants to be forced into marriage, but maybe, after a few years, a certain bond of resignation and complacency will set in, and the aversion to the original event will be less.

Propaganda is a normal Moscow club, if there actually is such a thing: the sweaty milling club turns into a café with a “bizness lanch” by day. The people who come here are trendy, fashionable, pretty, not rolling in the money by any standard but definitely living above the norm.

It was so crowded, clubbers were requested to raise their arms to let in more women

1000 rubles – 1 mighty hangover?

Drinks and food are well priced according to their website. Any main course goes for 200 – 300 rub, they serves salads, meat, soup, the usual club menu. Grolsch is the most expensive beer on their menu, selling at the measely sum of 180 rub/500ml – you can’t go wrong at that, you can even get a Bochka (500ml) for 120 rub. Vodka-redbull is the usual 250rub and a whiskey-coke, a mere 210rub. There are prices for everybody at Propaganda, the only obstacle are the 150people already blocking your access to the bar. BUT – Don’t be fooled, apparently the prices go up after 11pm, but you probably won’t notice it. As with everybody who goes there, you will wake up the next day and wonder what happened to your cash.

The music will divide the placid of souls – if you like house music, you will love it here. If you think house music is just noise, welcome to the dark side. Dancing can be complicated considering that if you weigh anymore than 35kg you might have trouble fitting through the 3mm gaps that allow the air to circulate between bodies. And if you panic, just follow Jim Morrisson’s best advice and “break on through to the other side.” If not, you may never leave.

The decor? This journalist has never seen Propaganda flaunt its stuff in the daylight – but it’s safe to say that there will be some very unsurprising wooden furniture and a slightly smoky aura surrounding the dancefloor which accomodates these carpentry exploits.

Conclusion: despite harbouring a strong dislike of this club in the beginning, which has progressively waned to simple animosity, this journalist has finally accepted the reality of this situation:

If you are partying on the right end of Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, you will most likely end up in Propaganda.

Sometimes, we just have to accept our fate, dance the alcohol out of our systems, replenish and when we get bored, head next door to Pirogi for a well deserved breakfast and cheesy 90’s music.

Good to know: 

– Loose feis control, but feis control all the same – please don’t wear trainers

– Walk past the line and up to the bouncer speaking English and looking presentable, this usually gets you in. Usually…

– Get there before eleven to enjoy a meal and at the same time, grab a table for the evening!

– Every night has a theme, listings are on their website

– Russian language not required, just lean as for over the counter and yell the name of your drink

– The gender scale is never quite balanced, generally it’s either a majority of girls or majority of guys, good luck!

– There is a gay night – no women allowed – this is on Sunday (we think)

Where: Bolshoi Zlatoustinskiy Pereulok, Dom 7

Metro: Kitai Gorod – 3 minutes

Check them out http://www.propagandamoscow.com/about/

Check out this page for individual impressions and opposing views on Propanda:

http://www.moscow-life.com/drink/pubs_cafes_details/9-Propaganda

For example:

Awesome food, venue, sound system and music. The girls are indescribably hot but they’re all ice maidens. Just go to eat, drink and dance and you’ll have a great time. 

OR

 It’s a club for students I think. If you dont have anything to do, you can visit but it’s a small place and cannot find so much top class girls. You will see lots of small girls who are trying to steal your drink  


***These prices are based on their menu, the TIP doesn’t accept responsibility for erroneous pricing or erroneous judgement.

HADJA NASREDDIN – Shashlik, Belly dancers and Vodka – what’s not to like?

3 Nov

“I was told you got the whole experience here…

no one told me I was going to be sat on a cushion and distracted every 30minutes by half dressed girls”

Disgruntled Geriatric

Originally planning to “do a TIP”, meet at Pirogi, have some food, some drinks and then move on to the “party” places anywhere between Sukharevskaya and Kitai Gorod – the editorial Team had a change of heart, and decided that today, on the anniversary of the Chief’s 25 years alive, they would actually go out and splash all that hard earned money they won at monopoly. HADJA NASSREDIN was the second step of our voyage which would bring us from the depths of Chistie Prudy all the way down to the end of Myasnitskaya Ulitsa. Who could have imagined that so much fun resided in such a small part of this huge city. Meeting for beers separately due to a misunderstanding, half met a Cuba Libre for a quick mojito whilst the Editor and Chief Critic headed to Booze Bub for some cherry strudel and the best cosmopolitans in the city – or so they say. Hardly 2 minutes for the former, and 7min from the latter, we all met mid way on Pokrovka Ulitsa at Hadja Nassredin.

This is a bargain – it should not be missed.

What to expect: Even the entrance to this place is, as promised, traditional and part of the “whole experience”. The coat check guy has even grown a magnificent handle bar moustache to make you feel comfortable even after you have taken off your shoes to perch upon a cushion. Or not, they seem to have more standard tables in the middle. After a certain amount of time climbing up and down some stairs, making a quick break to the toilet before the removal of the shoes (it is probably as far away as Cuba Libre), the removing of the shoes and the getting comfortable on the cushions, you can settle in and enjoy everything this place has to offer, and this is quite a bit. There are real birds in cages, real belly dancers who appear every 30min or so, really nice staff and as real an Uzbek décor as can be found in the heart of Moscow.

Food and drink: Wine and vodka (separately of course, TIP staff only mix with beer). Russian Standard or whatever vodka you may choose, is served in little jugs and your shot glass is topped up every time by a member of staff – so your break between the first and the second will inevitably and culturally correctly “ne bolshoi”. Don’t forget the MOPC (sweetened cranberry and berry juice), 3 types to choose from, to wash it down. The wine is served in big wine glasses as it should.

The food, well, the TIP team didn’t actually see the menu and a group order was placed by our Russian advisors and regulars (they have a 10% discount card here), to save us staring at the menu and then thinking that everybody else’s meal was better. In conclusion, no one got any plov, we opted for everything on a stick instead. Chicken and pork shaslik, grilled to perfection, juicy and tender, grilled potatoes on a skewer, far from bland which I would have happily eaten on its own and mixed grilled vegetables upon the Editor’s request (eggplant, tomato, pepper). Get some of their traditional baked bread with cheese to start of the meal and to wipe the last juices of the meat off the plate with!

“I would have happily devoured the potato, with the skewer, had I been served nothing else –

and I would still have enjoyed this place”

The service: excellent by European standards, well presented in a traditional dress/uniform thing which is pleasing and colourful. It may not be traditional but it certainly convinced us!  Friendly and, moreover, patient whilst we spent 30 min changing measurements of vodka to be served and including her in the debate. Apparently she had a little English, but this night the TIP did it Russki style, therefore never took the full measure of her linguistic abilities. Belly dancers, one blond for the western Russian lovers and one brunette, more Eastern – they appear regularly for a 5min dance and then leave you to it – just enough to be entertaining without being annoying.

Average price per head, for a decent meal, shashlik, potatoes, bread, vegetables, 1 bottle of wine and 1lt of Russian Standard was about1700 rub per head – we were expecting a lot more – with our discount card ~(this takes a few weeks to prepare) we paid 1500 per person. This is a bargain – it should not be missed.

Things to know:

Full cyrillic name: ХОДЖА НАСРЕДДИН В ХИВЕ

You must book a table in advance, ask a Russian speaker to do it, or go there yourself, they are very nice – they probably won’t shout at you. You can also do it online apparently, top right hand corner of their website, beside the button to put it in English.

If you are in a group of 4 or more, book a window perch, overlooking the rest of the restaurant, belly dancers. This is where the cushions are at – or settle for a more standard form of seating in the central section where large groups come to celebrate their birthdays and life achievements.

Wear nice socks!

Where: Pokrovka 10, str 2

Metro: equal distance between Chistie Prudy and Kitai Gorod (10mins)

http://nasreddinhiva.ru/

Booze Bub – the best bar in Moscow?

1 Nov

“There is plenty of room for your pet bear on the bar”

“This is Cheers, just without Woody Harrelson”

Kelsey Grammer

Well, the TIP Review Team are faced with a challenge today, that of writing a review without having to decide whether they like this place or not. The answer is a resounding “yes” and the criticism seems hard to come by! In layman’s terms, this is without a doubt a great place to go for a drink, many drinks, even a whole night out, as the Editor In Chief recently discovered. Upon hearing the name, Booze Bub, the latter was understandably doubtful. This denomination is inevitably as culturally far from the TIP’s point of origin as the North Pole is from the South. This may be the only weakness they have managed to whittle out of the wooden bar that is BB’s.

What to expect: again, wooden furniture (of which Moscow bars have no lack) but a gay array of large comfortable looking tables, adept receivers of the regulars, couples, groups, strangers – minus the lecherous and the dirty. More importantly, BB has an excellent bar, large comfortable, good sturdy stools to receive as many beer lover’s engorged bellies and behinds as could be desired. The counter is large and you can easily catch a little shut-eye without disrupting neither patrons nor staff. A large badger would also fit on there, but they are hard to come by in these parts.

“Where everybody knows your name…

and if they don’t, they soon will”

Ted Danson

What to drink / eat: the TIP staff, despite their now regular appearance in these parts, has only seen the menu on their first trip there. Incidently, this is the only time they had a meal here – generally getting waylaid by the infectious camaraderie which abounds from all corners of the bar. The shashlik was good! and served with a healthy (be it annual) serving of onions. Prices were average, from about 250/300rub. They also serve burgers and, what we can imagine to be the standard Muscovite bar menu. The team have inevitably already made a worthy attempt at trying most of the drinks on offer. You will find good English beers on draught (London Pride, etc) and even cider (many times better than the general flat, insipid half pints we are served in some places). Cocktails have been referred to by independent and anonymous sources as the best in the city thanks to one special member of staff. Cosmos, bloody marys, and pretty much anything you could possibly desire can be arranged.

This is what the bar looks like when it's NOT open

The staff: Well this is definitely the most unusual trait of this bar. Number one, the 3 guys behind the bar are actually helpful, efficient even drole, to a point where the Editor was offered the only cake and candle she saw throughout 3 days of life experience celebration. Cheery cherry strudel which didn’t go amiss on gaining point with the TIP chief. And, yes, if you have been to Booze Bub, you will know The Barman, possibly, oor at least according to rumour, “the best barman in the city” and according to himself, “the best cocktail guy this side of the Pacific.” Every newcomer will inevitably be introduced to all the people holding up the bar by Pete, THE barman, in a loud, yet strangely unintrusive and unquestionably warm way.

Who should come here? At the TIP, we would encourage everybody to stop by and enjoy this place. It’s warm, it’s friendly, it plays good old pop rock, rock, pop, even the Clash! Good grub, good drinks, impeccable service, clean toilets, good music … Can we say anymore?

If you still need convincing, go there now, or leave Moscow

because you probably won’t find any place better that Booze Bub!

———-

And if you already know BB’s, follow the TIP for the forthcoming super exclusive and always politically incorrect interview of 

“Pete, the most famous barman in Moscow?”

For all the info on this bar, drinks, food, etc. check out their website:

http://www.boozebub.ru/

Where? Potapovskii Pereulok, dom 5 – nearest Metro Chistie Prudy (5min walk)

Клуб 16 тонн – The pub – not the club

31 Oct

“16 Ton Club is a stone throw away from the metro – literally – if you have a good arm.

Personally it would probably take me 4 spasticated attempts to get there, but the effort would be worth it. “

TIP Special Needs Team

What to expect: a pub, no more no less, but a nice pub and for all intents and purposes 16 Tons pub is an Irish pub according to their website. Comfortable, clean, even a bit fancy, in the most unassuming of ways. It is popular, so on Friday night it was quite busy in a way that validates its quite existence. I could review the décor, but if you have ever been inside a nice pub (you know, the ones that don’t smell like stale beer and urinals), you will know what to expect. Good ventilation system – this is a most noteworthy point, so much so that even I noticed how agreeable the air quality was.

Service: Seated at the bar, service was quick and efficient despite the barmen being run off their feet. Between ordering and receiving a beer, barely 5min of our lives elapsed, nearing our inevitable yet hopefully timely demise. The barmen were not only efficient, but p0lite, spoke some English and were very well presented.

Food and drink: being pre concert drinks, our time there was short but maximised. Lots of beer on tap, and finally a place that advertises Edelweiss and actually has it in stock – acquiring a pint of Edelweiss recently has been quite a mission (see review Chinese Fighter Pilot). Decent selection of beers on draught including stouts, well pulled, with a good head and suitably full which is a nice change from the stingy watery excuses for pints some pubs have on offer (Strongbow from the John Bull pub on Smolenskaya is the embodiment of over priced camel urine you can purchase in this city). Beers on draught are all average Moscow pub price range (180 – 320 rubles). Beer snacks: this pub makes THE BEST ONION RINGS EVER TO BE TASTED ON EARTH! I could be kidding, but I am not a funny person – these are literally gourmet onion rings. Price, about 200rub for a decent plate of them (decent meaning too many to count). This pub is also home to THE STRONGEST GARLIC BREAD IN THE WORLD – again, no joke. Dracula would not venture within 1 mile radius of this bar – but if you have someone who is already committed to going home with you, have a bite, it’s worth the bad breath – if you don’t have to sacrifice the sex for it!

When to go: This place feels like an after work drinks pub, a Sunday afternoon “how did we get home last night” recap with food – and just a generally nice place to sit down and enjoy your hard earned monopoly money.

Where: metro Ulitsa 1905, main exit (the one with the most names on it), turn left, walk through the kiosks, hang a left and look across the road. Or follow this link to see a map

http://www.16tons.ru/

It is worth noting that this place is also a concert club – with a full diary of events going on. Check out their website.

The Chinese Fighter Pilot – Китайский лётчик

24 Oct

Contrary to appearances, the Chinese Fighter Pilot is not a short story courtesy of the TIP team – but a bar – well, bar/restaurant/live gig/hang out spot in the oh-so-very-central Kitai Gorod; a mere stone throw away from nearly every other bar reviewed.

“A pub crawl is in order”

The Editor

A bar that makes you want to drink

The Chinese Fighter Pilot, which I will call the CFP for the sake of my fingers and stamina, is THE place to start an evening out on the town.

The bar: It has an cosy and relaxed atmosphere with polite staff and of course a coat check.  The CFP is divided into 2 parts on concert nights. To the right, you will never be charged to enter, and inside you will find a tight set arrangement of tables and a mixture of eclectic yet unassuming chairs and stools to choose from. If you walk through the first section you will come to the bar and a homely threesome of booths, more often than not, occupied by either 2 people (instead of six) or people with shiny new mac computers and big nerdy glasses (in the most cool way). The staff here are polite and will find you a table if you wait patiently at the bar. On concert nights, it can get very busy but never overly raucous or uncouth. As the furniture, this area is laid back, perfect for catching up after a hard week’s work or warming up over a few beers before heading to the party places.

On the left of the entrance, you will find the gig area. The bar is made from a fighter plane wing and the lay out is more bar like, more efficient and easier of access. There is a cover charge on concert nights, generally about 300rub, but having never been to one, I will not advise on the quality of bands or sound engineering. The bar looks good and appears to be well stocked with various brands and types of alcohol.

Food and drink: the usual bar/restaurant stuff, salads, chips, meat… nothing out of the ordinary, averagely priced (250/300rub). The alcohol, lots of whiskeys, and strong liqueurs, minimal beer selection but generally always well stocked in Amstel (155rub/500cl) and Bochkaref (120rub/500cl). What else, cocktails for about 190rub and a selection of wine both bottle and by the glass.

The people: laid back intellectual/arty people with computers and books, international expats in small quantities (Germans, Swedish, Americans, English), normal people. Once I even met someone there on a Friday night about 11pm, reading Chekhov “The Seagull” whilst enjoying a beer and cigarette. And this is a story I will spread amongst children for generations and generations.

The staff: generally friendly, most of them speak a little English and even enjoy when foreigners trying to speak Russian! As usual, a bit hard to get a hold of if you are not at the bar, even then, they can be quite elusive. The bouncers on the door will generally try direct you to the concert, so you should point to the right and they will let you through.

Conclusion: The TIP would definitely recommend this place for a laid back weekday evening or a warmer before going out on the town. The atmosphere is propitious to amicable chats, philosophy discussions, cultural debates and intimate conversations. This is the place to get all the talking done over a few drinks before heading to the next bar to get all the dancing, picking up, and drunkenness accomplished. Address and contacts below

Address: – Metro Kitai Gorod *warning, The Chinese Fighter Pilot is in the basement of a building, you will recognise the corrugated iron which serves as a porch to the sub-road level entrance. Watch out for the last step on your way down, it’s a lot bigger than you think it is!

Лубянский проезд, 25/12 1, г. Москва, Russia
101000
8 (495) 623-28-96

http://www.jao-da.ru/

Жигули – is it a pub? is it a cafeteria? is it a nightclub?

19 Oct

Well actually, originally, it’s a car… And then a beer, and then a place to sell the beer. And they sell it well!

Жигули… I love this place, but I have an inkling that it is a bit like Marmite, you love it or you hate. I cannot possibly conceive that anyone could be indifferent to it.

Жигули is a famous brand of Russian beer, a nicely priced, nice to drink lager. It wouldn’t knock a parrot of its perch but it certainly might make it wobble a bit. And as it so happens, this beer has a bar. And the only suitable description I could come up with, is that:

“Жигули is the Russian version of a pub”

NO, it does not look like a pub, in any manner shape or form. Once you have managed to get through the large heavy glass doors, you will be confronted with panels of old school soviet style photos of happy old men and families sitting around gutting a fish – but larger that life and very cool.

Go straight ahead and you will end up in the most happening nightclub of the 80’s / 90’s, which plays Soviet and Russian pop (always a winner). If you’re lucky, you may stumble into a wedding and be received by nonplussed families who will ply you with drinks until they realise that no one knows you (and then ask you kindly to leave, no guns no bouncers, I promise).

Go left and, behind the panels, you will find the toilets, relatively clean, nothing to write home about, but obviously something to put in your blog.. Beware of the big chunky, nuclear bomb proof doors. I dare you to pull them open more than 20 centimetres.

Go right and you will find my favourite place in the world. Behind the panels you will see a room split in half. To one side, a cafeteria like set up with all the best culinary delights Russia has to offer, pies, pelmeni, soup, herring in a fur coat, cakes, chicken kiev … oh and the potatoes – a definite must have, they are amazing – just the right measure between buttery, salty and perfectly cooked – now coming from an Irish person, this is high praise! I digress, so move along the queue, don’t forget your tray and things at the beginning, and you will get to a mini sushi bar – can’t give any advice, sushi should be left to the sushi bars is my opinion – and just before the till is the “bar”. Well a small space behind which a young Russian man, who will probably continue to flirt shamelessly with the girl at the till until you make a disapproving tutting sound. Go straight to the till anyway, he won’t take orders until you have paid. Choose your beer along the way, bottled Жигули, Жигулиon tap, light, filtered, vodka, the list goes on… It is not extensive but they serve what is in demand – welcome to Russia my friends. You can also buy a selection of typical beer snacks, dried herring, dried squid (worth trying), nachos, any type of fish which is whole and dried and doesn’t require a knife or fork – it is excellent, well at least to watch people eating them, I am not sure I am that courageous just yet.

Seating – enjoy the communal set out of the area, choose a bench along the large expanse of joined table, make some friends (or not) and enjoy the laid back atmosphere. Sit along the windows (which run along the whole front of the building) to watch the furs go by during the winter.

The staff don’t speak English, but you can get by with a few words, like the name of the beer you want and generally pretending to understand and handing a 500rub note at the end, including main course, beer and desert, and beer snacks. Bear in mind a pint of Жигули is only about 100rub.

So why is this place like a pub? The main inhabitants of Жигули are male, they range from businessmen to builders to students, as well as the occasional FSB agent. They play football and ice hockey on the television, and watching Russians getting riled up about sports is as close as you can come to your local back home!

Жигули keeps it simple, food, drink and ash trays. It’s clean and has an effortless style to it. It’s not classy, it’s a pub, sometimes noisy, sometimes serious but it’s always there. If I lived on the Arbat, I know it would be my local.

Word of warning, this place can get quite smoky in the evening so not for the terminally ill, allergic to smoke or people with high standards. It also gets very busy on Fridays after work, send someone early to stake out some territory!

How to get there?  Nestled between the old arbat and the new arbat. New arbat, looks for the little orthodox church beneath the large cement building. Жигули is down the street on the other side of the road. Look for a large television advertising screen (samsung or seimens), and turn down there. It is the first building on your right. From the Old Arbat, coming from Arbatskaya, it is on your right right, about 7min down the Stari Arbat, you will see a really weird Georgian restaurant on the corner with a huge (I mean massive) wine vase Roman style jug thing embedded in a wall, walk up there and it will be on your left. The street is short, you can’t miss it!

Check out their website: http://zhiguli.net/