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Rock’n’Roll Bar – Indulge Your Bad Habits

7 Nov

“Don’t confuse Rock’n’Roll bar with the brothel next door”

Rock’n’roll bar was the bar to celebrate the closure of the TIP Editor’s 25 years of life experience, and celebrate we did. 2 days of heavy drinking had anaesthetised the TIP TEam to the effects of alcohol poisoning, engorged livers and pasty faces. 1 Sunday, 2 aperitifs and 1 litre of wine later, we briefly emerged from the Beverly Hills Diner to turn right – into the next bar – not the brothel which is in between – Rock’n’Roll Bar. From the first visit, the team was smitten and have returned many times since, generally sometime mid evening  to just before midnight. There is a reason for this – scroll to the food and drinks section to discover the crown jewel of this little gem.

” If you see some people feeling up the walls straddling the outhouse doorframe, don’t panic, they are looking for the non-existant light switch.”

Rock’n’roll Bar electrician

What to expect: Rock’n’Roll bar is actually quite classy. Upon entering and the usual opening-of-the-bags ritual led by every Russian bouncer, you are greeted to a stylishly decorated bar. How is this different to usual? Well the bar stools are padded (a bit) and all the wood used in the carpentry of this fair establishment is not pine varnished, but a deep mahogany (colour), coupled with dimmed lights which could potentially even turn a frog into prince charming.

“These guys know what they are doing. “

Anon, successful person who knows what they are doing

Once inside, the only question to ask yourself is “where are the toilets?” This is evidently indispensable to a good night out. Turn back and walk all the way to the entrance and hang a left, you will find the unisex waterclosets waiting for you. Even the bog lights are dimmed which can be a bit confusing the first time. If you see some people feeling up the walls straddling the outhouse doorframe, don’t worry, they are looking for the non-existant light switch. As soon as you have zipped up, come back to the bar and have a gander around the corner, you will discover the other half of the counter, a dance floor and plenty of room to accomodate your friends and family. Here they play a mixture of radio rock’n’roll, the occasional Jimmy Hendrix and all those 90’s songs that we all harbour a secret soft spot for. The joy of this bar, and a few other select places, is how openly they embrace what we could never admit to liking west of the border. The clients range from international photographers – not the really famous ones of course, to the unpretentions down-to-earth fun loving 25 year old Russians.

Beverages and refreshments: The TIP has very honestly never eaten in there, but many patrons seem to enjoy their repast which covers the general spectrum of Moscow bar menus (salads, pasta, soup, grill) which are served in stylish dishes (if you like this sort of thing).

Drink: The menu is similar, if not nearly identical to that of Cuba Libre at the bottom of the Chistie Prudy pond. Cocktails from 200rub minimum, cheapish and less cheap beer – nothing to write home about – BUT !! there is one key detail to this bar – detail which we love and we suspect you will too. Sunday to Thursday, the Rock’n’Roll bar has a very special offer. 20 cocktails for 1000rub. For those who don’t want to do the maths, that is 50rub/cocktail. The cocktails are good and all made from scratch in front of you. It will take about 10-15 minutes, but you can admire them hard at work, sweat pearling on their brow from shear effort. You can choose to receive an assortment of fancy shots and cocktails. Our recommendation is to choose the assortment the first time and then, either learn the names or just get an assortment on your next trip again. We also recommend ordering these for a maximum of 3 people if you really want to have a party. By the time you will have finished, you will be joining the other customers on the dancefloor, boogeying down – and even better, the next day, you will only have a vague recollection of this.

The service: the bar tenders are lovely, and not too hard to get a hold of. There is no adverse reaction to stuttering and grammatically incorrect Russian. In fact, they will generally respond, or try to in English without a sign of impatience or distaste. They will even tell you if your order will be 5mins late!

Conclusion: The TIP could never turn down an invite to a place which offers a great selection of cocktails for great prices with great staff and moreover, a mere 5min walk from Turgenskaya and Chistie Prudy.

Where: Just after Beverly Hills Diner (1 Sretenke Ul.) on Rozhdestvenskii Bul’var

Metro: Chistie Prudy or Trubnaya

Check out their website:

Check out their facebook:



5 Nov

“Maybe one day you can review Shooters “

Shooters Marketing, forum

‎”Nein, Sankt Pauli are shit,

we are Russian hooligan, White Power”

Viktor, patron, Shooters Bar

“This is, without a doubt,

a bar with a big reputation”

TIP researcher

The TIP team never turn down an offer to drink, but in the city where everything can be bought, or beaten out of you, how do they keep their moral integrity? and bring you the most honest reviews this side of the border? They have a 5 step plan:

1: turn up unannounced

2: stay unannounced and order (or try)

3: evaluate

4: survive hangover

5: review

And this is indeed how things went last night. Shooters and Shooters members work hard to not let any single individual who goes on the forum forget this bar’s name. We came here with expectations, 80% of the tables booked, at least 89 people, not counting the bar staff, according to information from the source. Friday nights are supposed to be the wildest – so the TIP decided to head on out there and find out what all the fuss is about.

Shooters, the one thing Irish and English can agree on

What to expect: Exceptionally this will include the usually separate staff, clientèle and refreshments review

We should have known better

Expect to walk at good 10min to 15min to get to the bar, this will depend on your footwear. You can get a cab, but let’s be honest, a bar that advertises 100rub cocktails is not a bar that attracts people who will pay for a taxi when they can take the metro. Every other building you pass, you will be convinced it’s Shooters, imagining gaudy neon lights flashing like broken traffic lights. In fact, you must turn off the road and walk past another bar/restaurant thing which you will think is Shooters, until you arrive at a nondescript wooden door. Go down the stairs and turn to your left. You will spy the bar at the back of large room. Separating you from this bar is a gargantuan collection of sturdy wooden tables and chairs. There is a reason we can tell you the furniture is sturdy, we could see it, all of it. The promised patrons looking for an exciting night on the town obviously found something better to do.

On the plus side, we were honoured by a unique peek into one of Moscow’s most famous ethnic minorities: the drunk white power nazi skinhead. Not one, not two, not ten, but a whole nest of them, eager to share their insight into English football with 2 English speakers – apparently here, it is all about colour of skin, not country of origin. Enlightened by their teachings, we were however slightly distracted by their drunk leering and persistent attempts to feel up the TIP members of staff.

“A little less conversation, a little more action”

Elvis Presley

The service: We arrived at 10pm, we got our drinks at 10.40pm. There were 2 people working on the bar. I must correct myself, this is an erroneous statement – chatting to the clientele would be a more  true to life description. The TIP are glad to see that the Shooters staff really appreciate the value of networking and building client relationships. We also bore the wild hope that they would maybe pencil in our drinks on their blackberry schedules though. After 30 minutes of leaning over the bar, trying to get some attention whilst fending off racist skinheads, we resorted to timing our departure. We promptly decided to wait another 5minutes and make a run for it if we were still without drinks at, what was advertised as, one of the greatest bars in Moscow.

Luck be a sly lady, the barman eventually removed his elbows for the counter and deigned to take our order, two 100rub cocktails as promised. The drinks arrived another 20minutes later despite the rapidly dwindling patronage, time during which we considered leaving again. By this time, I could already feel my youth slipping away from me and lo and behold, we now had the bar tender’s attention. Consistent in his endeavours to be inconsistent – and rude – the bar tender then returned every 3 minutes to ask us to pay. Request which received the same treatment as us during our repetitive attempts to order – general indifference.

The only saving grace of this evening were the 2 other misguided expats which stumbled into this truly unique museum of Russian service and over advertising. New to the city, they had discovered Shooters on the forum, as did we. We stayed for one more drink, so another hour by the time it arrived, and a bit of witty banter.

The TIP and their 2 new friends upped sticks and headed back towards civilisation,

leaving the bad memories back in Shooters, along with the bad service.

Where? We are taking a leaf out of their book. We can’t really be bothered to tell you. Check out their website if you really want to. You can google it. The menu might be on there too, we are saving our breath and keyboarding typing finger muscles for the good places.

The positive sides of this experience:

We must compliment Shooters on their advertising strategy – they had us fooled!

We had a good night – in other bars (Bourbon Street – Propaganda – Pirogi, links to reviews below)

We only spent 200rubs each in Shooters

We discovered what true post-Soviet-regime-collapse service was really like

The less positive sides of this experience:

We may have indeed just thrown away 3 hours of our life and we had to walk 15mins in the cold to do so

We spent 200rub on a taxi to somewhere better

We were harassed by white supremacist skinheads who appeared to be regulars – they were spread over 5 tables throughout the bar

We have the obligation to write this review because it needs to be said but we also know that the TIP will rapidly become persona non grata with a certain amount of expats

This is where we went afterwards – and a few other editor-approved recommendations

For a beer:

Bourbon Street-

Booze Bub-

For some late night shananigans:

Rolling Stone:


For post-clubbing sustanance:


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:

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

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
8 (495) 623-28-96

Bourbon Street – naked girls and live bands

19 Oct

Now I have been told The Real Mc Coy is the most depraved nightclub in Moscow… Needless to say the only time I made an attempt to go there, whilst my friends (expats!) were being refused entry, I was negotiating a ride on a horse… at 3am. So there will be no comparison to The Real McCoy. However, what I do know is rock n roll, sleazy bars and dirty music across Europe have been graced with my presence – and now Bourbon Street has too.

“Please do not bring your children here”

Having been there 3 or 4 times, I have only had trouble with Feiscontrol once – where we, very blatantly, weren’t being let in for the simple reason that we were English speakers. There’s a simple way around that though: keep your mouth shut, and look dour. If not, if you look cool enough to be in there, just stand there, no matter how much the bouncer says no and eventually someone more influential might take a liking to you and go over the head of the bouncer.

Inside, it’s small and poky with a little crow’s nest like hangout in the corner – try avoid having to sit there, it’s rather tiny and it involves climbing a wooden ladder. The bar is as long as the building and if you follow it to the end, through the crowded narrow passage, you will get to a stage and to the left, what appears to be a VIP seating area. Although, from experience, it seems to be where the drunk girls dance on the sofas before crashing out.

“Bourbon Street is a bar of 2 diverging philosophies: weeknight / weekend – choose wisely”

Food? Me thinks not, this is a place to go when you have already eaten and have or are ready to start drinking – seriously. On week nights it’s quite calm and not a bad place for a drink and a chat. Weekends : a spiralling sinkhole of depravity, they should have a sign, they probably do: “hanging out is for hippies.” The interior  has nothing of note except a large flatscreen tv which plays photos of the previous nights of drunken savagery, these generally include photos of strippers, boobs and drunk people. Look towards the only window, at the entrance, you will see a pole. If you are lucky, there will be someone dancing on it – last week, a girl stripped off completely, unpaid and unrequested, then proceeded to demonstrate the excellent work of her bikini wax artist. If you are unlucky, someone might simply be dancing on the bar.

Bourbon Street is not comfortable, small wooden tables, small wooden chairs (for a change) a long bar with stools, and a crowded gangway towards an even more crowded and, if possible, even smaller stage… 2 toilets with cowboy saloon doors, unisex as always. Bourbon Street doesn’t care about your comfort, BS is rock n roll, hard music, hot ladies and live blues – if you are looking for something more refined, try Strelka.

Drinks are average, beers about 180rub, vodka about 90rub a shot (russian style 50ml).

Where is it: bottom of Ulitsa Myasnitskaya. Between metro Lubyanka and Kitai Gorod right beside Propaganda, 1min walk from Pirogi, excellent for a salvaging breakfast afterwards.

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: