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If you stand on the bridge that runs from Church of Christ the Saviour across the Moscow River, you will find yourself looking out towards Bolotny Island, one of Moscow’s most creative spaces. Notorious for being home to some of the city’s hottest (and indeed most exclusive) clubs, the area is a magnet for tourists and locals alike. The focal point of the island is Red October, which was once the factory that produced the famous Alenka chocolate. The image of a young girl in a headscarf has become a nostalgic relic of the Soviet Union and still adorns the packaging of Red October chocolate today. Across the old factory, the image is blown up on a billboard, which coupled with the striking red brick of the building, creates a visual feast that draws the eyes of those crossing the bridge towards Bolotny Island. The factory produced the iconic Red October chocolate for decades. However, in 2007, the company ceased operations on the island and moved premises, leaving the space open for development.
Originally, the plan was to convert the space into expensive flats, but thankfully the financial crisis called an end to that plan, and now the factory is home to restaurants, bars, exhibitions, shops and studios. The hipster takeover in Mosare weird and wonderful, and causes you to wonder under what influence exactly was the interior designed. Regardless, the result is fabulous and even if you don’t enjoy the repetitive house music, simply soaking up the atmosphere is an experience in itself. Gipsy, like the other clubs lining the embankment such as Rolling Stone and Icon have strict face control. This can be off putting, but the earlier you go the more chance you have of getting past the discriminate gatekeepers.
Whether you’re a Moscow local or just visiting for a few days, definitely make Red October a priority. Soak up the history, rub shoulders with Moscow’s creatives or see the city by night from one of the many clubs. This riverside complex is a true gem and is teeming with delights for both the arty, the technological and anyone who simply enjoys discovering new and magical spots in Moscow.