As well as the cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg is also the party capital of the north. If you are unfamiliar with the city, a little guidance is needed to decide where to start and end your night and pick the best neighborhood for your needs.
Rubinshteina is the St. Petersburg equivalent of Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, an endless choice of bars, cafes, and pubs, all seemingly equally attractive options. Whether you are looking for music, tasty food, drinks, sophisticated wines or Irish pubs, Rubinshteina has it all and that is exactly why you need some guidance before entering this shiny street.
The main reason why people enter Rubinshteina street before drinking time is Bekitzer (house №40/11, www.bekitzer.ru) an Israeli street food bar that initially attracts its guests with delicious food and then seize them for a couple of more hours thanks to its sparkling atmosphere and drinks. A follow-up place to go, when the self-confidence about one’s singing skills are already high, is the karaoke bar Poison (house №13, www.vk.com/poisonkaraoke). This is the perfect spot for a light-hearted night filled with dancing, singing and some vodka shots.
A perfect spot for socialising with friends and strangers is Fiddler’s Green (house №5, www.hatgroup.ru/fiddlers-green), but nothing can equal the unique Orthodox bar (house №2, www.orthodox.bar). Aimed at debunking stereotypes about Russia and the Russian drinking culture, the Orthodox bar is a celebration of national literary and musical heritage combined with a sophisticated taste for drinks. Here you can enjoy luscious cocktails named after Russia’s cultural prides, but on one condition, that you always wash it down with a zakuska (snack) as the Russian tradition commands.
Located between the Fontanka river and Liteiny Prospekt, Belinskogo is a tiny street filled with nightlife options for all tastes.
Here you can enjoy a tasty meal and then keep lingering for some drinks at Farsh & Bochka (house №11, www.beercard.ru/farshbochka), a bar connotated by its industrial interior and high ceilings, equally famous for its steaks as for their vast selection of draft beers. Alternatively, you can opt for Pinch tapas bar (house №5, www.pinch.wtf) have a snack with a good drink and enjoy the street view through the widely-opened windows - a rich source of entertainment during the summer. For those looking for a quiet place where to have a nice chat and possibly meet some mysterious locals Terminal Bar (house №11, www.vk.com/terminalbarspb) is the place to go. Here the atmosphere, reminiscing of New York in the Seventies, never stops attracting interesting crowds who will cheer your nights with philosophical talks.
The crown jewel of the street and the pride of the St. Petersburg jazz scene is The Hat (house №9, www.hatgroup.ru/the-hat-bar), or, as it is often referred to by the locals, Shlyapa. Here you can enjoy good quality jazz and singing with a tasty cocktail, engage in a dance and simply enjoy the warm atmosphere.
Mostly known for its quiet residential area and pleasing architecture, Petrogradskaya should not be underestimated for its nightlife options. Hidden on the side streets of Kamennoostrovsky a series of bars are just waiting to be discovered.
At only a few minutes walk from Petrogradskaya metro station, Bar 76 (Maly pr. 76, www.facebook.com/Bar76SPb), is the everyday choice for young local residents and savvy foreigners. The bar, despite its small dimensions, serves a good choice of burgers, snacks, a good selection of beer, and offers a pleasant service with very friendly staff. Located among industrial buildings is Hi Hat rooftop bar (Aptekarsky pr. 4, www.hihat-rooftop.com), particularly known for hosting concerts and for its roof terrace which makes it the place to be during the St. Petersburg white nights.
Near the spacecraft-emulating Gorkovskaya metro station, strolling down Kronversky prospekt you can find various bars and cafes. For the wine lovers, Na Vina! Bar&Shop (Kronversky pr. 65, www.navina.me), is a must-stop. A relaxing atmosphere and a vast selection of wines makes this bar the perfect spot for a romantic date or a pleasant chat with friends. Another bar worth visiting, especially if you are a fan of football and beer is I Believe (Zverinskaya ul. 2/5, www.vk.com/ibelievebar). The bar serves a vast array of draft and bottled beer both locals and international.
The editor’s pick of Petrogradskaya is certainly The Wall (Bol. Pushkarskaya ul. 42/16, www.vk.com/barthewall). Bristling with young locals and the occasional visitor, The Wall offers a welcoming ambience that is hard to find in other parts of the city. The friendly staff and a crowd of regulars are definitely a hook; good taste in music and a fine selection of foods and drinks make it one of the most attractive places on the island.
Dumskaya, together with Rubinshteina, is the straightforward choice when you want to go bar-hopping without a proper destination in mind. What distinguishes this street from its sister street on the other side of the Fontanka river, is the visible lack of pretence in the very down-to-heart dive bars that fill Dumskaya and its public, mostly made up of a mix of young locals, international students and travellers.
A typical night in Dumskaya starts with bar hopping between Fidel (house №9, www.vk.com/barfidel), Belgrade (house №9, www.vk.com/bar_belgrade) and Barbara bar (house №9, www.vk.com/clubarbara), three bars located in close proximity and that hardly differ one from the other. When the time is right the logical following step is the karaoke bar Poison (ul. Lomonosova 2, www.vk.com/poisonkaraoke).
A safe choice for those who have decided not to sleep for the rest of the night, is the club Lomonosov Bar (ul. Lomonosova 1, www.lomonosovbar.ru), which is one of the few options in the areas that remain open until ungodly hours.
The editor’s pick from Dumskaya is Fidel Bar, mostly due to the variegated selection of music and the Cuba-reminiscing interior that makes you feel on a summer holiday at every time of the year.
Ul. Mayakovskogo, ul. Zhukovskogo and ul. Nekrasova
If you are looking for authenticity and some places with a soul then there are three main streets where you can find your perfect bar match: Mayakovskogo, Zhukovskogo and Nekrasova.
At a short distance from each other you can find all sorts of themed-bars like “The Shining”-inspired bar Redrum (ul. Nekrasova 26, www.vk.com/redrumbar) and the die-hard sport bar Liverpool (ul. Mayakovskogo 16, www.liverpool.ru), but also a series of bars all known for different specialities, be that a vast selection of beer like Jawsspot (ul. Mayakovskogo 11, www.jaws.spb.ru), the great cocktails of Brimborium (ul. Mayakovskogo 22-24, www.vk.com/brimboriumbar) or the evening cultural events at Dead Poets (ul. Zhukovskogo 12, www.deadpoetsbar.com).
Landmark of the area is the bar Mayak (ul. Mayakovskogo 20), which means a “lighthouse”, conceived to alleviate the pains of the tormented intelligentsia and local artists, the lighthouse of Mayakovskogo is a trip back in time. Recognizable from the outside by a bust of Lenin severely overlooking the street, the bar offers a unique and authentic Soviet atmosphere, with inexpensive drinks and home-made snacks, perfect for old-times nostalgic and lovers of political debates.