It’s not surprising that Moscow’s nightlife puts New York’s to shame. After all, this is a city that prides itself on being the biggest and the best in everything it attempts – it has more billionaires than any other city in the world, it’s larger than any of its rival European capitals, and it’s the northernmost megalopolis on the planet.
An intoxicating mix of undeniable glamour and endless libations, the Moscow club scene offers everything from PG-13 nights of drinks and dancing, to darker evenings laced with illegal drugs and illicit sex. You just have to pick your poison. With tons of after bars catering to night owl Muscovites, you’ll be able to keep the party going until the first rays of the morning sun come creeping over the Kremlin.
While Central Moscow is deliciously walkable, you can get more bang for your club-hopping buck by taking the metro. Just make sure you know where you’re going beforehand – you’ll be lucky to find a single sign in English, so learning the Cyrillic name of your station stop is an absolute must.
Begin the evening at the Krysha Mira Club, a haven of house music with twinkling pink lights, a multi-level dance floor, and imported trees that almost make you feel like you’re dancing under the stars (Naberezhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko, Moscow).
The beautiful youth of Moscow will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a labyrinth of desire; long legs and sequins flash against a backdrop of dark denim, sweat, and mingling colognes that seem to swirl in time to the thumping bass beat.
Be sure to dress to the nines, and be ready to spend some serious scratch. The club is notorious for implementing a much-hated citywide “face-control” policy, where bouncers aren’t shy about turning away club goers who don’t meet the grade, fashion (or looks, or body)-wise. Speaking English counts almost as much as wearing Gucci, however, so when in doubt, bust out some quip about how much you miss seeing the Lakers play or how Moscow’s winters are nothing compared to Chicago’s.
Once your funds begin to dwindle after enjoying a few of the Krysha Mira’s overpriced cocktails ($20 for a shot of vodka! Woot!), head to Strelka Bar in the trendy Krasny Oktyabr neighborhood (9 Bolotnaya Naberezhnaya. Metro stop: Kropotkinskaya). This industrial-style underground venue is a popular hangout for students of the nearby art institute, and offers live acoustic shows, understated cocktails, and a break from the thumping madness of the louder clubs.
Depending on how your night is going, you can either head to Minibar (8, Maroseika) to keep the party going, or wind down with some deliciously greasy khachapuri at Khinkalnaya (Novy Arbat street 7). The former is a club famous for its hardcore partying and its ironic location across from the Government Bureau for Drug Control. The latter is an authentic Eastern European diner open 24 hours which offers a variety of dishes perfect for hangover prevention.