St. Petersburg may be known as Russia's cultural capital, but Moscow easily rivals its northern neighbor. Ballet at the Bolshoi, concerts at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and theaters packed for Chekhov plays are among the highlights of the intense arts scene in this city with dozens of theaters and concert halls and many prestigious acting schools. From raucous, boho joints like Kitaisky Lyotchik to sophisticated "minigarch" (wannabe oligarch) hangouts, Moscow's nightlife scene has a little bit of something for everyone. Almost all the major hotels have upscale bars: those at the Baltschug Kempinski, Ararat Park Hyatt, and Golden Ring are elegant and have majestic views of the city. But you'll likely have more fun if you head out on the town and taste a little Russian hedonism, be it sipping a cocktail on the rooftop at Rolling Stone or jumping about to a guitar band at Krizis Zhanra. For those after something calmer, there are several English-style pubs like Sixteen Tons that are great for a quiet pint and a bite to eat.

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  • 1. Bar Strelka

    Zamoskvorech’ye | Bars/Pubs

    The superbly positioned summer terrace overlooking the Moscow River and the Cathedral of Christ Our Savior is the main attraction of this upscale...Read More

  • 2. Masterskaya

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Cafés

    With its high ceilings, rickety furniture, and buzz of intellectual conversation, this bar and restaurant attracts an arty crowd. DJs and bands...Read More

  • 3. Rolling Stone

    Zamoskvorech’ye | Dance Clubs

    What's considered by many to be Moscow's best night out presents an eclectic mix of all the best bits of the city's unique nightlife: bar-top...Read More

  • 4. Ryumochnaya

    Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya | Bars/Pubs

    Ryumochnaya. For a true Russian vodka-drinking experience, head to this 125-year-old tavern whose name literally translates as "shot bar."...Read More

  • 5. Solyanka

    Kitai Gorod | Dance Clubs

    Several rooms in this high-ceilinged converted mansion double up as a great café and restaurant during the day and a dance club after hours...Read More

  • 6. 12 Volt

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Dance Clubs

    This gay club for both men and women is tricky to find, but has a welcoming atmosphere. It has DJs, film screenings, karaoke, and cheap drink deals. ...Read More

  • 7. 7freedays

    Kitai Gorod | Dance Clubs

    With its homely atmosphere, film nights, and tasty food, this club has become the top refuge of Moscow's gay and lesbian community and offers...Read More

  • 8. Arena

    Northern Outskirts | Dance Clubs

    With the biggest club stage in Moscow and a dance floor capacity of 3,500 people, this live music venue is a prime spot to see big and up-and...Read More

  • 9. Arma 17

    Eastern Outskirts | Dance Clubs

    A vast warehouse to the east of the center makes a refreshing change from the city's glitzy clubbing scene. The club regularly hosts big...Read More

  • 10. B-2

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Dance Clubs

    One of the best places in Moscow for live rock performances, this enormous five-story club includes a restaurant, a pool hall, a dance club...Read More

  • 11. Balchug 5

    Zamoskvorech’ye | Bars/Pubs

    This place is not cheap, and the face control gets strict from time to time, but if you're looking for an elite bar scene, it's hard to beat...Read More

  • 12. BB King Blues Club

    Northern Outskirts | Live Music

    The man himself came for the opening, and visiting Western stars have continued to make appearances here, often for post-concert jams. Call...Read More

  • 13. Bilingua

    Kitai Gorod | Bars/Pubs

    Young, creative types frequent this smoky bar-club-bookshop, which also has inexpensive food, live rock and pop music, and weekend club nights. ...Read More

  • 14. Central Station

    Northern Outskirts | Dance Clubs

    This popular spot with students is one of the most well established gay clubs in town, with a regular rotation of good DJs. Mostly men come...Read More

  • 15. City Space Bar

    Southern Outskirts | Bars/Pubs

    Perched 140 meters above the city and with stunning panoramic views, this upscale cocktail bar is the perfect spot to watch the sun set over Moscow. ...Read More

  • 16. Club Che

    Kitai Gorod | Dance Clubs

    A Latin American–theme involves occasional live Latino music, though music is usually provided by DJs playing Eurodance. Drink service can be...Read More

  • 17. Crocus City Hall

    Western Outskirts | Dance Clubs

    Sting and Elton John have played at this huge complex on the Moscow ring road with a 6,200-seat auditorium. Check ahead and you might catch...Read More

  • 18. Cult

    Kitai Gorod | Live Music

    A cavernous venue with free entry and cheap drinks, which caters to lovers of reggae, funk, and soul. ...Read More

  • 19. Denis Simachev Bar

    Ulitsa Tverskaya | Live Music

    Denis Simachev Bar. A club opened by the renowned Russian designer of the same name combines kitsch, elegance, and a hot crowd for a unique...Read More

  • 20. Gipsy

    Zamoskvorech’ye | Dance Clubs

    Music at this stylishly decorated and very popular venue in the city's trendy Krasnaya Oktyabr complex varies from pop to techno. Some 400 disco...Read More

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