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Visitors to Russia are always struck by the Russian enthusiasm for classical art forms, particularly theatre, music and dance, and Moscow is one of the top places in the country to sample the glory of Russian ballet, opera and drama.
For those less classically inclined, the city also has all the nightclubs, bars and brew-halls you would expect from a modern European capital. However, going out in Moscow can be a very expensive business. Even with the necessary cash, most elite nightspots have very strict dress codes where even wearing this season’s Prada collection may not get you past the ‘face control’ on the door. Moving considerably down market, there is a seedy side to city nightlife too, with plenty of shady lap dancing bars.
Moscow Out (www.moscowout.ru) is an excellent source of listings and information on cultural events in the capital. The Friday edition of Moscow Times also has a useful weekly entertainment supplement with listings.
Advance tickets for cultural shows can be quite cheap but those purchased from ticket touts on the evening of the performance are usually expensive. Concert and theatre tickets can be purchased at the venues, at large hotels or more cheaply from kiosks on almost every main street in Moscow. Alternatively, book online at Top Bilet (tel: +7 495 228 0987; www.topbilet.com), which also sells tickets to top sporting events and concerts.
Bars in Moscow
Set beneath a geometric glass canopy, the rooftop bar at the absurdly ostentatious Ritz Carlton Moscow is an established stop for high fliers. The drinks list is spectacular, particularly when it comes to wine, champagne and prestige vodkas, and the sleek outdoor terrace offers remarkable views. The glamour isn’t cheap, so bring a well-stocked wallet.Address:
Tel: +7 495 225 8888.
Moscow’s first proper gastropub, Delicatessen is tucked away and hard to find, but well worth seeking out for its cosy atmosphere, cosmopolitan food menu and stellar cocktail list. Its line of fruit liqueurs are particularly tempting, though at Moscow prices, a long boozy evening can prove an expensive proposition.Address:
Tel: +7 495 699 3952.
The house bar at the Peking Hotel is perched up on the rooftop, so you get the same stunning Moscow views associated with swanky establishments like the Ritz-Carlton’s O2 Lounge, but without the bankrupting drink prices. There’s an extensive cocktail menu, with some imaginative creations, and DJs add a suitably upbeat vibe.Address:
Tel: +7 495 229 0180.
Clubs in Moscow
Rising from the rooftop of the former Red October chocolate factory, Gipsy is a hangout for the hip and happening, rather than the rich, so getting past face control is as much about style and attitude as the size of your wallet. Inside, it’s all urban and mismatched, with a quirky style that matches the eclectic DJ line up.Address:
Tel: +7 499 409 8693.
This bare brick Moscow institution has been around for years and is one of the city’s great survivors. It serves as a café by day and a warehouse club by night, and it provides a loud and boisterous beano for people in the party mood. Face control on the door may need some persuading to let you in, though.Address:
Tel: +7 495 624 5732.
Live music in Moscow
Housed above an English-themed pub that brews its own beer, this popular music hall hosts many visiting bands as well as homegrown rock talent. There’s a long list of homemade beers too, from lagers to stouts, and a decent menu of Russian food, plus an eclectic line-up of guitar acts through the week.Address:
Tel: +7 499 253 1550.
Classical music in Moscow
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
Home to Russia’s State Symphony Orchestra, this concert hall hosts a full programme of symphony and chamber concerts in addition to special festivals and performances of Russian national dance, organ and choral music. Naturally, the music of Tchaikovsky is a speciality here but the works of other Russian classical composers feature prominently too.Address:
Tel: +7 495 232 5353.
Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory
This leading concert venue and Moscow institution also remains Russia’s most famous music school. Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Shostakovich have both premiered work here, while Pyotr Tchaikovsky taught here, though the great composer died before public concerts started in 1898. Expect a regular programme of concerts, recitals and competitions from the cream of Russian musical talent.Address:
Tel: +7 495 629 8183.
Music and Dance in Moscow
Perhaps the world’s most famous dance company, the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera Company perform at this elegant 19th-century theatre daily from September to June, with matinees at weekends. Formed in 1773, the company took up residence on Teatralnaya ploshchad in 1824. The theatre itself is a striking neo-classical building, renowned for its size and acoustic qualities.Address:
Tel: +7 495 455 5555.