Social Movers Winter 2016 – Chris Helmbrecht

Chris Helmbrecht

As the nights get longer, we are entering the busiest period of Moscow’€™s nightlife. There are lots of special parties and activities, but also the closer we get to the end of the year, the more corporate events will happen. So be aware, that your favourite place might be closed for a night, because some company or some Oligarch rented it for their end of year party.

The new hotspot: ‘Berlin Bar’ opens at the end of November. It’s located on Blagoveshchenskiy Pereulok, not far from Mayakovskaya Square. But, it may take you some effort to find it. The makers of ‘Suzuran Bar’€™ or the ‘Brix’€™ wine places don’€™t like flashy signs. They think you must look for the ‘good’€™ by yourself. ‘Berlin Bar’€™ features a simplistic stylish interior, designed by a young awarded designer from Berlin. The bar itself is laid out with boardwalk concrete plates from East Berlin. Some of the lights are former streetlights, which mysteriously disappeared in Berlin and ended up in a Moscow bar. And of course the music concept is based on what is played in Berlin’€™s best venues. Expect a fashionable and creative crowd in this small boutique bar. From models to designers to advertising folks.

I wrote about ‘Motel’ about a year ago, when it opened. It has been one of Moscow’€™s best party bars ever since, with around 1,000 people per weekend night hanging out, on one of the 3 floors. ‘Motel’ is styled after a 60s American Motel. For a few weeks now, the bar has a new art and music director and the venue is getting ever better. Drop my name at the door and the face-control guy will let you in with ease. Also come to visit our bi-weekly Thursday sessions there. You’€™ll find more information in our WE group on Facebook.

My favourite hangout €˜’Suzuran’€™, which became my living room, made it to fame within the insiders of Moscow’€™s nightlife. The weekend parties there are packed with a mix of creative and underground people, but also expats and the notorious rich and famous. ‘€˜Suzuran’ is still one of the city’€™s best kept secrets and if you haven’t been there yet, it poses somewhat of a challenge to find that secret bar. Delicious cocktails, good tech-house music from the city’€™s best DJ’€™s: Sanchez, BVoice, Dmitry JCB, Sofia Rodina, and a really friendly staff and positive (easy to talk to) crowd.

‘€˜Fabrique’, one of Moscow’€™s older clubs (and closed for 3-5 years), is re-opening this month. I am not sure what to expect. The place was always average and didn’€™t work that well in the past. But who knows, maybe there is a good new concept behind it, and it will work out. I will write about it in my next review.

For a Friday pre-party, stop by at ‘€˜Mojo’€™ on Paveletskaya. They have great food, good cocktails and usually some good DJ’€™s warming you up for the rest of your party night. The owner Simon, is an expat himself, an experienced bar chef and a nightlife insider for a very long time.

Surprisingly, my favourite after hour club ‘€˜Krysha Mira’€™ closed a few weeks ago. Ever since, there have been rumours on why Viktor, the owner, closed Moscow’s most famous club. Some say he had problems with the narcotics police and the city administration. Some others think the nearby competition wanted ‘€˜Krysha’€™ closed. Others say that Viktor ran out of money. None seems to be true. Apparently ‘€˜Krysha’ is only closed for the winter season and re-opening with the start of the summer next May. It’s been a PR gag as well as a business decision, I guess.

So where to go for a proper after hour? The cities new hotspot is ‘€˜Gazgolder’€™ . The 10-year-old club moved from its old position to a new house in the former Arma factory space. Apparently it’s (part) owned by the famous Russian rapper Basta. The crowd is mixed, but mainly underground people. The venue is huge and can hold up to a 1,000 guests, although there are usually around 200-300. Unfortunately, there are not enough unisex toilets for this amount of people and they are not always used for what they were intended (you know na mean?), so don’€™t wait too long when the bladder starts pushing. ‘Gazgolders’ music concept is mixed. You can find some boring underground click clack music (perfect for the drugged up, dancing the night away into the afternoon). Occasionally, they have good local DJ’s and also great foreign bookings.

I often get asked what to do from Sunday to Wednesday night. Sundays you can find the ongoing after hour at ‘Mendeleev’ (which is always a good choice!). It runs until Monday morning. Once a month Techno ‘Gipsy’€™ is running all Sunday until early Monday morning. If you like it more relaxed check Alex Nikolaevs BabyMakingMusic @ ‘8 Oz’€™. in Gorky Park on Sunday evenings from 19:00 until midnight. Some of the city’€™s best DJ’s play their favourite tracks there each Sunday. But don’t expect a dancing crowd. Typically, some stars, mixed with the regular Gorky Park crowd and some of the nightlife people, hang out at the tables, drinking beer and eating pizza. Monday is dead. You can only hang out at one of the famous lounges (‘Luch’€™, ‘€˜O2 Lounge’€™, etc.,) or visit one of the down and dirty places, like ‘Crazy Daisy’€™ or ‘Kamchatka’€™. ‘Propaganda’€™ got Soul, is the place to check on Tuesdays. Phil and his friends open the party at around midnight and it goes until 5-6 am. Expect a soulful house music. Wednesday is RnB Party day at ‘€˜Garage Club’€™ (Polyanka). That since about 15 years, with ups and downs, but typically it’€™s a cool party from around 00:30 in the clubs basement.

Thursdays you can head to ‘Mendeleev Bar’ for some live jazz and cocktails. If you are looking for a glam party, you need to take a rather long taxi ride along Kutusovsky Prospekt to ‘Obloko’.€™ It’€™s where the Rublovka and Barvika rich and famous meet the centre’s rich and famous for a 3 floor posh night. Just in case you like it a bit more democratic, check ‘€˜Propaganda’.€™ It’€™s still (for 15 years or so) the best house music night in town and starts at midnight, running until around 6 am.