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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Who said what about Moscow nightlife
By Miguel Francis

Moscow’s nightlife, oh so extravagant and lavish isn’t it? An expat sometimes may feel like a small fish in a huge pond, and finding the right way could prove difficult. That’s why we’re here for you at Passport Magazine, guiding you through the new happenings and upcoming nightlife events that we think will fit the interest of an international clubber or, in our case, an expat!

My name is Miguel Francis, I’ve worked in the nightlife industry in Moscow, Los Angeles and Miami, both as an event producer and a DJ. I only review the places I’ve personally enjoyed and believe are up to the standard of the Passport Magazine reader. Allow me to set you on the right path to enjoying the Moscow nightly jungle!

Let’s start with the recent grand opening of a club that manages to provide a cozy and intimate atmosphere but brings out the euphoria behind Moscow’s nightlife. Imperia has opened its doors to support Moscow’s demanding tastes. The club was produced by the infamous nightlife guru, Aleksei Gorobiy, the master-mind behind some of the best night clubs in Moscow, and in my opinion, the world! Gorobiy’s first major venture was the club Titantic opened in 1995, revolutionizing Russia’s nightlife and club culture, bringing in the foreign sounds of international electronic music. Shorty after, Gorobiy’s success expanded with projects like Shambala, Leto, Osen, Jet Set and of course DyagileV Project. After two years away from major club market, Aleksei brings you Imperia, intentionally named after the infamous vodka, Russian Standard Imperia.

I went there last week and was amazed at what I experienced. Pasha Facecontrol greeted me like a true brother at the door and ensured a swift entry. As I walked in I was instantly exposed to Gorobiy’s exquisite design of the lobby. This man knows how to sell air, and sell it so well that you can’t wait for the next weekend to come around. You take the stairs up and wow, you’re in a magical maze of nightlife extravaganza. There are three club rooms, all similar in geometrical design which resembles a small DyagileV. Each room (or hall might be a better name for it) has a circular bar in the middle, walking area or ‘dance-floor’ around the circumference of the bar, and a table area a step upward from the dance-floor, encircling the whole room. Each room is quite different from the others, evoking different atmospheres and igniting different emotions. The music was superb, good quality disco, vocal and commercial house, just the way we like it! I met quite a few expats that night. There were Englishmen, Americans, Italians, people from Dubai. It was like a little WMC (Winter Music Conference, Miami) in Moscow. The club is located near Metro Ulitsa 1905 Goda on Ul. Mantulinskaya 5/1. See you there next weekend! Oh, forgot to add that the drinks there were monstrous, 0.7 liters! Their glasses for their Mojitos and Long Islands are so huge that one drink is good enough. And the pricing was rather ironic, 700 rubles for a Long Island, meaning about 100 rubles every 0.1 liters, so for almost one liter of Long Island, you end up paying twenty bucks, gotta love Russia.

Sometimes a bar may just be the place to start off the evening. Bar Vecher (Evening), Bolshaya Lubanskaya 13, is located on the left side of the Lubyanskaya Square near Metro Lubyanka. It is a medium size, St. Tropez-like bar in the middle of Moscow. The place has been putting out some great foreign pop music performances by UK’s very own boy band 5ive. About two weeks ago, they had me DJ’ing with Marty Cintron from No Mercy, perhaps you all remember them by their single Where Do You Go. The place is owned and operated by Lubov Isaeva (ex-good-old DyagileV project), Arkadiy Doncov (the son of the famous Russian writer Daria Doncova, nevertheless a guru of Moscow’s nightlife behind clubs like Famous and DyagileV) and DJ Mr DYF (the only Russian DJ who managed to partner up and release a great dance tune: Hold On with Britain’s very own Freemasons!). The place brings about a posh and chic atmosphere but with a definite scent of something new and exciting. Every Thursday Vecher’s got Giorgio’s (ex Hustler Magazine) Expat Parties along with his courageous dance group Honey Bunny, who manage to play violin, electric guitar and sing rather well to their very own House music tunes! The face control is moderate, although they’ve been soft opening every day, and their schedule will continue to stay the course Mon-Sun from 9pm to the last guest. The grand opening is on May 22nd. Come with a smile and enjoy yourself with the rest of us!

If you think Krisha Mira ( The World’s Roof located on Tarasa Shevchenko Naberzhnaya 15) is the only great Moscow after-hours place, you may need to place your bets on this one too! A new after-hour tiger has risen and his name is Progressive Daddy ( Situated on the riverbank of Ul. Beresnevskaya Naberezhanaya 6 right next to Rai and the Rolling Stone, presents itself as another great addition to an already amazing arsenal of diverse bars and clubs that have opened around the super club Rai ( The pricing is decent, as with all the clubs and bars in Moscow 12-17 USD per drink from soft to hard liquor. The atmosphere is rather dark and mysterious; numerous ultra violet lights really make it quite captivating. The feel in general is still of a more modern, smaller Krisha Mira, with thrilling and chilling Miami and Ibiza-type progressive house tunes. Beginning on the 21st of May, the club will be working Mon–Thur. from 9pm-2am and Fri & Sat. 9pm to early morning. The face control is open-minded but sometimes they do have list-only entry that you can also avoid, just come up to the face control guy and act extremely expat!

We Are Family Disco Hotel Moscow (M. Kitai Gorod, Lubyanskii prospekt 15), the super club that was created by the infamous DyagileV Project masterminds Sinisha Lazarevich and Misha Kozlov, is still today the only Moscow super club that is simply infected with foreigners. From DJs to the audience, it’s us! We Are Family brings over a whopping 2-4 foreign DJs a month, which is a great number for international bookings considering today’s economic crisis. Last month, the club brought over super star DJs Andrea T Mendoza (Italy), Tristan Garner (France) and Javi Mula (Spain). The wonderful international content is not the only thing that We Are Family is known for. The club just came back from Kemer, Turkey. The grand trip that involved all the club’s promoters and producers along with its crème de la crème attendees packing their bags and flying off to get a tan in luxury surroundings of the 5-star Rixos Hotel. In Russia this kind of clubbers’ group tour happens quite often. Make sure to stay tuned to our nightlife section, I will be bringing you updates on the next trip!

Sometimes the whole routine of a bar, club, after-hours place can get quite boring, even in the magnificent Moscow. Feel like being different? Instead of going to a bar before your dose of Moscow’s nightlife, you can go to a cookout at the Blackberry Cafe ( M. Krasnie Vorota, Prospekt Akademika Saharova 10). Every Wednesday the place holds a Gastronomical Celebrity Night, a cook-out with the celebrities. This week it’s a gala-dinner with world renowned Luiso Pestano, the chef-cook of the infamous luxury resort Reid’s Palace Madeira in Portugal. Luiso will start off the dinner with a cooking master-class, presenting a dish that perhaps any one of us can cook! In the weeks to come Blackberry will hold similar cook-outs with local and international celebrities, from top chefs to rock stars. Come on over and enjoy!

When I first came out to Moscow in 2004 I was shocked with the nightlife scene. It was full of thrills and excitement. I have to say it hasn’t really depleted its potential just yet. Russian folks keep thinking of new ideas, new ways to make it better, more unique and way more prestige than anyone out there.

That’s why from now on keep that Passport Mag handy, as we will be bringing you updates on the full spectrum of the entertainment genre in Moscow, including its diverse, intriguing and mesmerizing nightlife.

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