Saint Petersburg, also known as the unofficial cultural capital of Russia, can show off not only it’s galleries and architectural wonders. Another notable thing there are it’s bars. One punk band “Leningrad” once wrote a song called “V Pitere – pit’” (“In St. Petersburg – to drink”) and many Russians happily agree.
Here are some of the most amusing theme bars you can find in this city.
1. Ugrumochnaya | St. Petersburg, Rubinstein St, 4
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The name of this place is a language pun that can be loosely translated as “a bar for the depressed”. They’re basically saying from the get go that any individual in a morose state of mind can spend there their sullen hours.
They have wonderful bartenders that are happy to listen you out and give a couple words of advice. Also there is a target where you can hang a photo of your malicious ex or an evil boss to throw darts in. They even have a special waistcoat which shoulder you can cry on and offer to print the face of your nemesis on a toilet paper. Another great item is a vintage phone with the sign “Ugrumochnaya’s support line” where you can actually hear short recorded speeches on the subject of your problems. Just pick up the receiver and a pleasant voice will guide you through.
The bar menu is impressive too. There are shots, wine, classic and alternative cocktails. One of their signature pieces is a cocktail “Mayakovsky”. It is served in a gun-shaped glass because this famous soviet poet has shot himself in the head. Or if you came with friends try a set of shots called “Mortal combat”.
2. KUNST BAR | St. Petersburg, Ital’yanskaya Ulitsa, 37
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Have you ever wanted to find a place that looks like an apartment of a vampire, who has a passion for collecting soviet antiques? Well, you found it. KUNST BAR has a captivating atmosphere that reminds you of a movie “What We Do in the Shadows” and a flamboyant Russian granny’s room. Dark victorian wallpaper, old lampshades, vintage furniture, portraits of angry looking damsels. Large bookshelves have a wide selection of literature and magazines on various topics that can help you pass the time.
The food is well made but is rather simple, so the main point of interest is their bar menu. This fine establishment offers some great thematic cocktails that you should try. Besides, there is a good selection of local craft beers. The staff is always friendly and glad to recommend you what to order. Their bartenders can even be asked to mix something special for you only. This option is not officially on the menu but they don’t tend to refuse if you ask, so definitely go for it!
3. Apteka | St. Petersburg, Nevsky avenue, 20
It is a secret bar located under the famous restaurant “Biblioteka” on Nevsky Prospect. One can get there through a hidden door in one of the toilets of the main building. Unfortunately you can’t simply walk in, so don’t forget to call and make a reservation beforehand. Might sound a bit too troublesome but this place is certainly worth it, especially considering their delicious menu.
When you’re there, you’ll be given a short tour around the place and told a couple of cool stories. Design of the restaurant has a recurring theme – alchemy. You will see photographs of spiritual seances of 20th century, chemical formulas, snakes in bottles of alcohol. This is basically a visual phantasy on Indian pharmacy of colonial times.
The bar is their special pride! All bartenders are knowledgeable in chemistry and can mix personalised drinks using their own nastoikas, a home-made alcohol on herbs, berries or other organic products. Some of their hits are made on honey, figs, and cocoa. And don’t forget to try their dishes! All are cooked by a talented Indian chef with a diploma in medicine.
This wonderful city where alcohol flows almost 24/7 will certainly leave warm memories in your heart.