The St Petersburg nightlife scene is often (falsely) characterised as either an exercise in velvet ropes exclusivity or a marathon of student-style bingeing along infamous Dumskaya Street. But beyond the stereotypes, there’s far more for the evening carouser to discover. Like whisky bars frequented by the literati. Hipster-friendly hidden clubs that throw the best parties in town. Live music to be enjoyed alongside a well-shaken cocktail. From local institution Gribodoev to chic Mishka Bar and on-trend Radiobaby, you’ll find what you’re looking for at these seven addresses, whether it’s laidback tippling or late-night clubbing.
When it comes to cool settings, it’s hard to do better than Sever Bar: found within the Loft Project Etagi art and design complex, it attracts creative types with its on-trend, industrial interior as well as its heady vibe of late night dancing. Come back on Sunday to relieve your hangover with the weekly chess club.
Burgers while you dance? If you’re into both patties and parties, make your way to the New York-style Union Bar. Arrive early enough to dine, enjoy a live performance while you chow, and then wash it all down with a cocktail or two before shimmying out onto the dancefloor.
Located just off Nevsky Prospekt, Radiobaby has the look of a Hungarian ruin bar touched down amidst the glamour of the St Petersburg nightlife scene. Crowds are young and bohemian, vibes are hip but laidback, and the music increases in volume throughout the evening.
Visit a bar named after a famous Russian architect and you’re in for some very good design. No surprise then that Stackenschneider is as easy on the eyes (credit also goes to the well-dressed pretty young things in attendance) as it is on the ears. The tunes here lean heavily toward the electronic end of the spectrum, and DJs fly in from around the world to host special party nights.
Mishka Bar is way more than just a shots bar, and yet it’s worth pointing out: it does shots really, really well. Far from thoughtless glugs of tequila, at Mishka shots are served in tasting flights with different flavoured, infused vodkas available to enjoy. It all goes wonderfully with the friendly crowds and late-night soundtrack.
A staple of the St Petersburg nightlife scene, Griboedov brings a distinctly Berlin feel to the Venice of the North. One of the city’s most beloved and long-running clubs (it opened in 1996), Griboedov may be far from undiscovered at this point, but you shouldn’t miss the chance to spend your night here. Besides, there’s plenty to see: spread across a maze of rooms, the offerings range from chilled out cafes to DJ-helmed dance spaces.
Lest you be swayed by the stereotype that St Petersburg’s denizens are all unabashed vodka-guzzlers, a visit to the eminent Dead Poets should change your mind. It’s whisky, the very water of life, that’s celebrated here, both neat and in cocktail form. That name is no misnomer either: this low-key bar regularly hosts poetry evenings, lectures, and other events.
Murder, intrigue, crime and punishment… St Petersburg has it all. Those fascinated by the more ghoulish side of history will love these significant spots from fiction, and real life.