A true winter wonderland, St Petersburg is notoriously cold at this time of year. Luckily, when it comes to beating the frostbite, the city offers a particularly effective cure in its selection of cosy bars and warming winter tipples. From the elegant Lobby Bar with its roaring fireplace to the hip Dead Poets Bar and intellectual hotspot Sunduk Art Café, warm up with this guide to the cosiest bars in St Petersburg.
For a chic aperitif on a winter’s evening, the Lobby Bar at Corinthia St Petersburg pours an excellent cocktail. Pull up a chair at the well-stocked bar or settle back on a sofa and enjoy a delicious selection of drinks and snacks. Live music provides guests with additional entertainment from 6pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays. Best of all, you don’t even need to leave the hotel.
Sunduk Art Café is one of the quirkiest music bars in St Petersburg. Daily live entertainment, whimsical interiors and flavoursome European and Russian cuisine combine to make it a cosy, atmospheric hideaway. Its interior resembles an underground antiques shop, with exposed brick walls, mismatched furniture and artfully cluttered, off-beat objets d’art. Sip a hot punch or warming whisky and enjoy live jazz, flick through a menu punctuated by fun messages and listen to the day’s musician or DJ; genres vary greatly, but the no-pop rule is never flouted.
Located just off Nevsky Prospect on ul Zhukovskogo, this is undoubtedly one of the coolest cocktail bars in St Petersburg. An ideal place to wind down and warm up after a day of sightseeing, Dead Poets Bar offers a relaxing, Bohemian ambience and an extensive drinks menu of sophisticated, classic and contemporary cocktails. This venue is decidedly low-key, yet inviting, and attracts an intellectual crowd with an events calendar full of talks and poetry readings.
Should you find yourself on lively Rubinsteina Street, shut out the cold winter breeze at Vinny Shkaf (the ‘wine cabinet’, in Russian). This intimate, industrial space offers delicious food and drinks, with a particularly extensive wine menu – ideal for a romantic pre- or post-dinner drink.
Stepping into Kabinet – through an unmarked door, no less – is like entering an illicit 1920s poker joint. And this subterranean speakeasy plays its theme well. Making a reservation and turning up in smart-casual dress are essential, but once you’re in, it’s worth the effort. Dark, warm and elegant, Kabinet embodies the pre-Revolutionary drinking scene. Trade your coat for chips, take a seat at a poker table and allow the costumed staff deal a set of cards to help determine your bespoke cocktail. Then settle back and enjoy it by candlelight to the smooth sounds of jazz.
An established favourite among St Petersburg’s hipster crowd, Borodabar smacks of personality. Its small, underground location near the university amplifies the cosy, intimate atmosphere, and its cocktails are excellent. Warm up on a winter’s day with a whisky – there’s a great selection of global malts – or, for the daring, a shot. The Borodabar bar staff are the definitive experts when it comes to mixing a delectable drink.