Opulent and slick, Club Solyanka offers chic surroundings alongside a small stage with big sound. Part restaurant/ part discotheque, you can choose to indulge in fabulous food and/ or the latest aural pleasures from a rotating roster of DJs and live acts from around the world! We had the pleasure of experiencing Club Solyanka on it’s opening night as Doug’s band, The Gentle People, was invited to perform as part of their New Year’s celebration and debut!
In fact, we had the unique opportunity of seeing the venue just a few days before, when it was still far from completion! After trudging up the uneven stairs, some of which were missing their planks, we were stunned to see the place in such a state of disarray! ("I don't get it. The stage is going to go HERE?”) Thankfully, a rusted gate with torn green netting covered up the facade from the street. Yikes!
In spite our doubt, upon our arrival at dusk for the final technical rehearsal, Club Solyanka had emerged from its cocoon stunningly! A funky mix of random furniture had been flown in from London specifically for the opening! And with gorgeous lighting fixtures in place, a handsome bar stocked with booze... and heck, even functioning restrooms, we were certain the evening would be a success!
Our "green room," really just the unfinished, dusty attic of the venue, was less polished. There was even a hole in the roof that allowed snow to fall inside! (We watched fireworks through the opening all night long!) Still, Club Solyanka treated The Gentle People right - with plates and plates of hors d'oeuvres and desserts direct from the just-completed kitchen! There may have even been some champagne thrown in there too, if memory serves!
After the performance, it was all about the dancing! A Russian horde of nightmongers helped Club Solyanka’s opening night party last well into the next year!
Now part of the “S-11 Creative Association,” which holds a bevy of different events in the space, Club Solyanka offers many different rooms in which to groove, relax, imbibe, or indulge! The creative restaurant menu is a blend of Mediterranean, Thai and even Mexican dishes, artfully prepared to look as good as they taste!
Believe it or not, Club Solyanka is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 AM, and on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM until 6:00 AM. (Expect DJ’s though only on Thursday nights through Sunday nights.) Entrance fees to Club Solyanka on the weekends in 500 rubles (about $18 USD). Check their website or Facebook page for current hours and events. Set of Drifters video: Check out our YouTube channel for video from this event!
Club Solyanka - 11/6, Ulitsa Solyanka, Moscow, 011 (7) 495 221-7557, http://s-11.ru/english
Shop & Bar Denis Simachev
People throw this boast around quite often, but here it’s actually true. In Moscow, you never know what’s going to happen next. This is particularly true when you are being hosted by friends that happen to be "czars" of the Moscow club scene, and when you cannot read or understand the language! Such was the setting of the scene for Set of Drifter Brady’s Russian birthday bash.
While waiting for the festivities to begin from our 12th story apartment at the Kotelnicheskaya, we flipped channels on the fuzzy TV and browsed through a catalog of multi-purpose shower units like the one installed in our bathroom (see “digs.”) After two hours, sans vodka, our chariot had arrived! (You see, Moscow nightlife really does not begin until around 12:30 AM!)
Sergei whisked the five of us off to a special opening party of some designer friend's swanky boutique/ club. It was called the Shop & Bar Denis Simachev, and oddly located right on the upscale shopping thoroughfare of Stoleshnikov Pereulok (just doors down from world-class brands like Cartier and Louis Vuitton). The concept was somewhat controversial at the time since the unusual venue would undoubtedly attract young ruffians to the swanky neighborhood at all hours of the night, and yet on the flip-side, who would want to party next to an Hermès store? Nevertheless, once inside, the vodka shots started flowing sooner than you can say “Спасибо, но я смотрю моя фигура.”
While designs from fashion wunderkind Simachev hang in the boutique’s two upper levels, disco balls, incongruous bathroom fixtures and risque Japanese anime mosaics set the tone in the basement lounge. We had a laugh posing shamelessly in one of the many faux loos that double as “dressing rooms,” but only in the sense that they are small chambers that can be closed off and made private! Ooh-la-la!
And get this, we are told that for other special events, champagne flows freely frοm thе faucets of the quirky sinks that make up the interior banquet! Clever, clever, we must admit!
After numerous shots, Brady was certainly feeling festive, and yet it was time to move on... Back out on Stoleshnikov Pereulok, the December snow had started to fall upon the city. The flakes were so huge and fluffy, yet fell with such grace. Exhausted from the Denis Simachev party antics, half of our crew retired for the evening, though us die-hards regrouped and were soon sent off to another unpredictable nightspot where the birthday celebration continued (see below).
Shop & Bar Denis Simachev also serves fresh juices, desserts and other small breakfast plates at reasonable prices 24/7 (according to their website), making it a location that can now be equally enjoyed by daytime shoppers and nighttime denizens alike!
Shop & Bar Denis Simachev - 12/2, Stoleshnikov Pereulok (near Kuznetsky Most Metro station), Moscow, 011 (7) 495 629-5702, http://www.denissimachev.com/content/index01.html
While club-hopping one night in honor of Set of Drifter Brady’s birthday, we found ourselves along the southern bank of the Moscow River. Our hosts had given the address of our next destination to a taxi cab driver, and had advised us they would soon join us after picking up some additional friends. To be honest, as we faced the desolate frozen river in front of us, we pondered rather dourly "WHERE ARE WE?” The scene was made only more daunting by the mothball-sized snowflakes that had begun to fall around midnight.
Turns out Oleg and Co. had directed us to Krysha Mira, the nightclub located in a cavernous old warehouse in the Krasnaya Presnya section of Moscow. Easily among the "hottest" spots in town, Krysha Mira is also known as “Roof Of The World,” the moniker resultant from the warehouse’s top story that opens up onto a terrace that overlooks the city and river! The sublime setting was yet another example of Moscow’s imbued indulgence.
Also featured on the top floor was a tent that showcased a gigantic evergreen tree shooting up through its center. Thanks to the clever design, snowflakes were able to fall from the sky, blessing Moscow’s unruly hoofers as they pranced all night long upon the spacious dancefloor!
Of course, there were more floors to the Krysha Mira story. Downstairs, rotating art exhibits lead way to ample lounges and even more startlingly elaborate dancefloors. While performing his usual acrobatic gyrations to the supple house music on offer here, Brady encountered what was perhaps the tallest Russian sassabone ever! Dipping those taller than himself is never a good idea, as the consequence usually brings one or more dance partner crashing to the floor!
Damn our new friend Nastasia! She had an "in" with the bar that solidified a free non-stop flow of Red Bull/ vodkas! It wasn't long before we met up with a whole new cast of creatures of the Russian night. One clubber had a thing for our mate Robert, a problem since the male Moscovite was married and had a kid or two! Our host Oleg told us that it did not really matter since, in Moscow, anything goes, and from what we saw at Krysha Mira that evening, we believe it!
Eventually, the night turned into morning. As the gorgeous snow continued to fall all around us, we left the “Roof Of The World,” behind and wondered how in the heck we were going to get home? In broken Russian, Robert somehow persuaded our taxi-cab driver back to the Kotelnicheskaya where the time and temperature sign above the door said it all: 5:24 AM; 3 degrees Centigrade!
Krysha Mira starts packing them in at midnight and throbs on until 6:00 AM. Drink prices are around 450 rubles (about $16 USD). Set of Drifters tip: Since the popular nightspot began as a “friends only” private club, you may need someone on the inside to grant you access, that is unless you are already a plastic Barbie doll with luscious blond hair and an artificially enhanced bosom. Don’t be dismayed however. Even though we saw at least six girls who could easily have been mistaken for the Russian "Marcia Brady," the vibe inside is actually very friendly and not at all stuck up!
Krysha Mira - Kutuzovsky 13/2, Via Taras Shevchenko embankment, (Metro station access at Aleksandrovskii sad, Arbatskaya, or Borovitskaya), Moscow, 011 (7) 495 203-6008, https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7442392092
Club Kult / Культ
Looking for more of “subterranean pub vibe” while visiting Moscow? This groovy little spot lured us in with cheap pitchers of beer... and to be perfectly honest, its proximity to our apartment, a factor that suddenly becomes integral when the temperature outside is well below zero - and you don’t speak any Russian!
Club Kult actually touts itself as being the first “chill-out” bar to debut in Moscow. It is frequented by a friendly boho crowd that indulges in the warmly-lit venue’s African-inspired food and cozy, fun environment. Squint your eyes almost completely while at Club Kult and you might think you're at “Jabba’s Palace” from Return of the Jedi! Thanks to its snug tables and an equally petite dancefloor, Club Kult was in stark contrast to the other bars and clubs we experienced while in town. While the basement pub showcases art and movie functions on special occasions, DJs of all musicalities can be expected nightly. If you are looking to “get your dance on,” Friday and Saturday nights are your best bets!
We enjoyed mingling with the locals at Club Kult. With its cheap drinks and non-pretentious vibe, it almost reminded us of a fun bar you’d frequent in San Francisco during the 1990’s! Afterward, Robert, Sarah, Laurie and your “Set of Drifters” hurried back across Ulitsa Solyanka to our apartment, cold, wet, and desperately trying to stay out of traffic!
Set of Drifters tip: Like what you hear in the nightclubs of Moscow? Two of our favorite Russian electronic acts are Copy Cat Project and the Post Industrial Boys (technically from Georgia).
Club Kult - 5, Yauzskaya str. (near The Trinity Church in Serebryaniki), Moscow, 011 (7) 495 917-5706
Copy Cat Project - http://copycatproject.promodj.ru/
Post Industrial Boys - http://www.allmusic.com/artist/post-industrial-boys-p668470