Although this was not my first business trip to Moscow, it was the first in which I got to experience a bit of the city. Did I have stroganoff? No. I did, however, get to see some of Moscow’s hotspots. If you don’t speak Russian and you need to get around, use Uber for cashless transactions or Yandex Taxi if you have rubles on you. You can plug in your destination so you *hopefully* won’t get lost and need to google-translate your way home. Free wifi is usually available at most hotels and cafes so just linger outside of one long enough till you connect.
Buro Canteen 24/7
Buro Canteen is the latest project from Buro 24/7 Russia. If you’re wondering where the Muscovite hipsters hang out, I would imagine it’s at this cafe. The Canteen is located in the middle of an industrial-turned-hip complex that could easily be mistaken for the Highline or Williamsburg. The interior decor is a Soviet Art Deco dream made for Instagram: large vibrant posters, a hand-lettered chalkboard menu, an illustrated world map, and an instant photo booth in the bathroom – need I say more?
Apparently the spot does, in fact, cater to a lot of creatives working in big fashion companies nearby which was what Mira Duma, Buro 24/7 founder, was hoping for when she decided to open the concept there. The Canteen was created in partnership with Girl Power LLC, the group behind The Slow Kitchen and B152|Tearoom (both also in Russia).
The menu is changed regularly and has a variety of options. We ordered zucchini & feta rolls, burgers, and fries. The ketchup was a winner.
Located on a snazzy rooftop of a hotel/shopping center, White Rabbit has a full view of the city of Moscow through its large semicircle windows. The decor is shabby chic, with large armchairs and psychedelic Nat Geo photographs of wild mushrooms scattered among portraits of rabbits dressed in Victorian costumes. It’s as if the Mad Hatter invited you to come have drinks and ravioli.
We had great cocktails: a raspberry passionfruit cosmopolitan and a mandarine bourbon mix. Although we weren’t eating lobster or anything of the sort, they made us wear bibs before dinner. The guys’ version had bow ties and ladies had necklaces. I think we smelled like camera-happy tourists so they wanted to give us the full experience because we got smokey sorbet on the house for dessert. Waiters speak English! Yes!
So this is another place that I would expect to find in NYC. It’s entrance is inside the fast-food Chinese Lucky Noodles joint. To the right of the register, there’s a bouncer blocking a staircase that leads to a speakeasy-like gastropub from the 1920s. The bar has barely any chairs and you have to pay minimum charge for a table. If you plan on eating and drinking, you might as well just get a table because your bill will come out to about the same.
It gets really crowded by midnight and you wouldn’t even guess that there’s a financial crisis going on in this city. However, I’m pretty sure those affected by it aren’t hanging out at an underground pub named after the guy who discovered the periodic table. And what an appropriate name it is: the bartenders work like chemists, mixing concoctions based on what you want because you can’t read the all-Russian cocktail menu. Drinks are excellent* and the music was just like being out in Beirut, house that got deeper as the night got later.
* meaning they don’t taste like diluted alcohol and you don’t need to wait till your third to actually enjoy not tasting what you’re ingesting