Saint Petersburg has many bars. Having lived in in the city for over 4 years, I can still easily find new places I haven’t visited. Of course there are some places that I love and that I keep coming back to, but it’s also nice to explore new places every once in a while. Saint Petersburg is the perfect place to frequent regular hangouts but it is also a great place that always has something new to offer. Of course, every individual has his or her own opinion about which kind of bar is the best.
Since similar bars often seem to cluster around each other in Saint Petersburg, I will start this article by pointing out the city’s main bar areas. For each area I will focus on a couple of my favorites. There will be similar places around the bars I focus on so be sure to check those out as well.
On this page
- The main bar areas in Saint Petersburg
- The bar area around Dumskaya street
- The bars on Rubinshtein street
- Bars on and around Liteyny Prospekt
- Bars at Golitsyn loft
- Bars on and around Bolshaya Konyushennaya Street
The Main Bar Areas in Saint Petersburg
Back to top
The city is huge but logically, the bar action is concentrated in the center of the city. The center is also quite big so this should help you navigate your way to make sure you get to the best places. I will start with pointing out the main bar areas in the center. Of course not all bars are located in a special area, some are far away from other bars, but this is rather the exception. Anyway, here are the main areas.
Back to top
Dumskaya is infamous. It’s associated with bad taste and many other things that are considered bad. You’re not supposed to like Dumskaya much less go there. Many locals with whom I have talked about Dumskaya have used the same expression to describe it: злачное место, which means something like a place That being said, the area is absolutely packed on the weekends.
Why does Dumskaya have this reputation? I don’t really know. A lot of drunk teenages tend to frequent the area and wander around. Also, back in 2013, a gun was fired in a nightclub which added to the negative reputation of the area. Nevertheless, my impression of the area is positive. The Dumskaya area probably has the highest concentration of bars in the city. So, if you like bars and drinking, you should have a look there. It’s not my favorite area to be honest, but that’s also because it attracts mainly very young people (I’m 36 myself at the moment).
Main bar street of Russia
Back to top
Supposedly Dumskaya has the highest concentration of bars in the entire county.
The bar area of Dumskaya is located on Dumskaya street and the adjacent street , Lomonovskaya. It is located in the very heart of the city, right next to the Gostiny Dvor. In 2017 the Russian internet newspaper, The Village wrote that Dumskaya has been around for long enough that not only have people who met there gotten married, by now they also managed to get divorced.
Fidel Bar on Dumskaya Street
Back to top
Address: Dumskaya street 9 (google maps)
Fidel is named after former First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Many may find it strange that Fidel heads the list of best bars in the city. I have a feeling for some people it might be closer to one of the worst. But, you know, love and hate are closely related. The place used to be characterised by the penetrant smell of piss as soon as you entered it. They have new toilets now though and the whole place has become a bit tidier.
So why is Fidel worth visiting? It’s a place with history; one of the oldest bars in this area. Young and old, beautiful and ugly, everyone comes to drink the cheap drinks this bar has to offer. What I like about Fidel is that it feels like a living room. People are usually not all dressed up here; it is just like some crazy houseparty and that is an atmosphere that I enjoy.
Price of a beer: from 170 rubles
Price of a vodka shot: from 100 rubles
Price for a small bottle of whiskey (500 ml Jack Daniels): 2700 rubles
Address: Lomonosov street 1 (google maps)
Number 1 Lomonosov street is a very wide building and this is not the only bar in it, so don’t get confused.
If you’re tired of all the places in the Dumskaya area, but you don’t feel like moving elsewhere either, maybe you should have a look at the Apotheke bar. Apotheke seems to be German for “pharmacy” (аптека in Russian) and this is what the place seems to have been before it became a bar.
Apotheke bar does its best not to be associated with the other bars in the area. It wants to be an oasis of quiet and refinement in a very noisy and I suppose, ‘uncivilized’ area. There is no sign-plate with the name of the bar, just a small red cross. You can’t just walk into this bar, you have to ring the bell first. Only if the waiter admits you, are you allowed to enter.
The owners of Apotheke are the same people who own the city’s most well-known jazz bar “The Hat” and only people who have worked there or in another bar successfully are allowed to stand behind the counter of Apotheke. The bar doesn’t have a menu. Expert barmen will ask you a couple of questions and can make you a cocktail that is suited to your tastes.
The bar is small. It has a capacity of about 20 people. Usually they play some quiet jazz. It’s easy to strike up a conversation here since the music is not loud. Also, if you’d like to try some special drinks, like for example some Russian home-distilled herbal vodka, this is the place to be.
Price for a cocktail: around 350-400 rubles
The Bars On Rubinshtein Street
Back to top
Rubinshtein street (улица Рубинштейна) is very different from Dumskaya. It is more expensive and definitely more highbrow. But not less fun!
Rubinshtein is also known as the city’s main restaurant street.
How to get there
Back to top
If you’re coming from Dumskaya you can either walk there via the city’s main street Nevsky Prospekt or, you can also walk all the way down Lomonosov street which will lead you to the famous place where Lomonosov street, Razyezhaya street and Rubinstein street meet, the place known to locals as ‘5 corners’ (5 углов).
If you’re taking this route, you’ll be close to one of the streets best and most interesting bars.
Bekitzer – Israeli streetfood bar
Bekitzer is not only a good place to visit at night, during the day you can also get some great falafel here. The cheapest falafel on the menu costs just 120 rubles.
The only thing I dislike about Bekitzer is that during the weekends it’s pretty much always completely packed. The owners are doing well for themselves it seems. Recently they opened a second Bekitzer at Novaya Gollandiya.
Price of a cocktail: from 450 rubles (or at least 3 fallafels!)
Price of a beer: from 220 rubles (for 300 ml)
Price of humus on pita bread: 200 rubles
I have been going here for years and only now have I realized that the bar is probably named after the American rock band Poison. Like Bekitzer, Poison is also a chain, but the Rubinshtein location is by far my favorite.
On social media they call themselves Poison RocknRoll Karaoke. So, if you hate karaoke, you shouldn’t go here. What’s good about this bar is that it has essentially 2 areas. If you’re tired of hearing people sing, you can just hang out at the bar.
Some people here sing remarkably well. What is interesting about the karaoke repertoire of Poison is that they have absolutely no songs in Russian. It seems weird but I understand that they don’t want to attract a certain crowd like drunk Russian men who want to sing Leps.
I suppose you can say this is a very “foreigner friendly” environment.
Price of a beer: around 200 rubles
Price of a cocktail: around 350 rubles
Punk Brew is just a solid place with nice beer and good street food. The theme of this place is supposedly ‘punk’. To be honest, I don’t really see that. To me it looks more like an industrial interior.
It’s a good place. The only thing I slightly dislike is that it can be very loud when they show football on tv
Price of Shawarma on pita bread: 250 rubles
Price of a pizza with tomato sauce and mozarella: 280 rubles
Price of a beer: from 210 rubles
Pedro & Gomez at Larisa
It is an intriguing name, isn’t it? Maybe you’re already hoping to meet this Pedro or Larisa. Well, they are just names put together by the owners because they liked the sound of it. This place not only offers drinks, but also excellent street food from all over the world. They have some original things on offer here as opposed to just the regular street food that everyone is familiar with. What is also helpful is that their menu is also available in English.
The portions are small so that the guests can try several things at once (they are also quite affordable).
Bars on and around Liteyny Prospekt
Liteyny is an avenue (проспект in Russian) and not a street, like Dumskaya street and Rubinshtein street. The difference in Russia is that an avenue is longer and wider. This consequently means that Liteyny doesn’t have the same kind of intimate feeling you get when you walk down Rubinshtein street. Also, the concentration of bars on Liteyny is not as high as on the streets I discussed above. Whereas Dumskaya and Rubinshtein street both clearly have their own well defined character, Liteyny is different. The bars on it are not as uniform as in the other areas.
Kombucha Bistro & Bar
Explanation of the name: As some experts might know, kombucha is a slightly alcoholic drink that is made from fermented green or black tea. The drink is famous for its supposed health benefits. If you’re curious to try it, of course it can be done here, for 120 rubles.
Kombucha has a colonial interior with old furniture and carpets.
At Kombucha they offer dishes from all over the world, but always with one important characteristic: the usage of local Russian ingredients. The Thai Tom Yum soup, for example is made by adding the Russian Foxberry as an ingredient. Prices for the dishes are very reasonable (usually between 200- 400 rubles).
If you like to see live music on the weekend Kombucha may be a good option. They often have performances with jazz and world music. Check them out on social media to find out which concerts are scheduled next.
Price of a beer: from 230 rubles
Address: Liteyny Prospekt 57
Explanation of the name: Literally nebar (небар) means “not a bar”. It is very much a bar though, so to me the name seems kind of nonsensical. This place attracts an entirely different crowd than the other bars on Liteyny that I describe in this article. Nebar doesn’t gather the hipsters like for example Union bar and Gin Tonic Bar.
As a matter of fact, to most people, Nebar will seem like a very vulgar place especially to women. They are not a strip club, but it seems rather close. I mean, they also attract customers by advertising with pictures of big tits and round asses. So, it is a very different crowd. But if you would like to see some beautiful Russian girls dance on a bar, you might want to have a few drinks at Nebar.
Nebar nowadays is a chain, which not only has 2 bars in Saint Petersburg. It has bars in many different Russian cities. But it all started from this place on Liteyny.
usually men are required to pay an entrance fee at Nebar.
Nebar is a chain, which not only has 2 bars in Saint Petersburg but also in many different Russian cities. But it all started from this place on Liteyny.
Usually, men are required to pay an entrance fee at Nebar.
Nebar is also the kind of place where you have to order a table, which is pretty expensive I think. I never ordered a table, as it seems rather pointless to me. But I guess Nebar is the kind of place that attracts customers who like to show off that they can afford to have their own table, even if it costs them an arm and a leg. This is not really my kind of people. If I go to Nebar, I don’t expect to have a nice conversation there, whereas at other bars this is much more likely. I still think Nebar is a very Russian place and therefore deserves a place on this list.
Entrance fee: 300-500 rubles
Price of a shot of vodka: 120 rubles
Price of a beer: 200 rubles (330 ml)
Gin Tonic Bar
Back to top
Address: Liteyny Prospekt 64 (Google Maps)
The cool thing about this bar is that it is not so easy to find. It is located just across the street from the above mentioned Kombucha bar, but in the courtyard. To be able to enter the Courtyard you first need to ring a bell. After they have buzzed you in you stumble your way through the dark courtyard and wonder whether this is some kind of bad joke. It is not a bad joke. And a bar, which is practically hidden in a courtyard should be part of your Saint Petersburg experience.
From the outside there are no signboards or other pointers that you are close to the bar. The place doesn’t even have windows. Which, from a commercial point of view seems rather strange. The logic behind it is that in 2013, the owners wanted to open a bar that was inspired by the period of Prohibition in the United States; so from the get-go they envisaged that the place should not be out there in the open, but rather hidden. A place for friends and acquaintances.
Gin Tonic bar claims to have Russia’s largest Gin collection, more than 120 different kinds.
Union Bar has a long bar at the entry where they serve cocktails. If you want a beer rather than a cocktail, you should move on to the backroom where there’s another bar. At this bar you can order different kinds of beer and also burgers.
Concerts: Union Bar usually has concerts on Thursday nights. Tickets for these concerts can be purchased on the bar’s official vkontakte page. Ticket prices usually vary between 200 and 300 rubles.
Price of a beer: from 230 rubles (250 ml)
Price of a cocktail: from 350 rubles
Price of a cheeseburger: 430 rubles
The Hat is a jazz bar with great live music. Some evenings they also organise jam sessions, which you can join if you’re a capable musician yourself. The rules are strict though: you are only allowed to play jazz.
What is Golitsyn Loft: Golitsyn Loft is a complex that consists of 5 buildings from the 18th century on the Fontanka River Embankment, with more than 7 thousand square meters of territory. Around 70 different establishments are operating at Golitsyn. The most popular ones among them are bars and restaurants. But besides bars and restaurants, you can find shops with designer clothes, art galleries, tattoo studios and hair dressers.
Golitsyn loft is one of my favorite bar areas in the city; especially in summer when the whole courtyard is full of people. The more vulnerable parts of the building are located at the front, so that’s where the developers of the project decided to locate the quieter establishments, like coffee bars. If you are looking for more activity, you should enter the courtyard.
The cool thing at Golitsyn is that you can easily move from one bar to another. Here are a few bars you can visit at Golitsyn:
Back to top
Barbossa is a small bar on the second floor at Golitsyn. First you enter the courtyard and go all the way to the back, then you take a left and in the far left corner, you’ll find a staircase. Take the staircase up to the second floor where you will find the bar. It’s the kind of place that feels like a house party in someone’s living room; slightly messy, but it feels like home.
Back to top
To get to room 13 you have to cross the courtyard of Golitsyn all the way. In front of you in the left corner you’ll find a door leading to a staircase. You have to go up to the second floor. Once there you’ll just have to follow the hallway to get to Room 13.
At Room 13 you can try a lot of Russian homemade alcohol, if you’re the brave type of person…
Bars on and around Bolshaya Konyushennaya Street
Back to top
Although Bolshaya Konyushennaya is literally just a 5-minute walk away from the Dumskaya area, the place couldn’t be more different. On this street you can find some of the city’s most expensive fashion boutiques. You know, the kind of place that hires its own uniformed security. Most people can’t afford to shop there, not me at least. But drinking in this area is classy while not incredibly expensive. Therefore, I recommend it.
Big Liver Place (Cocktailbar)
Back to top
Address: Shvedskiy Pereulok, 2 (Google Maps)
Big Liver is a place that is a bit hidden so they might not even be so happy that I mention them here. It is not located on the main street, but in a small ally, the Shvedskiy Pereulok. I like the place because of the competent barmen who really know how to make a good cocktail. They are like walking encyclopedias when it comes to cocktails.
Arka is a modern lounge with good food and cocktails. Usually there is a dj playing, but not so loud that having a conversation is no longer possible.
Price of a cocktail: 490 rubles
Price of duck breast with spicy apple jam: 640 rubles
I really hope you find this blog post useful. Of course things can change, especially in a big city like Saint Petersburg. So a place that is considered hot at one moment may be less popular
after a while. Consumers in big cities are spoiled and not very loyal. I have purposely included very different places on this list so everybody should be able to find at least a few places that they really like.
I am sure you will enjoy the great nightlife that Saint Petersburg has to offer. What is your favourite bar in Saint Petersburg? Leave a comment below.