“Moscow’s Nightlife Likes to Sing”
by Miguel Francis
First off I’d like to thank everyone for the positive feedback and support for my article in the July issue of PASSPORT magazine. I sincerely hope I was (and will be) able to shine some light and expose those hidden paths within the labyrinth of Moscow’s nightlife. You’re more than welcome to submit feedback, comments, suggestions, and of course your own findings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this edition let’s move away from clubs and talk a little bit about the alltime favourite, karaoke! The perfect preclub activity. It seems Muscovites have really made something pompous out of their karaoke experience. Nowhere else in the world have I seen the idea of a karaoke bar/restaurant/club get transformed into a glamorous celebrity hive for a unique show-time experience available to just about anyone.
There are a few types of “karaokes” in Moscow. There are places where you can easily get in and enjoy a delicious dinner, drinks and sing for free. There are places where you can enjoy a dinner and drinks but you would be a charged Moscow’s standard price of about 300 roubles (US$10) per song. Furthermore, there are places that are filled with the jet-set crowd, including ex-pats, and sometimes there are special guest performances by major Russian celebrities. Then there are places which are filled with a more “Russian”- oriented crowd singing fairly melancholic songs about love, friendship and well, more love again. Let’s indulge into some of the best places in town for your creative outlet!
Prado Cafe (Savyanskaya Ploshad 2. Metro. Kitai Gorod) is one of the oldest and perhaps the most chic karaokes in town. You walk into something beautiful, bright, definitely Italian. As you venture down the stairs into the karaoke hall you are exposed to that jet-set hideout. The karaoke area carries excitement and mystique, setting you into a cozy atmosphere of singing. This is one of those places that charges you 300 roubles for a song, and on the weekend it’s a 10,000 rouble deposit for a table (US$300+). The drinks and food are great. Moscow’s exclusive widely acclaimed continental cuisine is superb.
The next pick is Jimmy Poy, located just up the street from Prado Cafe on Lubyanskiy Proezd 15. In a sense, this is an updated version of Prado. It’s got a great cuisine, an awesome selection of alcohol, and guest performances by celebrities such as Leonid Agutin and Angelika Varum (The Russian Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani, basically). The place has a very light & bright feel to it. The furniture is white, the surroundings are cozy and the staff is great. Lots of ex-pats come here it seems. If you can’t get into Prado (usually for capacity reasons) then simply take it a few blocks up the street to get into a very similar exciting karaoke.
Last but not least comes Isterika, located conveniently at the Evropeiskiy Mall on Ploshad Kievskogo Vokzala 2 (metro Kievskaya). This place in my honest opinion, is one of the best places in town. Designed like a spaceship, conveying glamor, prestige and excitement, the futuristic interior brings out the best in your voice. You can also dine and drink out here. The only difference is that you do not need to pay US$10 per song, simply sing all you want! The staff are nice and the place has a really cool stage to play on!
The two pretty back-up female singers can sometimes do wonders, but not always, as you can see in my case. I decided to sing Little Things by Britain’s grunge band Bush. But honestly, doesn’t this look like a real show instead of a karaoke?
That’s the magic of Russia. Karaoke is perhaps one of the best pre-club moves. From personal experience and feedback from many friends, karaoke will warm up the atmosphere among your party and get everyone ready for the adventure in Moscow’s nightlife.
The editor apologises for miss-spelling the name of the great club: “We Are Family” in the July issue of PASSPORT magazine.