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Around the Conservatory: Pre- and Post-Concert Cheap Eats
By Guy Archer
Issue 9
September 9 - October 7, 2004

Moscow’s classical music lovers are in luck in September: The summer silence ends, and the new music season begins. By mid-month, there’s no shortage of recitals and concerts to enjoy in the Moscow Conservatory every night of the week. Moreover, by international standards ticket prices are extremely reasonable, even cheap.

So where to go for an after-concert supper, where the bill won’t set you back more than the evening’s tickets? Which eateries do the musicians and students from the conservatory choose to frequent after a performance? Try the following establishments in the musical heart of the city around Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa.


Coffee Mania

Located in the corner of the Moscow Conservatory, Coffee Mania is a fine spot, but getting a table before or after a concert is practically impossible. Often, you need to expand your search by about a block or so.


U Nikitskikh Vorot cafe

If you are hungry, this marvelous shashlichnaya is one of the best quick fixes in the neighborhood. It’s nothing but the most basic Georgian eatery, next to a Coffeehouse, but the shashliks are superb. Ambiance gets a zero, which some may consider another plus in today’s elitny Moscow. You may have to stand up while you dine. The attention is on the food. Because it closes at 9pm, it’s best to go before a performance.

The affiliated restaurant of the same name next door offers the same food in a more refined setting, with prices about 10 percent higher.



Another place whose ambiance earns a zero — which again is a big plus. This is a pretty basic bar, a hangout for Conservatory students, with billiards and a couple of slot machines. Food is inexpensive traditional Russian fare. This is a real student dive, which makes it an appealing place in a neighborhood full of restaurants that musicians can’t afford.


Cafe Ryumochnaya

Going up to the counter and surveying the available snacks and other eats, you can just feel your arteries hardening. The food is smothered with cheeses and in fat, and smells sublime. Prices are absurdly inexpensive, so you can thumb your nose at the people across the street in more expensive restaurants looking down on you for being in such a place. But the joke is really on them: This is a wonderful place, full of warmth and character — and music lovers on a budget. Early closing makes it a pre-concert spot.


U Bashmachnika (“Bar”)

One of Moscow’s most understated and appealing gathering places — and for this reason, possibly one of its most doomed. It’s a familiar site for Conservatory habitues. Just glance down Bryusov Pereulok, and there is that welcoming sign, saying simply, “Bar.” Smoke-filled and packed with the un-hip, it’s a perfect spot to duck into for a drink before a concert, or a nightcap afterward. Cozy, inviting, and more of a place to drink than eat.



It’s bad form to leave a concert at the Conservatory until the ovations have ended. But lines for picking up coats are long, and so many people choose to eschew etiquette. And many simply choose to rush to Sindbad — easily, the most popular place to go after a concert. It’s small, so the tables go quickly and you can’t make reservations. It’s also a great place to hang out, so tables turn slowly. The Lebanese cuisine is good, and a bargain.

Coffee Mania
13 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ul., Building 1 (M. Okhotny Ryad)
229-3901, 8am-1am

14 Nikitsky Bulvar (M. Pushkinskaya)
291-7115, noon-11:30pm

U Nikitskikh Vorot cafe
9 Kalashny Per. (M. Okhotny Ryad)

U Nikitskikh Vorot
23/9 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ul (M. Okhotny Ryad)
290-4883, noon-11pm

22/2 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ul., (around the corner on Khlynovsky Tupik) (M. Okhotny Ryad)
291-7503, noon–midnight.

Cafe Ryumochnaya
22/2 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ul. (M. Okhotny Ryad)
291-5474, 11am–8:30pm.

U Bashmachnika (“Bar”)
2/14 Bryusov Per. (M. Okhotny Ryad)
229-2759, noon–midnight.


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