If you can make it past the strict ‘face control’ and avoid a Bond villain in an ill-fitting suit from simply barking “нет” as you try to enter, Moscow has a fascinating bar scene featuring some contenders battling for, and achieving, recognition on the global stage.

Russians still look to their cocktail bars to be ‘destinations’ in their own right so plenty of this top five visited and reviewed by Alex from www.foxandbeagle.com also offer some top notch food in a surprising variety of styles.

Delicatessen drinkmemag.com drink me

Possibly the ultimate definition of hidden treasure (see also Chainaya), Delicatessen regularly challenges for honours in the world’s best bar competitions. Innovative and unique, they age their own whiskey, serve Manhattans from the barrel and boast 2013 Bacardi Global Legacy winner Elizaveta Evdokimova behind the bar.

The food is fantastic with flavoursome Asian/Russian fusion steaks, black pasta and offal all highly commendable. There’s no drinks menu, but with Liza and celebrated Moscow barman Slava Lankin behind the stick you can be sure you’re in safe hands.

Location: Sadovaya-Karetnaya ul., 20/2
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12pm – 12am; Sunday 12pm – 10pm
Price Range: $$
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Web | Contact

ChainayaChainaya drinkmemag.com drink me cocktail bars

If you thought Delicatessen was hard to find wait til you go looking for Chainaya. This former teahouse is hidden in an unassuming and unappealing back alley in the heart of Moscow’s Chinatown.

If you do manage to find it, you’re in for a treat. Roman Milostivy has created a homely and atmospheric bar with a focus on homemade infusions, shrubs and oriental spices and jams. The succinct cocktail list caters to a range of exotic flavours and the genuine Chinese food from the kitchen next door is exceptional.

Location: 1-ya Tverskaya-Yamaskaya ul., 29
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 6pm to late
Price Range: $$$
Connect: Facebook

Noor ElectroNoor Electro drinkmemag.com drink me

By day a bright and airy cafe and by night a lively club and bar, Noor is home to Marat Saddarov, member of Moscow’s celebrated Bartender Brotherhood, and easy to spot in his uniform red boilersuit.

The menu leans heavily on the classics, but these are prepared to an excellent standard, and the staff are attentive, welcoming and happy to help you explore off-menu.

Location: Tverskaya, 23
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday 3pm – 3am; Thursday – Sunday 12pm – 6pm
Price Range: $$
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Web | Contact

Time OutTime Out drinkmemag.com drink me

If you survive the creaking journey up thirteen floors in a dated Soviet lift (maximum capacity four persons) you’ll feel like you deserve a drink. Fortunately the doors will open and you will find yourself right in front of Alexander Kan’s Time Out Bar.

Occupying the top two floors of this former KGB office building, Time Out has exquisite views across the city so you can wave at the Kremlin while you sip your drink of choice from a menu sub-divided by time of day and featuring a range of boozy iced teas and champagne eye-openers.

Location: Hotel Peking (13th floor), Bolshaya Sadovaya ul., 5/1
Opening Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 5pm – 12am; Thursday 5pm – 2am; Friday and Saturday 5pm – 6am
Price Range: $$
Connect: Facebook | Web

Saxon & ParoleSaxon+Parole drinkmemag.com drink me

The Russia brother to the Bowery, Manhattan original, Saxon & Parole now offers American drinks and dining in the north-west of Moscow. The American country club vibe and racehorse theme has travelled well, and the menu featuring exotic tinctures and shrubs alongside the famous draft Manhattan will help you while away the hours between brunch and dinner.

Location: Spiridonievskiy Pereulok, 12/9
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 12pm – 12am; Saturday and Sunday 10am – 12am
Price Range:
Connect: Facebook | Web | Contact