On the seafront on Vasilevsky Island, Machty is well-known for hosting gigs and the epic after-party of the 2017 Present Perfect Festival. But it has recently made a comeback as part of Sevkabel Port, a vibrant creative cluster rejuvenating the industrial corner of the city’s harbour. Set a few kilometres from St Petersburg’s main thoroughfares, the bar’s remote location might be the best reason to visit: no neighbours to mind as the party gets wilder after midnight and a trustworthy crowd (few make it here by chance). You can also hear TESTFM, a cool local community nurturing live DJ sessions from their secret garage, or the almost theatrical performances by cloud pop band Fog Star. It is well worth trekking to the edge of the city for Machty.
This two-room neon-red establishment set-up by the team behind St Petersburg’s best infusion bar, Brimborium, has added a carefree, whimsical vibe to the thriving Berthold Centre. Next to Laboratorio Distillita bar and a handful of hip cafes and shops, Yus Yus encapsulates everything you love about house parties. The crowd is relaxed and scattered between a more intimate bar and a dance floor with a DJ, who might have taken the 1990s revival a bit too seriously.
This decadently hip bar, which also functions as a hairdresser, is a perfect stopover for those strolling along the Griboyedov canal late at night. There is always some tinsel on the walls at Pif Paf and the expectant bar stalls suggest a party is about to start. Think tiny, high tables bending under the weight of the drinks and people weaving between the bar, the tables and the tiny space in between generously known as the dance floor. Drinkers and dancers are blessed by a tattoo-style Virgin Mary on the wall, who blinks in the lights of the disco ball. Go for a set of their signature vodka infusions or opt for a Bloody Mary, which are particularly recommended.
The temperature in St Petersburg may drop well below zero at night, but Union’s boisterous crowd can always be found outside. Look for groups smoking on the street in oversize down jackets and socks with Cyrillic words over FILA boots as you’re walking along Liteiny Prospekt. Inside, Union’s dimly lit and spacious interiors have enough room for everything. The mystic sounds of Disco Halal, fem-punk performances, acoustic concerts, experimental psychedelic sounds, rigorous rock or club nights by Esthetic Joys, the Moscow-based community behind Bosco Fresh Fest. Check the calendar to see what’s on tonight.
The alluring Tantsploshadka is nestled in one of the back corners of Konyushka, an old-time St Petersburg nightlife cluster. Each weekend, Caribbean disco and upbeat electronica fill the dance floor under its curved roof of exposed brickwork. The “Youth forgives everything” motto, which flickers in neon next to the stage, helps to keep the dancers going until the soles of their feet are numb, and they’re dropping from exhaustion. During the summer month, partygoers greet the sunrise in the courtyard, either lounging on the outdoor furniture or shooting hoops in the improvised basketball court.
For more hard-to-find spots in St Petersburg and other Russia cities download our New East Travel Guide app. For recommendation on where to stay in Russia and beyond, check out our edit of amazing hotels and hostels across the New East.