Every time I've gone to St. Petersburg, I've been frustrated by how difficult it is to find good places to go out at night. It's one of those towns that you know has a cool scene. Russian-language reviews mention tantalizing items such as "the fashion of minimal techno and rowdy parties in teahouses on Nevsky. " But such things are almost entirely hidden from tourists. The following list includes a few places I've been myself, and a few that sound good from their listings on trusted Russian-language sources. As usual with things Russian, the websites/ phone answering is slim, and hopefuls will have to make do with optimism and an address. I plan to make it to St. Petersburg this summer, and will be able to make this entry more reliable, but in the meantime, this info will still be better than anything else online in English on the St. Petersburg nightlife scene. If you know to the contrary, please comment (below).
12 Sadovaya St, +7 812 925 40 o0
A cafe during the day and possibly a glamtrash bar at night. From the restaurant group that does Mari Vanna in NYC, London and Moscow, as well as many other cool, nouveau-tasteful places in St. Petersburg.
Chinese Pilot (Kitaiskii Lotchik)
7 Pestelya, +7 812 273 74 87
I'm assuming this is a St. Petersburg venture from the owners of Chinese Pilot in Moscow. The Moscow version, way back in the day, was opened by one of the managers of the original Krisis Genre and is still going strong as a music venue, cheap restaurant and late-night drinking venue with a young, bohemian clientele. St. Petersburg version looks to be cut from the same cloth.
39 Ligovsky Prospekt
Tiny and very cool DJ bar with chilled-out music and backgammon that recently appeared in a cellar under an art gallery. Also serves crispy waffles with condensed milk.
Small Ave. PS 54-56, Friday and Sat only
A big, splashy new venture by many pedigreed Petersburg nightlife folks. Techno music and a kitchen concept—cheap Chinese-inspired— that hopefully is better than it sounds. Translation of Afisha review here.
9 Belinkskovo; +7 904 551 00 25
Nice design, seems to be affiliated with an experimental theater and may have interesting cultural events.
Translation of Afisha review here.
53 Ligovsky Prospect
The first bar-club in the city, famously located in a squat and to this day a mix of students, local intelligentsia come for the concerts and exhibitions, and tourists. Divey with cheap food.
2a Voronedzhskaya; +7 812 764 43 55
Another very old, casual, underground club and music venue. Listing at the moment is for an acoustic jazz jam.
22-24 Fontanka Embankment, in the courtyard; +7 812 275 05 20
Russia's violence and homophobia makes any openly gay person or venture an act of resistance. I'm always both nervous and thrilled to see one, especially one with a great name like this. Papa Protif could be roughly translated into 'father is against it.' There maybe be a sexier play like there would be in english with 'daddy against,' or I may be stretching it.