BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Metro Club – 174 Ligovskiy Prospekt; 011-7-812-766-0211; tri-level.
●Radiobaby – 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa; radiobaby.com; hidden in courtyard with no sign at street.
●Takao – 106 Nevsky Prospekt; 011-7-963-246-0830; takao.spb.ru; older club/sushi joint (and it shows); between 12-5 pm, over 20 rolls are on offer.
●Antique Hotel Rachmaninov – 5 Kazanskaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-571-7618; hotelrachmaninov.com; 25 rooms; operated by photographer-turned-hotelier Oksana Kurenbina; just off Nevsky Prospekt; artsy.
●Casa Leto B&B – 34 Bolshaya Moskaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-600-1096; casaleto.com; near Hermitage; 5-rooms; Italian, residential-style; friendliest staff in town.
●Grand Hotel Europe – 1/7 Mikhaylovskaya Ulitsa (Nevsky Prospekt); 011-7-812-329-6000; grandhoteleurope.com; everyone stays here; ask for 1 of 17 “terrace” rooms; 1875 landmark overlooking Mikhailovsky Palace; famous art nouveau lobby bar (once frequented by Dostoevsky).
●Hotel Astoria – 39 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-494-5770; thehotelastoria.com; revered for contemporary styling and cosseting service; 1 of city’s finest restaurants, Davidov.
●Renaissance Baltic Hotel – 4 Pochtamtskaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-380-4000; Marriott.com.
●Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge – 2-4 Birzhevoy Pereulok (Vasilevsky Island); 011-7-812-335-2200; sokoshotels.fi; nautical themed.
●Taleon Imperial – 59 Naberezhnaya Reki Moyki; 011-7-812-334-1660; eliseevpalacehotel.com; club hotel located in fully-restored, Czarist-era palace.
●W St. Petersburg – 6 Voznesensky Prospekt; 011-7-812-610-6161 or 877-946-8357; whotels.com; 137 modern rooms with floor to ceiling windows in 19th Century building.
●Botanika – 7 Pestelya Ulitsa (near Mukhinskoye Arts Institute); 011-7-812-272-7091; cafebotanika.ru; vegetarian.
●Cat – 24 Karavannaya Ulitska (Nevsky Prospect); 011-7-812-315-3800; cat-restoran.ru.
●Davidov – 39 Bolshaya Morskaya Street (in Rocco Forte’s Hotel Astoria); 011-7-812-494-5770; thehotelastoria.com.
●L’Europe – 1/7 Mikhaylovskaya Ulitsa (Nevsky Prospekt, in Grand Hotel Europe); 011-7-812-329-6000; grandhoteleurope.com; famous for chocolates.
●Flying Dutchman – 697 Mitnenskaya Naberezhnaya; 011-7-812-336-3737; most eccentric among overpriced ship-restaurants along Neva River’s north; has 24-hour fitness center among its amenities so you can burn off your dinner, and beauty salon to clean you up afterward; top-floor restaurant, dance club downstairs, and gym have floor-to-ceiling windows with views over Peter and Paul Fortress, river, and Hermitage; no official dress code, hosts may snub you in favor of better-dressed customers; mostly you’re paying for location and atmosphere, not food.
●Idiot – 82 Moika Canal; 011-7-812-315-1675; 4 rooms crammed with antique furniture, oil paintings, etc.; vegetarian.
●Khutor Vodogray – 2 Karavannaya Ulica; 011-7-812-570-5737; handsome restaurant suggesting Ukrainian cottage.
●Lemonade – 9 Belinskogo Ulitsa; a-a-ah.com/belinskogo9; funky cafe on rooftop; bartenders (in evening), blankets, and boardgames; juice during day.
●Lujaika – 16 Aptekarsky; 011-7-812-324-7094; means “lawn” in Russian; pet rabbits roam grounds; Asian fusion.
●Nobleman’s Nest (Dvoryanskoye Gnezdo) – 21 Dekabristov Ulitsa (Admiralteisky, in Yusupov Palace); 011-7-812-312-0911; dvgnezdo.ru/eng; elegant; known for being place where Rasputin “met his fate”; jacket, tie, and reservations required; 2 set menus: “Turgenev” is very Russian; “Nobleman” more French; try venison fillet or baked pheasant.
●Probka – 5 Belinskogo Ulitsa; 011-7-812-273-4904; probka.org; Italian; romantic, small winebar.
●Rada & K – 36 Gorokhovaya Ulitsa (at Sadovaya Metro Station); 011-7-812-385-12-26; Western European and Indian foods with vegan options; fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, yeast-free bread, bakery, and more.
●Terrassa – 3 Kazanskaya; 011-7-812-937-6837; terassa.ru; glass-walled; next to Kazan Cathedral; Italian, Russian, and Thai food.
●Volga-Volga – Petrovskaya Naberezhnaya, Dock 1 (opposite building 8, near Avrora cruiser); 011-7-812-900-8338; ginza-volga.ru; riverboat restaurant.
●Borey Art Center – 58 Liteyny Prospekt; 011-7-812-275-3837; borey.ru/en; bookshop among best in town for books on art and architecture.
●Generator Nastroenia – 7 Karavannaya Ulica; 011-7-812-314-5351; generator-nastroenia.ru; embossed leather journals.
●Loft Project Etagi – 74 Ligovsky Prospekt; 011-7-812-458-5005; loftprojectetagi.ru; accessed by hidden stairwell that leads to 3 galleries; arts-oriented bookstore, and 4 exhibit spaces.
●Lyyk Design Market – 74 Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboyedova; 011-7-812-939-6051; lyyk.ru; in hidden courtyard; avant garde Russia fashion designers’ works.
●LowFat Studio – 17 Vilensky Pereulok; 011-7-812-579-2639; lowfatwear.com; open-door showroom, workshop, studio boutique; eco-friendly fashion.
●Nevsky Prospekt – city’s version of Champs-Elysees.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Borey Art Center – 58 Liteyny Prospekt; 011-7-812-275-3837; borey.ru/en; never dull moment at this underground (in both senses of word) art gallery; in front room, fairly mainstream stuff; back rooms always house creative and cutting-edge exhibitions by local artists.
●Catherine Palace – 7 Sadovaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-466-6669; eng.tzar.ru/; dazzling, Baroque mansion draped in powder-blue and gold; noted for mirrored Great Hall and newly-restored “Amber Room.”
●Church of Savior on Spilled Blood – 2b Naberezhnaya Kanala Gribboyedova; 011-7-812-315-1636; eng.cathedral.ru/saviour; among city’s main sights; also variously called Church on Spilt Blood and Cathedral of Resurrection of Christ; built on site where Tsar Alexander II assassinated and dedicated to his memory; notable for its onion domes.
●Concert Hall at Mariinsky Theatre – 37 Dekabristov Ulitsa; 011-7-812-326-4141; mariinsky.ru.
●Drunk Bridge – bridge from which assassins threw still-living Rasputin.
●Finland Station – 6 Plaza Lenina; where Lenin finally arrived in 1917 after 17 years in exile abroad; here, in square where his statue now stands, he gave his legendary speech from armored car to crowd who had only heard of but never seen him; after fleeing 2nd time, arrived here from Finland, this time disguised as railway fireman & locomotive he rode in is displayed on platform; not really same station as rebuilt in 1970s in drabbest possible Soviet style.
●Erarta – 2 29th Line (Vasilyevsky Island); 011-7-812-324-0809; erasta.com; museum re new Russian arts.
●Hermitage – 34 Dvortsovaya Naberejnaya; 011-7-812-710-9644; hermitagemuseum.org; Czars’ former residence (Winter Palace); 1,050 rooms; Czars’ private art collection; by special request permission, can see “Gold Room,” ancient gold works and Czars’ jewels; also by special request, can see “Art Restoration & Storage Center of State Hermitage” (climate controlled words that house medieval tapestries, works seized by Nazis, still in original, German-labeled crates, war tent given by Ottoman sultan to Empress Catherine II, and magnificent horse-drawn carriage collection); try to use smart phone app when visiting; note, see Caravaggio’s Lute Player (1596).
●Islands – Dekabristov, Krestovsky, Petrogradsky, and Vasilyevsky Islands; 4 drawbridges across Neva River connect city’s northern and southern parts; 342 smaller bridges, built over 4 centuries, cross city’s canals and tributaries.
●Kazan Cathedral – 2 Kazanskaya Place; 011-7-812-571-4826; kazansky.ru; modeled after St. Peter’s.
●Kunst Chamber – 3 University Embankment (Vasilyevsky Island); 011-7-812-328-1412; kunstkamera.ru/en; Peter Great’s sort-of Believe-It-Or-Not museum, with 2-headed fetuses, etc.
●Mariinsky Theater (formerly Kirov Ballet and Opera) – 1 Teatral’naya Ploshchad; 011-7-812-114-1211; mariinsky.ru.
●Museum of Hygiene – 25 Italianskaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-595-8908; russianmuseums.info/M233; concept dreamt up in 1877 after success of Russian exhibit in Brussels at congress entitled “On Issues of Hygiene & Avoidance of Danger”; not until 1919 that project implemented to educate populace on matters of health and personal hygiene; among exhibits are models, pictures, and waxworks devoted to themes such as bad habits, human anatomy, and infectious diseases; display about STDs particularly grizzly; not least among bizarre attractions is chance to see Pavlov’s dog (original, stuffed, naturally); museum housed in former Counts Shuvalov Palace, built by Chevakinskiy in 1755.
●New Holland Island – where Admiralty & Kryukov Canals connect Moika and Neva Rivers; artificial island, long closed while city authorities decided its reconstruction’s fate; most of its architectural ensemble built between 1765-1780; buildings used for marine prison, military units, and warehouses; current reoconstruction project due to be complete in 2017.
●Novy Museum – 6 29th Line (Vasilyevsky Island); 011-7-812-323-5090; novymuseum.ru; modern art.
●100 Svoih – 39 Ligovsky Prospekt; 011-7-812-719-9517; 100svoih.ru; art gallery.
●Palace Square – city’s central square; 1917 October Revolution’s setting; Alexander Column.
●Peter & Paul Fortress – 3 Petropavlovsk Krepost (Zayachii Ostrov (Island) across St. John’s Bridge from Trinity Square); 011-7-812-230-6431; spbmuseum.ru/peterpaul; in front of Kronverkskaya Naberezhnaya, Zayachii Ostrov Street; built to protect against Swedish invasion; considered city’s birthplace.
●Peterhof – 2 Razvodnaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-427-9527; saint-petersburg.com/peterhof; get there by hydrofoil; Peter Great’s elegant palace; known as Russian Versailles; famed for elaborate fountain system and gardens.
●Rosphoto – 35 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa; 011-7-812-314-1214; rosphoto.org; art gallery.
●Royal Beach Club – Krestovsky Island; beautiful, forested park.
●Rubenstein Street – trendy boulevard.
●Russian Orthodox Church of Spilled Blood – 2a Kanal Griboyedova; 011-7-812-315-1636; built on site of Alexander II’s assassination; 81K square feet of mosaics.
●St. Isaac’s Cathedral – 1 Isaakievskaya Square; 011-7-812-315-9732; world’s 3rd largest domed cathedral; holds 14K worshippers at 1 time.
●Smolny Cathedral and Convent – 3-1 Ploshchad Rastrelli; 011-7-812-271-9182; saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/smolny-cathedral.asp.
●Summer Garden – occupies island between Fontanka, Moika, and Swan Canals (reached by leaving Nevsky Prospekt near Gostinny Dvor and turning north up Sadovaya Street, then, after passing Mikhailovsky (Engineer’s) Castle, where comes into view on right); nevsky-prospekt.com/summer.html; shares name with adjacent Summer Palace of Peter Great.
●Trinity Cathedral – 7 Izmailovskiy Prospekt; 011-7-812-251-8765; saint-petersburg.com/cathedrals/Trinity-Cathedral.asp; dome recently restored (destroyed by fire in 2006).
●Udelnaya Flea Market – Vyborgsky (Vyborg Side); antique-lovers and 2nd-hand scavengers thrill to this vast, informal flea market, where neat piles of cast-offs hide treasures; best visited at weekend.
●White Nights Festival – May to July.
●Winter Palace – 34 Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya Street; 011-7-812-710-9664; hermitagemuseum.org.
●Zoological Museum of St. Petersburg – 1 Universitetskaya Nabereshnaya; 011-7-812-328-0112; zin.ru/museum; taxidermy; make sure to see mammoths.