I actually walked past this establishment several times. Unlike many of its newer competitors, the Metro is an old and favourite 'haunt' of ex-pats. In fact its a gothic pre-Soviet heirloom of a place that was recently renovated, so I read. Your open a heavy wooden door in to a dimly lit cavernous interior. There are massive interior columns across what was once probably an assembly hall. The bar runs the length of one side of the building and has many screens and TV's for sports. Then I noticed the big fans over the bar. They were actual airplane propellers! Pretty wild.
Service (you pay 10% for) had to be summoned with a friendly wave of the hand. Its a big place and they were nice enough. The menu was very pizza and Mexican food oriented. To be fair - its the kind of food you do want in a bar. They also had several pool tables if watching live sports on TV isn't eneough.
The Metro was known as 'The America Bar' over 10 years ago, buts its still a hangout to find Americans, Brits and a few local women willing to hang out in a bar. They have mostly imported beers and the only 'local' one they have on draft is Baltica (Russia isn't that close). Like many 'pubs' in Bishkek they aren't open that late on weekdays. You can also telephone in for takeaway orders. Their new phone number is on this tip!
The other interesting thing about The Metro is their 'Book Shop'. Somewhere they have a case of brand new English language books priced around $5 more than whatever the cover price is. Apparently they sell quite a few books.
So if you want to do it Ex-pat style in Bishkek - you found your new home.
Service charge - 10%
We spent a week in Bishkek in Autumn 2009, going out drinking almost every night. There is an English language magazine that we found very useful and guided us to inumm,erable bars, restaurants and clubs (they have a website at http://www.thespektator.co.uk). Our favourite CLubs were:
The Golden Bull - always busy, beer for about 2 dollars, friendly security, foreigner friendly, watch out for the taxis outside....get the barman to order you one. Free
Heaven - Much quieter than the GB but a good place for a quieter night out. Good bar to sit at and watch the ladies on the dance floor. about 7USD cover.
Retro Metro - A friend told us this place could get a little violent from time to time, but we had two safe evenings here. Lots of people on the dancefloor and busy until 3am on midweek days! They say they have an 80s theme but to me the music was much more contemporary, maybe we were there ont he wrong nights. About 10US cover.
Well, there are more than a few clubs where you can party till the wee hours, but this one of my favs. It's smaller than some of the others, so you walk around and mingle better. Drinks are pretty cheap by American standards. But do as the locals do, drink vodka...straight up.
Dress Code: The more American you look, the better off you are. But they don't have a dress code per se, I've worn t-shirts to D&G, they don't care...really.
The American Pub is a nice place, with friendly, english-speaking staff. The Pizza here is the best in town, if not Central Asia. Maybe best suited for larger groups, since the place has mostly large tables, but you could allways sit by the bar.
Dress Code: Informal/casual.
Zeppelin is a good kilometre or two away from the TSUM-area, on Chuy prosp. It is a rock-bar, serving cheap beer and booze. I was here only once, my last night in Bishkek, and regretted thad I hadnt checked it out earlier. They showed some 70`s rock-videos on a big-screen, and i seem to recall a pool-table there! I think they have live-music there a couple of times a week, and if you like rock music and cheap alcohol you should check Zepelin out. This is a place where you will meet locals and not expats/tourists, mainly a young (20 yrs+-) clientele. You should take a taxi out here, since the neighborhood is not all about peace and love!
Dress Code: Its a hard-rock bar, for christs sake!
2x2 is a classy hangout for expats and local upper-class, with a cosmopolitan feel to it. It is a bar with a relaxed atmosphere, serving drinks and imported beer. Also a variety of coffee-drinks I believe. Expensive!
Dress Code: T-shirts and jeans were allowed, but it wouldnt harm to dress a little more smart I guess.
We went on a "pub crawl." It was fun!! Their clubs are very 'hip.' Most are decorated like they never left disco behind, while others are still stuck in the 80's. This is fine with me, because they were very clean. The men act very nice, and the women act stuck up. They were nice; it's just a little bit of bitterness left over from the dissolution of the USSR. (Russia left them very poor, and they had been fighting for independence for decades.) The music is a mix of 70's, 80's, and new releases. They are very current on entertainment culture.
Dress Code: Dress fashionably and you'll be fine. Just visit some of the clothing stores the day before to get an idea of how to blend in.
went to a few; however, the foreign style dance bars (Discotheques there) are extremely expensive and run by the Russian mob so expected to pay through the nose. The russian style ones are low key; however, the prices are much cheaper, you just have to be cautious about the food and the possibility of watered down drinks. -- You pay your money and take your chances.
Dress Code: Foreign style mostly semi formal russian style semi formal to relaxed (european relaxed not american relaxed).