The grimy communist days are over: St Pet bustles with bars and clubs nowadays. There are plenty of nice bars around town. You'll meet many foreigners, as well as wealthy locals in places like Marstall, Tribunal Bar or the English/Irish pubs. Cafe Antwerpen (picture) is good for beers early in the evening.
Going to some of the places where foreigners hang out, gives you an idea of the new Russia: people with lots of cash, wearing designer outfits. It may not always be honestly earned, but if you're having a good time with each other, to be honest, no-one really cares...
Dress Code: Dress up neatly, Russians love showing off so overdressing isn't one of your main concerns here. Naturally cafés and bars are less strict in their dress codes.
A very popular DJ bar/cafe for local scenesters as well as 20something tourists and ex-pats located on the most central intersection (Nevsky prospekt and Fontanka) with very reasonable prices. During the daytime, it is more of a cafe (with free wi-fi!), where one can relax, read and/or chat and enjoy a selection of very good sandwiches and fresh salads. In fact, it's one of the few places that serves in line with the Western understanding of "salad" - a huge bowl of fresh greens with a choice of other fresh delicious ingredients to add, rather than the traditional Russian understanding of salad which is usually a lot of mayonnaise with other ingredients and often without any greens at all. There are two spaces - the entrance space is the "club" side, generally the rowdier side and the perfect place to get boozed up and drunkenly dance the night away, and the second space is more relaxed, more brightly lit, non-smoking, and a comfortable place to grab a bite to eat (even at 4am!) and sit and chat with your friends without shouting over the music from the entrance space. At night there is usually an excellent DJ playing (even on weeknights!) whatever hipsters are listening to these days (rather than typical Russian clubs that only play worn-out house and 90s pop) and the bar can get very crowded on weekend nights. Try one of the dozens of specialty shots to get your night started in the right spirit...or to end your night, if you're on a bender.
Dress Code: casual
Located behind the 4-star Pribaltiskaya Hotel is an open entertainment area comprising bars, cafes and restaurants. During the long summer White Nights, the St Petersburgers hang out at the bars late into the night. I was staying at the Pribaltiskaya Hotel so I walked to the Baltica Cafe on the Gulf of Finland.
Most of the locals are drinking Russian beer. Although the menu is in Russian and English, the serving staff do not speak much English but you can get by with pointing at the brand of beer you want. A 0.33L cup of Baltica beer costs 60 roubles.
Dress Code: Casual
Nice laid back and well designed British themed bar. Popular with expats and busniess people. It does a good business lunch and also has a good restaurant in the back with a good menu selection, everything from salads to burgers and steaks.
A large selction of beers including some imports from the UK but at a prise to match. Nice atmosphere and can get quiet busy at night although most of the time is near empty.
Dress Code: No dress code that im aware of although the majority of people in here were business people.
A Beatles theme cafe pub with the name Liverpool, home of the fab four Beatles. Three seating areas, some billiards and classic rock of the era. Business lunch under 200 rubles.
The Beatles always had a strong following in Russia and their songs are regulars on popular radio today.
Продукты: Cafe-bar "Produkty" (Russian for "groceries", don't bother trying to google this bar) was opened in the fall of 2011 by Lisa Izvozchikova, a St. Petersburg-born designer and best known as the former bosslady of another very popular DJ cafe-bar "Stirka" on Kazanskaya ulitsa. The space is modest in size, but being one of the rare cafe-bars in St. Petersburg located above basement-level, boasts views of the Fontanka and features local DJs as well as more "amateur" music lovers spinning their favorite tunes, sipping cocktails and occasionally dancing and even singing along if the mood strikes them. "Produkty" features a carefully thought-out range of alcohol - all the makigs of any classic cocktail as well as a delicious and dry cider "St. Anton", grog, milkshakes with berries, a homemade hot ginger tea, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice. The food is mainly vegetarian, and the offerings include couscous and sandwiches. The design concept of the bar was conceived by the proprietor, who is also a designer. All the furniture was brought from Berlin: the leatherette-upholstered bar, massive leather armchairs, round bar stools from the 1970s, chairs taken from GDR kindergartens and schools, typewriters and a Wurlitzer jukebox that only accepts Deutschmark (don't worry! you can buy the necessary Deutschmark tokens at the bar). It has been written that Produkty is a bar straight out of the GDR, but this is hard to confirm, since there were no bars in the GDR. In any case, the classic hipster-reference to East Germany is not completely lost when it comes to describing the style and clientele of Produkty. Produkty also features a working piano, which was donated by beloved St. Petersburg film critic and heartthrob, Stanislav Zelvensky.
Dress Code: hipster casual
One of the nicer British pubs, with a patio outside in summer and a tightly packed seating area inside.
Many beers on draft and dark wood decor give it an authentic pub feeling.
It is noisy inside and expect conversations to be held at a full roar.
Full menu includes Fish and Chips and all a bit upscale in price.
Restaurant upstairs and said to serve a good breakfast.
Opened in 1999 by Igor Rusu, his 2nd, the first was opened inrioga, Latvia.
Dress Code: Casual
Small, cozy coffee shop with cakes and sweets for sale as well. Nice prices for a quite spot away from the bustle of the big city.
Dress Code: Casual, but not tourist casual. Jeans during the day, but night-time is the time to show you have a little more class.
They have Russian specialties such as blini and pelmeni, but it's known as a meeting place where you can play chess, read a book or talk with other tourists.
TIP :Try the local vodka's !!!
Dress Code: Casual.
The bars downtown are amazing - fashionale, classy and full of young Russian jet-setters and, obviously, tourists;)
Dress Code: Dress chic and yet relaxed. People in Sct. Petersburg are rather fashioanable. At least those who can afford it, and most seem like that!
Discoverd this on our way into central Pieter. Thought we would drop in for a quick drink. We never got any further. A great night out. Fantastic atmosphere, People from all around the world all drinking and chatting and eating. The staff here also spoke and understood english, (Given the advanced state that we reached, that was most definately a plus point). The food is of epic size and very tasty and the service is prompt. Look You have to go there. Its directly opposite Mariinsky Theatre. Oh they also serve a full English Breakfast.
They open from 0900 - 0200.
I had hoped to have a photo but was never able to take one :-)
Dress Code: Hey dress nice.
Somewhere is a Blue chinese shirt my mate left there as he was to bladdered to remember to put it back on. So of course We really have to go back.:-)
Not sure if you can eat there but this place was happin'. Across from Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center. Younger crowd with a lot of expats. Super crowded and cheap drinks.
Dress Code: Whatever you want to wear.
Sunduk is a unique restaurant with live music. Good food and interesting decor of antiques, art pieces and unusual toilets.
Dress Code: Come as you are, bring your wallet :)
Basement restaurant at the corner of your local neighbourhood street.
It's a great way to meet the local people in an informal setting.
Dress Code: Tidy casuals.