Friday, 22 August 2008

Review: Propaganda (Пропаганда)

Opening Hours: M-F 12pm-6am, S-S 3pm-6am
Democratic, Club, Bar
Feis Kontrol Rating:
Mild - 2/5
Bol. Zlatoustinskiy Per., 7
Lubyanka/Kitai Gorod
+7 (495) 624-5732

Venerable Propaganda (“Propka” to its fans) is an institution on the Moscow nightlife scene. Over 10 years old, included in every tourist guide ever printed, but still periodically raided, Propaganda is still packing a happening crowd. Geometria for some reason even puts its photo shoots from Propka in the “Underground” section of the website.

How this mediocre space a few blocks from the Lubyanka can still attract a cool (albeit not high-rolling) crowd after all these years is, like Garage, somewhat of a mystery, but Propka’s Thursday night parties are still the hottest tickets for a hip, studenty crowd looking for some adventurous electronica beats.

If you wander into Propaganda during the day or early evening, you might doubt how this mild mannered restaurant could provide anything more exciting than a case of gastro (just kidding, the food is cheap & decent). The crowd, a mix of students, expats, and tourists, are happily enjoying their meals, but after 11 most nights, the shutters come down, the music goes up, the tables are cleared, and drunk or experimental duvushki hit the dance floor.

The decor is basically basement bar- a lot of wood and exposed brick. Once through the entrance and the light but occasionally capricious Feis Kontrol (speak English and you should be fine), you wind your way into the main room where a central dining/dance floor is punctuated by pillars and surrounded by booths against the walls. A small but efficient bar serves patrons from one side, and twin staircases lead up to mezzanine hosting cosier tables and a balcony overlooking the floor.

The Propka party crowd are mostly younger students (many who speak English) who are into the music, and although a lot of hooking up gets done at Propaganda, many people really are here for the music. There are plenty of expats and tourists in the mix too, and by 1am the vibe is usually pretty drunk and happy. If you’re into that scene, Sunday nights gay parties are legendary, if you’re not, it might be a good night to avoid.

Propaganda will often be absolutely packed until late, although the bar next door is a decent flow-over venue if you need a break from the music or want a quieter chat to get to know a new friend.

Overall, Propka is a great place to come and party where you won’t have issues with Feis Kontrol, it won’t break the bank, and you can meet some attitude-free locals or just dance your ass off.

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