Red October Area
A few years ago, the site where the iconic red-brick Krasny Oktyabr’ (Red October) chocolate factory once operated was transformed into something quite unusual to Moscow – a bohemian island of art, fun and culture, comparable to hipster paradises like London’s Shoreditch area or New York’s East Village but with a twist of Moscow glamour. Well, the factory compound is still standing but what you find inside has little to do with the production of the trademark Alyonka chocolate. Chocolate production moved out in 2007 and an art-cluster of hip bars, trendy restaurants, contemporary galleries, happening clubs, clothing and bric-a-brac shops and other artsy joints moved in. We know that figuring out what is what (and where!) can be somewhat of a challenge at first so below is an overview of what is currently all the rage at Red October.
The most prominent arts & education establishment on Red October is the Strelka Institute . The five founders envisioned a “stock exchange for human capital, a place shaping a flow of creative energy” that would transform Russia’s physical and social environment and that is how the cradle of ideas that is Strelka came to be. To achieve its mission of generating knowledge and producing and realizing new ideas Strelka hosts open lectures, conferences and film screenings. Afterwards visitors are encouraged to visit the bar to talk and deliberate over a freshly brewed coffee and a croissant or a glass of fine wine accompanied by a freshly cooked delicacy.
If you’re into photography then head on over to the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography to see the most interesting retrospectives of international and Russian from the modern days all the way back to the early 20th centuries. In recent years The Lumiere Brothers Center has greatly widened its repertoire and now also hosts regular master classes from leading Russian photographers, workshops and other educational evenings, stages concerts of some great indie bands from Russia and the West, has indie movie and documentary screenings and boasts a very well-stocked store, where photography connoisseurs can find virtually anything to suit their needs. And if you really don’t need to be anywhere for a while, grab a seat in the snazzy little café & library and glance through some colorful photo albums over a cup of freshly brewed coffee or learn the basics of photography whilst sipping one of the exquisite sorts of teas. The more peckish visitors will be pleased by the selection of freshly baked pastries, salads, sandwiches and soups.
Doing all this cultural stuff is definitely enough to build up an appetite. Luckily, there is no shortage of eateries of all different sorts – and prices - at Red October
For those who prefer a slightly more upscale Italian eatery Bontempi will be the perfect place to have a pleasant business lunch or a romantic dinner. Set right by the embankment, the restaurant offers a lovely view of the river and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In the summers guests can also enjoy their meals on the spacious outdoor terrace. The quality of the food is ensured by the restaurant’s head chef, Valentino Bontempi, who is dedicated to bringing Moscow the finest of what Italian cuisine has to offer. Il Signore Bontempi has created a very purposeful and particular menu - with no compromises or sushi. What the restaurant lacks in the pizza department it makes up in the richness of the variety of starters, salads, risottos and pastas, fish and seafood and meats. Apart from the normal menu, guests can also choose from specials that change on a daily basis as well as great deals in the form of business lunches on weekdays.
Another must for foodies at Red October is restaurant and lounge Reka. This stylish and trendy place has an unparalleled view over the Moscow River and features the best of European and Japanese cuisines created by award-winning chef Michel Lombardi who’s got more than a few years of experience at top restaurants in London, Milan and Toronto. The interior, designed by Vincezno Casini (who was in charge of the décor for Prada stores worldwide), is elegant to the finest detail while remaining cozy and unpretentious. The menu boasts imagination and integrity and the finest traditions of home cooking with a modern twist. Ingredients are fresh and always prepared to order. Don’t miss out on house specialties like pan seared pistachio crusted red mullet and quall stuffed with mushrooms in truffle sauce. The house sommelier will delight the most discerning guests with a very comprehensive selection to complement any dish on the menu. Reka is perfect for a relaxing evening at the bar and lounge (and in the summers on the terrace), a sumptuous meal or a karaoke night.
Spread over two floors, Wunderbar has earned a top-notch reputation - despite its very recent opening - as a cozy and intimate bar where no one’s a stranger and all guests are friends. The first floor, with its light-up bar and a stage for live performances and DJ gigs, makes for off the hook parties on weekends and the second floor offers an oasis of calm for those who just want to chat. Not only Fridays and Saturdays are eventful, though. During the week it operates as a DJ bar and when there’s a game on be sure to come down and root for your team. Drinks are exceptionally yum and the food is definitely of the mouth-watering type!
Red October is definitely the place to be! We hope that this guide helps you figure what to see and where to eat and drink!