Wine rooms and wine bars

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With its shapely decanters, neat tables and library bookshelves covered with wine bottles instead of books, Brix aims to create a simple, cozy atmosphere. The prices here are moderate, and visitors can buy wine to take away. Most, however, prefer to stay and drink their choice of red or white on the premises whilst enjoying some snacks from the interesting menu. On offer are Parma ham with mozzarella and persimmon (not your usual melon and pear!), hummus with tuna and unusual versions of Russia's Olivier salad and salmon tartare. For those who prefer more traditional combinations, Brix also turns up trumps. White wine lovers can order standard snack sets including roasted peppers with feta cheese, nuts, ricotta with tobiko, chorizo, salmon with Arla Buko cheese, roasted beets with chilli, and olives. For those who prefer red, Brix has Kalyari sausage, Parma ham, Cheddar cheese, smoked suluguni cheese, olives, artichokes, baba ganoush aubergines and dates.
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The Vinny Rynok chain was originally based around the following idea: sommeliers were to gather, discuss wines, taste them blind, picking the best and putting them in a special cupboard behind the bar, so visitors could then purchase these wines. The cupboard was also to hold such treasures as reduced bottles, samples and leftovers from the warehouse. The project was a resounding success: visitors bought all they could, knowing that the wines could be trusted to be among the best. Aged Riojas, 1958 vintage Madeiras – it was all good, and the bar's experts will always vouch for any of the 200 or so wines and spirits on sale.

To accompany the wine, Vinny Rynok offers a small one-page menu including a whole array of bruschettas, two or three salads, Parma ham with pear, several pates, Burgundy snails, tiramisu and profiteroles.

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Its walls lined with cupboards of bottles, Grand Cru boasts a modest-sized lunch hall, comfortable sofas and Enomatic wine dispensers: everything necessary to set the right, tasteful tone in a quality wine bar. The wine lists are well-balanced, offering good classic vintage wines as well as bottles from small independent and revolutionary winemakers.

Not all the bars of this chain offer food, so make sure to pick your spot with care. In those that do, the snacks are in the capable hands of molecular gastronomy guru Adrian Quetglas. Visitors can enjoy pelmeni dumplings with squid, carbonara-style; kidneys in sherry with celery Parmentier; a vegetable salad with Smetana sour cream cloud, and rabbit linguini with marjoram pesto and chargrilled peppers. For those yearning to learn about wine culture, Grand Cru holds educational wine-tasting seminars.

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In 2015, Wine Religion received the prestigious Wine Spectator magazine's Excellence Award, and this is hardly surprising. The bar's wine list boasts over 400 wines, of which 25 are sold by the glass. Every three months, the wines sold by the glass change. Wine is certainly the main focus here, with the food menu adapting to complement the drink.

The meat delicacies, cheese plates and antipasti (olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and baked peppers) can be shared by big groups, with smaller or larger options available. Guests can also order from the compact, yet satisfying main menu, the stars of which are the pumpkin risotto with caramelized persimmon and duck breast, Far Eastern scallops with truffle cream, avocado and prawn bruschetta and the seafood ceviche.

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A small but enthusiastically run wine bar chain, I Like Wine boasts a new menu every week. In the run-up to Christmas, visitors can sample pelmeni dumplings with goose and spicy cabbage, while the seasonal Black Sea mussels go wonderfully with the white wines. A range of other accompaniments such as olives and sun-dried tomatoes is always available. The bar offers wine tastings with lectures on wine-making, and party extravaganzas like Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Do not forget, however, that the young Beaujolais is a treacherous wine which can leave a horrible hangover – better to put your name down for the hair of the dog party the next day, as well. For those who need a little help recovering, the Double B café next door offers a wide array of strong coffees. In summer, I Like Wine spills outdoors, with improvised tables in the shape of heavy wine barrels.

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Nude claims to be a "coffee and wine" bar: morning visitors can enjoy a wide variety of coffees, later gradually turning to the wine list. The coffees on offer range from AeroPress, pour over coffee, Hario and flat white to the sweet Moscow specialty raf with corn, sesame or black pepper.

Nude also does excellent all day breakfast. Try their omelettes with sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes; frisee salad with white balsamic vinegar, fried orange, grapes and burrata; roast beef with roasted vegetables; prawns with rice pudding; oatmeal with stewed apple; blueberry cream pancakes and eggs Benedict. The wine list is short, yet pleasing, with Old World and New World wines represented. Besides coffee and wine, visitors may sample the pleasant blueberry lemonade, pear and sesame tea, or the yerba mate.

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Besides billing itself as a small chain of vinotheques, Prostye Veschi also calls its branches gastropubs, thus announcing that the dishes served alongside its wines and beers are no standard fare, but tasty, original cuisine. On offer are Jerusalem artichoke cream soup, mackerel soufflé with crackers, shoulder of lamp with morels, and Black Sea plaice with zucchini paste.

The side dishes can be ordered by themselves, too: the marrow pancakes, for instance, are easily filling enough for a main course. Visitors should also go to the Prostye Veschi wine school, the schedule of which can be found on the chain's website. Here, pupils can learn to tell their Sangiovese from their Malbec, taste rare wines such as Viognier, and learn about elementary wine culture: how to drink wine, and what with.