Vtoroye Dykhaniye (Second Breath)

Alexander Zelikov/TASS

Vtoroye Dykhaniye is a bar of a rare kind in our days, and it was once a legendary spot – in this semi-basement, with its green peak over the doorway, the windows were always steamed up, and the sandwiches with smoked sausage and sprats were always served the same way as in Russian theaters. Society's outsiders and unashamed Soviet drunkards would assemble, all of them straight from the pages of writer Venedikt Yerofeyev's works. Then the bar was shut down for repairs, and came back to us much refreshed: it is all spic and span now, but the spirit of the days of old lives on.

A hundred grams of vodka still costs a hundred rubles, and it is the custom here to wash it down with beer, the pepper brandy should be drunk with herring on black bread and with sprats. Nowadays it is as popular with curious foreign tourists as it is with the regular local crowd.