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Jeruba's avatar

[Fiction question] What does a seedy bar in Moscow look like, and what's its name?

Asked by Jeruba (41907 points ) November 7th, 2009

Tonight I need a plausible but fictitious bar in the part of Moscow that tourists and decent folks don’t visit. Time: the present.

— What’s its name? A Russian translation (in Roman characters) of some suitable invented name, such as the Stone Boar or Blackbeard’s, would be nice.

— How about a couple of useful interior details and a glimpse of the clientele?

— What kind of music is playing?

— What is the street outside like, and what large visible structure is nearby?

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13 Answers

MacBean's avatar

I’m not sure if any of this will help at all, but here’s what I found:

- Bars in Moscow
Pubs in Moscow
Moscow beer restaurants
Moscow Pub Guide

Some of them have descriptions. Maybe you can use bits of information from those as a jumping off point?

KatawaGrey's avatar

There is no street. Outside is the end of an alley with a few garbage cans that are overflowing. It is the kind of bar that only the regular clientele go to. There are a few doors leading to dirty, dark apartments, the kind that only the very poor but very proud would rent.

Inside the bar, the only music comes from a man playing the violin in a corner. He is a younger man, perhaps the nephew of the owner. He is staying with his aunt and uncle during the summer. To earn his keep, he helps out at the bar. Tonight he plays the violin because he tripped outside the bar and hurt his leg.

The young man’s uncle is behind the bar. He is continually serving shots to a grubby looking middle-aged man with a few days worth of hair on his face. He is crying into his drink because he found his wife in bed with his brother. The bartender nods sagely every once in a while. He motions to his nephew to change the tune.

The young woman that works as a waitress is serving drinks to a couple of men in the corner. They ignore her when she sets the drinks down. She ignores them as well and turns to the violinist. She smiles at him and he drops his bow. The young woman turns and deposits her tray behind the bar. Sneaking a glance behind her, she sees the young man blushing and smiling as he bends down to pick up the bow.

gggritso's avatar

Name: Volga. It’s dark. The bar itself is small, mostly the room is filled with small, old wooden tables. The windows have a metal grating covering the outside. Old Russian rock is playing. The ceiling is low. There are rectangular pillars holding up the ceiling, they are painted in old, chipped blue paint. The bar is filled with scruffy looking, ragged, older men as well as equally ragged youths. The street outside is also dark, most of the streetlights are broken. The bar is in an old residential area. The houses all around are dilapidated apartment buildings. Dogs are barking.

Dog's avatar

I was hoping @gggristo (who has actually been to Russia) would chime in!

wildpotato's avatar

Chernoye Borodoye = “of black beard”. Kamen Kaban = “the stone boar”. Personally, I don’t love either of those… Hm. How about Ostanovka. It just means “the stopping place”.

Edit: I just thought of this and likes the sound of it: Chernogo Bolka, which means “the black wolf”.

Jeruba's avatar

Wow, great! What collaboration. How’s this?

While crowds of inebriated Russians ambled through a light snowfall in Red Square, awaiting the burst of celebratory fanfare that would mark the start of the year 2000, a solitary American hunkered over his whiskey in a bar known as Chernogo Bolka, “the Black Wolf,” in a part of town that was not on any tourist route. Few other than locals would find their way past the overflowing garbage cans to the entrance of the bar at the end of the alley between dark, looming tenements. As the fireworks exploded over the fabled onion domes of the heart of the city, lighting the sky for miles and casting a million sparkling reflections into the Moscow River, the lanky foreigner in the large white hat lurched to his feet and staggered out to the alley to take a piss.

gtreyger's avatar

Let me clean up the grammar just a little bit. Of Black Beard would be Chornoy Borody; the Stone Boar would be Kammenniy Kaban and The Black Wolf would be Cherniy Volk. I am partial to Ostanovka (Bus Stop). As someone who spent significant time in Moscow, I can tell you that there are no bars in places that are not on the tourist routes. Bars are there to cater to foreigners, who can afford to spend money. The locals drink at home or, if they are real alcoholics, right on the street.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmmm. Well, that kind of spoils my scene, @gtreyger. I don’t question the authority behind your comments, and I thank you for the grammar help. I may just take a liberty here. My whole NaNoWriMo story is so preposterous (with my inner editor on vacation) that a little license with Russian realism won’t do it any harm as long as my imaginary reader can buy it.

wildpotato's avatar

Take gtreyger’s word over mine; I’m just an extremely rusty Russian minor. Never been to Russia myself. He/she is absolutely spot on about the translation of “wolf” – I made a stupid mistake reading the B at the beginning of the word as a Roman letter rather than a Cyrillic one (the Cyrillic letter B = V). My Russian prof would kill me if he knew I was back to sounding out words like this.

aphilotus's avatar

I think the seediest of seedy bars don’t even have a name.

Dog's avatar

I think it had a name but the lettering on the sign is so pocked and faded it cannot be read.

Jeruba's avatar

I say “known as,” so it doesn’t have to have a sign.

I also have snowfall being lit up by red and blue neon letters in Cyrillic on a hotel sign. Would there be any neon signs?

While I’m at it, is there still animosity between the Russians and the Finns? And does anybody know if the government still supports Russian students at the Bolshoi academy?

@KatawaGrey, it sounds like you have a great start there on a story of your own.

lucifer's avatar

This is probably the the latest reply in the history of Fluther but here goes (to anybody who’s still out there) :P

The bar was as dirty as hell. The people there were even more so. A stench that could only be describes as sweat and whisky and grime, all rolled in one, wafted across the room, almost as if it were part of the ambiance. Suddenly, the door to the bar slammed open and a man, walked in. He was unlike any other man she had ever seen. He was astonishingly tall, with a shock of dirty blond hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed for weeks. In fact, he would have been right at home with the rest of the scum in the bar, except he wasn’t like the others. He had about him, an air of confidence that was completely out of place in the bar. The regular patrons were all dead and defeated men, long forgotten and trying to forget their lives and wallow in their miseries with liquor. He sat down a few seats away from, but otherwise completely ignored her. She watched as he ordered a drink and sat back to light a smoke. He took a puff and slowly exhaled the smoke, making ring like patterns in the air. She watched, mesmerized as each ring of smoke flitted through the air and then disappeared. She realized that she had been staring and quickly shifted her gaze back to the glass in her hands. The dim light cast a blurred reflection on the glass and she could see now that the man had put down his drink and was whispering intently to the bartender. The barman gave a curt nod and mentioned for the stranger to follow him.

How’s that ? :)

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