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Chainaya. Tea & Cocktails

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1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya d.29 str.1, Moscow, Russia

THERE ARE TWO CHINATOWNS IN MOSCOW - the one that doesn’t have any Chinese in it (it’s a long story) and the one that does have Chinese people but isn’t allowed to be called Chinatown.

Here at W50BB we’re not so interested in the rights and wrongs of mono-ethnic districts, but to find Chainaya - probably the coolest little cocktail den in Moscow - you need to know where you’re headed. Chainaya is to be found in the latter Chinatown - the one with the Chinese people.

Converted from a teahouse, Chainaya lies beneath a Chinese restaurant that speaks of the speakeasies that once gave refuge to New York’s drinking insurgents, albeit with a Chinese-Russian accent.

It’s tucked into an unlikely dead end, but once you’ve negotiated the city litter and made it in, you’ll find a bar that
has space for a couple of dozen imbibers, along with rooms with additional seating.

The inspiration here is the Chinese opium dens where tea was a ritual as much as a good brew on a British building site. ‘Chai’ is Russian for tea and is daubed across Chainaya’s menu.

The cocktail list is modest, with eight signature drinks and eight classics, but its well-travelled bartenders, headed by Roman Milostivy, are constantly innovating to satisfy Moscow’s growing band of cocktail apostles.