Going Out in Samara.
One of Samara's most famous clubs, Aura only really gets busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
A Thursday or Sunday visit could prove a dismal event. Aura's best feature is its extravagant interior, heavy on drapes, winding staircases and full of little nooks, comfortable couches and chill-out areas. And, of course, there is a sizeable dance floor where patrons can writhe to the mainly house and R&B strains the DJs play. Prices are moderate at 80-100R ($3-$3.70) for beer and 250R-300R ($9-$11) for cocktails. In addition to the local resident DJs, Aura attracts DJs from the northern and real Russian capitals fairly regularly and has even managed to pull some little-known European DJs from time to time. Aura has a great vibe when it's busy and lures in some attractive clientele. The diversity of the areas within the club makes it a good place to go for chilling or partying.
Address: Krasnoarmeiskaya Ul., #1. Tel: 270-8769. Website: www.auraclub.ru. Open Thur-Sun: 22:00-6:00.
Podval Rock Cafe.
Podval Rock Cafe is a cool place with a real underground feel to it even though it is quite
well known. It usually fills up with an alternative crowd, but not the irritating kind of alternative, making it a relaxed, easy-going venue. They sell massive beers for only 70R ($2.60). Hard rock is the dominant music played here but there's some alternative thrown in to lighten the atmosphere a little. Local live bands play on weekends. During the week the stage is covered with a massive screen that has something off-beat broadcast onto it. Podval Rock Cafe has a well-stocked bar and competent bartenders. The only drawback is that there are some problems with the sound system, causing annoying sudden changes in the volume of the music and sometimes static. In all other respects Podval Rock Cafe is a great place for a night out.
Address: Galaktionovskaya Ul., #46. Tel: 332-9283. Website: www.podval.net.
Pivanaya Luka has all the local beers on offer: Zhigulevskoe filtered and unfiltered,
Fon Vakano and Samarskoe. And at 50R ($1.85) per 500mL you can afford to sample all of them. Also on the menu is a short list of starters and beer snacks - the traditional Russian variety - for about 150R ($5.50) each, as well as some uninspired but inoffensive main courses that sell for an average of 220R ($8). The place itself is kind of pokey and the ultra upright wooden chairs are very uncomfortable. Service is okay but naturally customers are less important than the waitress' conversations. Still, despite its faults, Pivnaya Luka is a good little beer den where you can drink in the local flavors.
Address: Leningradskaya Ul., #46. Tel: 262-9972. Open 12:00-0:00.
A chain of bars that has a couple of central locations, Beer Loga
is a good place for a drink or for something to eat. Beer is cheap at 50R ($1.85) per half liter for local ales or 70R ($2.60) for imported varieties. Main courses from the mainly Russian/European menu are also good value at about 200R ($7.40). But perhaps Beer Loga's biggest draw card is the 120R ($4.50) business lunch for which price you get a salad, soup, a main course and a drink. Sure, the taste isn't great, but at least it fills you up. Other features include large screens for sports broadcasts or music videos, attentive wait staff and an English-language menu. On the downside, the interior is austere to the point of being downright dull. The large, stuffed bear holding a tray does little to lighten the mood.
Address: Kuibysheva Ul., #81. Tel: 310-6127. Open 11:00-0:00. Also at Mologvardeiskaya Ul., #223 (Tel: 337-2030) and several other locations.
Another basement-level bar, Zlachnaya Pivnushka has an 'evil' motif with decorations including witches and
ethereal murals painted on the ceilings above the exposed brick walls. Apparently this place is run by a biker and there is a 30% discount on drinks for other bikers. Whether you fall into that category or not Zlachnaya Pivnushka is cheap enough with beers starting at a ridiculously low 30R ($1.10) for Baltika and ranging up to 100R ($3.70) for Krusovice Dark. Cocktails average 150R ($5.50), spirits and liqueurs are about 100R ($3.70) and kalian is on offer for 250R ($9.30). There is also a brief, inexpensive menu of Russian and European cuisine. Zlachnaya Pivnushka isn't a bad place to watch sport either, although they only have small screen TVs. Every Saturday night there is a competition of who can drink the most beer and they have live rock groups playing here occasionally.
Address: Samarskaya Ul., #61. Tel: 333-4868. Open 12:00-2:00.
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