St Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург):
Brewery Restaurant Schwaben Keller /
Пивной Ресторан Швабен Келлер
Monday 15th October 2018
This is yet another Russian brewery restaurant honouring the Southern German style of food and beer.
This time the featured area is that of the Schwaben region which occupies the north eastern part of the province of Baden-Wüttemburg and an adjoining area of Bavaria. It is said that the best cuisine in Germany comes out of Schwabia, as it is known as in English. Their beer isn’t bad either!
Of course, the best way to experience German cooking is to go there in person. However for many Russians who are unable to make that journey these brewery-restaurants give a tangible experience of what it is like and they are very well used. I am not sure what the food is like in this one but the beers we had were very reasonable. This pub-brewery-restaurant opened at the end of 2010.
The pub is in the Krasnogvardeysky district and is not near a Metro station but you can get there by tram. When Linda and I visited there were roadworks which entailed a lot more walking than intended. Nevertheless we got there and entered down some steps. I know that the German word “Keller” refers to a place for storing beer yet it seemed appropriate as the pub is located in a semi-basement as many Russian city pubs are.
Inside we looked around what was quite a large pub decorated in a Russian interpretation of a German city bierkeller. It’s in an irregular shaped room.
Along the left side is a wall that leads to the glass-fronted brewery situated in a corner to the left of the bar counter. This runs along the back wall and there is a brief gap for waiting staff to pass in and out. It then continues in a semi-circular shape around the right of the room.
There are many stools in front of the bar counter. The counter itself is wooden and is panelled. It’s painted in green and two shades of brown. All of the furniture in the room is dark varnished tables and chairs. At the left end of the room there are high tables with tall stools and this is where we settled. The floor here is tiled, the rest being varnished wooden floorboards.
There is a higher level overlooking the room with tables in line with the windows which themselves look out to below the pavement level of the street outside. The ceiling is vaulted, so can be compared to a beer hall in Germany. There are electric chandeliers and the ceiling is painted with flowers in a style also reminiscent of a beer hall. There are many tables that are not dedicated to dining so drinkers are well looked after.
There are four regular beers and all were available when we called in. They are: Светлое / Light lager (4.5%); Темное / dark lager (4.5%); Мшеничное / Wheat beer (4.4%) and Нефильтрованное / Unfiltered Light lager (4.7%). In addition there was the seasonable beer, Honey Ale (abv not available).
We had them all apart from the Wheat beer and thought they were acceptable without being exceptional, with Honey Ale being the best. The beers all go under the generic name of Alpen Bier.
This brewery-restaurant is well worth the trip out of the city centre.
Schwaben Keller, Sh. Revolyutsii/Ш. Революции, 3, St. Petersburg. Tel: (812) 458 80 36
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12:00-24:00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-01.00
Probably the easiest way to get here from the city centre is travel on the ever-useful Metro Line 5, catching it to Ploschad Lenin/Площадь Ленина, located by the Finlyandski station.
You can catch the tram 23 from here. You walk to the stop at Железнодорожный Вокзал Финляндский/Finlyandski Railway station, where it starts.
You alight at and return from Piskaryovskiy Prospekt/Пр. Пискарёвский. The return stop is around the corner. Arriving from Finlyandski station you walk back in the direction that the tram arrived from. When you reach the corner the tram came round, keep walking. The Сад Нева/Neva Gardens are on your left. At the next road junction you will see the pub on the opposite side of the road. Cross by pedestrian crossing.