Thursday 25th July 2013
Even though I thought I could find this pub, I very nearly failed. With a good map of the immediate environs of the Avtozavoskaya / Автозаводская metro station, I was pretty certain that I emerged from the correct exit. The pub should have been in view to my left, yet it wasn't. I was a bit disorientated and walked the wrong way. I walked back, and then I thought I had found it (I had, but didn't realise it!) and walked into a modern building clad on the outside in orange, grey and white panels; it had the correct address.
I walked around inside for about fifteen minutes and discovered around 80 small shops, mostly selling ladies' shoes. I went outside again and looked at the exterior. It definitely said Restaurant / Ресторан and had the opening times as 10.00 (actually 11.00) to 24.00.
I went back inside and immediately noticed there was a staircase on the left, I had previously missed this. Voila! I had found it; and I'd only wasted a half an hour of valuable drinking time!
Inside, entering the bar-room, I had to adjust my eyes to the light, or lack of it, as it was quite dark in there. I noticed the bar first on my right. I couldn't miss it actually as, suspended above it and serving as giant lamp shades, were the tops of old fermentation vessels. The value of the copper alone must add up to a considerable amount.
I looked around the main room and could see it was well furnished and of a considerable size. There was a little natural light coming in from the windows on the opposite side to the bar. One thing I noticed was that almost everybody was eating. There didn't appear to be any waiting staff, so where were the dinners coming from? I took a walk to the far end of the bar and looked left around a corner and was confronted with a large self-service food counter. So that was the answer.
Back at the bar I started thinking about this and came to the conclusion that this was an existing restaurant that has added a brewery. This proved to be correct as it was originally called Stelka, in Russian: Стелька.
The story of the change is very interesting. If I have got it right, its inspiration comes from a visit owner Tatania Starostin made to the Czech Republic.
The pivotal moment seems to have occurred when she spent the night in a small village whilst travelling between Prague and Brno and visited the local pub. It was here that she experienced the beer culture and was so impressed by this and the traditions of brewing in that country; she wished to replicate it in Moscow. I like this story as it proves that, if you single-minded enough, and have a bit of money, you really can create your dream.
Looking at the decor I got the impression that this place changed its character in the evening when I would guess that the main focus would be on the bar.
So, what about the brewery? Well, it was on the right of the bar and was, appropriately, constructed in the Czech Republic in 2012. I know it made its first brew less than six months earlier than this visit, in the first few months of 2013. As often in the past, BeerVisits is the first website in English to bring you full details of a new brewery.
It seems that, since its inception there have been four different brews made on the equipment. Initially they were known as brews 1 up to 4, of which 4 was the only dark beer. Nowadays there are three available at any time. On the occasion of my visit these were Light / Светлое, Red / Красное and Dark / Темное. Another beer that has been available is Half-Dark / Полутемное.
I had the Light and the Dark and I thought these were beers were identical to those that I could get in any good Czech brew pub. Thinking about it, I suppose that is just the way it should be, as the hops and malt are Czech, the brewer is Czech, the brewery is Czech, only the water is Russian and no doubt that is conditioned to make it the same as that in Plzeň.
In summation, I would unreservedly recommend this brew pub to any visitor in Moscow, assuming you can find it!
Czech Restaurant-Brewery Straźek, Ulica Masterkovo 8, Moskva. 115280. Tel: 499 166 0452
Чешский Ресторан-Пивоварня Стражек, Улица Мастеркова 8, Москва.
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-24.00