Moscow: Now Open 24 Hours

The first time I visited the Soviet Union in 1992, there was no such thing as nightlife. Everything closed by about 9 p.m. every night so that the workers could get up early in the morning and toil for the state. I remember the excitement of finding a jazz club in Leningrad–the only jazz club in Leningrad–that served nothing but cognac (they were out of everything else). The jazz was surprisingly good (better than the cognac) but by 9 p.m. the band called it quits and it was back to the hotel for drinks in our room. That was the extent of nocturnal activities in the Soviet Union.

Times have changed, however. Today, Moscow is becoming a city that never sleeps. The former nighttime ghost town is now a non-stop orgy of 24-hour stores, cafes, bars, clubs, and even beauty salons and dentists.

When I flew home from the Russian capital last summer, I witnessed this first hand as I drove to the airport at 4 a.m. Sunday morning. The city looked as vibrant and alive as it did six hours earlier on a Saturday night.

David Holley, writing for the LA Times, explores this new phenomenon which has taken over what was once one of the most boring cities on this planet. Most of this 24-hour craze, he argues, stems from a booming Russian economy buoyed by rising oil costs. People have money to spend and shops are staying open to help them spend it.

Indeed, so much of Moscow is fueled by the after hours lifestyle, that an entire website is devoted to it. Moskva24 helps night owls find what they’re looking for in the wee hours.

For me, that would be a nice comfy bed.