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morngnstar
11-21-2014, 06:31 AM
What were bars like in the late Soviet Union (1980s)? Specifically, would there have been any "classy" bars. I understand it's Communism, no one was "rich", but would there have been any upscale establishments reserved mostly for high-ranking Party members? Specifically in Moscow.

Or if not, where would such people meet and socialize - not entirely social, but probably business schmoozing.

Actually I'm looking for a setting for a meeting that takes place shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union (1996). I want to set it someplace that's a "throwback" to the old times.

Drachen Jager
11-21-2014, 06:45 AM
I actually stayed in a resort hotel for Russian VIPs not long after the collapse of the Soviet Union (a little earlier than your setting). At that time the bar was well stocked with everything you'd expect in a Western bar. Lots of space, high ceilings, lots of reflective stuff, cheesy but probably really expensive wallpaper (you know the kind with gold paper and red velvety stuff?).

It was a long time ago.

Was there anything specific you wanted to know?

raburrell
11-21-2014, 07:19 AM
We stayed at the main tourist hotel in Moscow, the one built for the '80 Olympics (http://en.azimuthotels.com/azimut_moscow_olympic_hotel) - it used to be off-limits to Russians (foreigners only, at least in theory), but by '96, that wouldn't have been an issue.

DJ's description sounds about right to me (it certainly didn't look like it does now in that link). The main thing I remember was the mind-boggling number of prostitutes in the lobby. And all the 'foreign' businessmen they were engaged with spoke and acted Russian.

If you want something throwback-ish, I also remember there being a mishmash of very utilitarian designs with buildings and decor that looked like it really hadn't changed since the revolution - Belle Epoque type things, but in very shabby shape.

HTH. Same as DJ, if there's something specific, I can try to help.

morngnstar
11-21-2014, 06:25 PM
Thanks. I'm just looking for description. I've got: gold velvety wallpaper (you mean like with those felt curlycues embossed on it?), high ceilings, mirrors. What materials were used in indoor construction? Wood, wallboard? If wood, dark, light, or painted. Were mouldings simple, ornate, or nonexistent? What style of tables and chairs? Are there tablecloths? What are the dishes and glasses like? How are the waiters and waitresses dressed? Is it well-lit or dim, are the light fixtures on the ceiling, walls, tables, or floor, and what is their style.

Anything you can remember, or even imagine it would have been like if you did remember. It doesn't have to be accurate, I just want it to have a unique Soviet feel so that it's different from what you're used to if you've been to upscale Western bars.

cornflake
11-22-2014, 12:02 PM
There were rich people, and the bars, as DJ said, are bars. Every bar has its own deal, but I don't think there's a 'Soviet' feel to a bar that'd identify it as such.

morngnstar
11-25-2014, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the tips. I rewrote the description in the scene based on embellishments from your description (e.g. a crystal chandelier). I wish you guys could chime in a bit more so I know if my description is "right".

Drachen Jager
11-25-2014, 11:24 PM
Thanks. I'm just looking for description. I've got: gold velvety wallpaper (you mean like with those felt curlycues embossed on it?)

If you google "gold and red wallpaper" you'll see lots.

Like this: http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/457720/457720,1295301658,2/stock-vector-red-and-gold-floral-vintage-seamless-wallpaper-this-image-is-a-vector-illustration-69197656.jpg


, high ceilings, mirrors. The mirrors were brassy, btw, like smoky gold, not pure silvery mirrors.

What materials were used in indoor construction? Wood, wallboard?

Don't know, it was all covered in wallpaper and mirrors. Probably lath and plaster, but that's just a guess.

If wood, dark, light, or painted. Were mouldings simple, ornate, or nonexistent? Don't remember any mouldings.

What style of tables and chairs? Dark wood, mostly round tables (might have been rectangular ones against the walls).

Are there tablecloths? Yes.

What are the dishes and glasses like? Normal.

How are the waiters and waitresses dressed? They couldn't afford waitresses where I was. The place was dead most of the time. Bartender wore basically what a Western bartender would wear in a high-end hotel.

Is it well-lit or dim, are the light fixtures on the ceiling, walls, tables, or floor, and what is their style. Well lit, in this case there was a wall with lots of windows overlooking the sea (this was on the Dalmatian Coast). I don't think it was well lit from overhead, I can't remember if I ever went in there at night. I think it was just a few dozen chandeliers.

Anything you can remember, or even imagine it would have been like if you did remember. It doesn't have to be accurate, I just want it to have a unique Soviet feel so that it's different from what you're used to if you've been to upscale Western bars.

It was all grand and big, but a bit shoddy and blocky to my western eyes. The place was a bit run down when I was there though.

I hope all that helps.

raburrell
11-25-2014, 11:32 PM
Yeah, I remember the brassy mirrors as well - I believe they were even on the ceiling in the place we were in. Lots of small recessed lights cut in. Though I'd caution that this was a hotel built specifically to impress foreigners for the Olympics, so probably not representative.

I'd say a more typical meeting place would be a restaurant - copious alcohol, lots of black bread, potatoes, soup, etc. I don't remember much about the waitstaff.

We did also go to a young people's club in Moscow - bright lights, pounding music, pretty typical.

morngnstar
11-25-2014, 11:34 PM
Thanks again, guys.

Drachen Jager
11-25-2014, 11:41 PM
Aha! Found it.

I misplaced my geography. Just a bit north of the Dalmatian Coast.

Town called Opatija, the Imperial Hotel.

If you do a google image search for "Opatija Imperial Hotel" it gives some good interior shots as well. The red and gold pattern I thought was on the walls is apparently on the carpets (memory... what are you gonna do. I'm just happy I remembered the pattern from 20+ years ago). Most of the pics appear to be set up for some big event, but it'll give you a general idea of the interior.