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As any big town, Moscow has its fair share of hidden gems. Tucked away in a little courtyard just off Ulitsa Petrovka, a busy thoroughfare in the city’s Tverskaya district lined with prestigious boutiques, restaurants and offices, a quirky cocktail bar has opened its doors. Interestingly, it doesn’t specifically cater to the well-heeled that prance around the area, but instead pulls a young but nevertheless savvy demographic to its doorstep. Simply called Voda – Russian for water – it was founded by Vitaliy Bgantsov, a young bearded bartender who’s had stints at a string of high-profile watering holes across town, and a business partner. Obviously, this is a step up the ladder for Bgantsov, and he has used his expertise well to create a drinking den extraordinaire. Occupying a concealed location, and using only an engraved stone beside a well-designed door to signal one’s presence is perhaps new to Moscow sophisticates, but it perfectly fits the owners’ vision of bringing a distinctly different drinking experience to the Russian capital.

Local practice Korpus, led by achitects Julia Ardabievskaya, Mikhail Khvalebnov and Alina Kvirkvelia, was tapped to create an interior that would reflect a different kind of refinement. The compact two-storey building was originally in use as a boiler house, and the interior design has actually retained large parts of its original shell to achieve an aesthetic inspired by Muscovite chambers from a bygone era. The ground floor setting at Voda comprises of exposed brick walls, embellished with precision cut-outs filled with architectural forms and objects, a plaster-cast bar with stools accompanied by a large table, a dark wooden ledge that subtly runs along one side of the room, and last but not least, a limestone-covered staircase whose robust spatial features amplify the visual drama. Upstairs the atmosphere shifts to homey and relaxing with a lounge area to match.

The stylish space, clad in wooden planking, is furnished with carefully sourced vintage pieces, and the lofty ceiling and large window lend its compact size a surprisingly airy feel. Lighting, in the form of both pendant and wall-mounted spotlights, is applied largely in a functional way, especially in the room downstairs. As said, Voda is a nocturnal hangout where cocktails are served, and given Bgantsov’s expertise, expect these to be wonderfully nifty concoctions. The cocktails take cues from the culinary world and far beyond, but include experimental compositions and adventurous flavours and spices. If you peek over the shoulers of the bartender downstairs, you’ll see a large number of jars filled with freshly made cocktail flavours which form the very base of your delectable drink.

Design: Korpus
Photography: polina poludkina

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