An easy walk from either the Lubianka or Revolution Square Metro stops, the HBH brewpub is an interesting attempt to establish a German brewing cultural beachhead near the heart of Moscow. The interior offers a refined elegance where it's still easy to relax and drink Munich-sized samples of locally produced lager beer. The four-place bar features a stone top with brass railings and two dual-tap white ceramic taps. The "full liquor" bar displays HBH (Hofbrau House) logo'd ceramic mugs but none are for sale. The house beers usually include one "light" and one "dark" lager. From the bar two wood-clad brewing vessels are visible in an adjacent room. A cappuccino machine erupts periodically to produce a specialized rendition of a non-fermented brew not as popular here as in America. The printed restaurant guide suggests numerous banquet and dining rooms are available for private parties. The main lounge offers three tall, black Formica tables with padded chrome stools. Nearby booth seating stands surrounded by red-stained wooden walls and light gray granite floors. Bar mirrors advertising European liquors populate the walls. A reasonable amount of light does enter from the street through the large shaded windows. A silent TV hangs below the 10-foot red ceiling as Russian pop music fills the room. The bar staff is all male and dress consists of white shirts with black bow ties. The patrons seem mostly males in their thirties but there is a healthy mix of working professionals and visiting tourists. A half liter mug runs around $3 USD and serving sizes include .25, .5 and 1 liter. For those with plastic, VISA is accepted.
The staff is friendly and very tolerant of English speakers. The restaurant brochure explains, in Russian, the history of the operation with its 1993 opening and its ties to 16th century Munich. The beer selection may seem limited, and they might be out of 50 percent of their styles and any given time, but the HBH Micro-Brewery Restaurant is an honest attempt to bring classic lager beer to thirsty Muscovites.
HBH Restaurant Microbrewery Arsentich
B. Cherkasskii Per. D. 15
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - October, 1999
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