Some touch of Soviet Era atmosphere is always offered in Tolstiy Fraer Beerhouses. This is a kind of time machine for Soviet style alcohol excursion in St. Petersburg
Let me tell you about the most interesting and visited by me pub in my home town St. Petersburg. Tolstiy Fraer is a beer trading network, beer houses network to be exact in St. Petersburg. Essentially the meaning of word “fraer” is the man, who has no relationships with criminal world, potential victim of crime, straight man or simpleton (form German “Freier”, in Russian language came from Yiddish).
Co-owner of this network – well known Russian bard Alexander Rosenbaum, insists on name beerhouse or “pivnaya” in Russian. So from this special name springs very peculiar atmosphere of all Tostiy Fraer’s beerhouses – glory Soviet Era style. Many things in Tostiy Fraer remind the gone Soviet Epoch: “Our pace-makers Desk”, old-fashioned bulletin boards, beer stall which is added to bar stand, crude wood tables and benches. There are many Soviet posters, agitation leaflets and newspapers of past days on the walls which remind of campaigns for struggle with sponging, movement for strong and healthy family life and lifestyle. Musical background is also a little bit Sovietique: best songs and melodies of Soviets for your pleasure so be prepared to listen Leonid Utesov’s klezmerised jazz, Claudiua Shulzjenko’s foxtrots, Joseph Kobzon’s political invocation songs and never ending Soviet disco hits.
As for beer I’d recommend to sip some Fraerskoe unfiltered (dark or lager). This beer is specially brewed for Toslstiy Fraer and served in ordinary beer mugs, old style Soviet glass jar (3 liter) or aluminum can (5 liter) which is also pretty fun feature. Every first beer order is filled up with so called “Fraerskiy Nabor” or special beer appetizer bonus of cold smoking mackerel, salted ring-shaped crackles, crackers, straws and piece of brynza.
There are seven Fraers in St. Petersburg and at least 4 of them situated in the city centre area (Gostiny Dvor, Austrian Square and Belinskogo street). Luckily one Tolstiy Fraer beer house is not far (Dimitrova street, 20) from my place so please welcome!