Beergeek, like many similar places in St Petersburg, is part bottle shop and part bar. It opened in August 2014, but the smell of yeast and hops is already noticeable as you turn into the first gateway off the Nevsky Prospekt. A steep little stairway into the cellar is marked by a cheerfully geeky plastic sign. But despite the descent, I can’t say that it goes downhill from there.
Not only is Beergeek in the basement but it is also teeny-tiny. There is a small bar with only a dozen taps at most, mostly serving local beers by breweries like Bakunin and Knightberg. On the left-hand side, a plywood amphitheatre (for want of better description, which is caused by the idiosyncratic character of this structure) with pillows offers seating. On the right-hand side, beer bottles are organised into something of a filing cabinet – boxes marked “Red ale”, “Stout” etc. There are crisps and connoisseur glasses, and light relief is available in the form of lemonade and ginger ale.
Underground location and inebriation are very conductive to discussions of death, sex, contemporary art, and the meaning of life. Beergeek have granted me an opportunity to check that, with a mate who’s got a degree in philosophy no less. It’s not all doom and gloom though – there are sometimes acoustic gigs in there, one of which was by a shanty choir, and I once attended a very inspiring lecture on applying anarchist principles to brewing.