Cafe Mayak has its mystery. I had walked by Mayakovskaya street million of times and I would have never imagined that this spot existed here. Seems like the only way to know about Mayak is by personal recommendation.
Time stopped there almost 40 years ago. Lenin’s head, Trotzkiy’s portrait, weird curtains, brutal furniture and a Soviet menu make me feel that way, despite the fact that I was born during Perestroyka and missed all that culture. Everything is very cheap but comfy. Also, it’s very common to sit down with strangers if there are no sites left. Yep, sometimes locals are ready to socialize 🙂 I’ve noticed that people who like hanging out there are very often locals who live near Mayak, young hipsters and students from the art academy and sometimes fancy visitors from other cities who’re getting used to starting their St. Pete weekend by drinking vodka served in a decanter.
As a complement to that USSR’s aesthetic, you might get not such a nice lady as the barman, though that’s exactly how things worked 40 years ago in the clients’ service. As for me, I have never had any problem with the staff, so it depends on the perspective. I see Mayak as an interactive museum where you can take a journey in time and space.
Important note – you are expected to order at the counter, while everything will be delivered to your table with a war cry of “Whose herring is this?”. Have fun 🙂