Top Hops, which back in the day was located in Saperny Lane, was my favourite bar for a while – good beer was served, good music played, and it was always empty. That last point made the venture somewhat less viable, so they closed shop and relocated closer to the city centre.
Now Top Hops is a short walk away from the main building of the National Library of Russia, so for me it’s a perfect post-library pint spot. The beer selection is wide and varied – from a local craft lager through to a heavy-duty Mikkeller ale. There is also some food on offer – variations on Latin American themes primarily (their chef is originally from El Salvador); the vegan tacos are delicious and refreshing – but be warned, the serving size is pretty small. The music is still great – jazz, funk, hip hop or soul.
The bar is smaller than the old Top Hops, and it’s more central. The building even has a plaque boasting of a Lenin visit to a comrade‘s flat in 1905. This means that the bar is less likely to look empty than in the past – but I understand not everyone likes empty bars – not their owners at least, I’m sure.