Imagine a city where elite yachting is a part of normal life and every day you meet someone who is a surfer or wakeboarder. If you think I'm imagining Miami or Santa Cruz, you're wrong. This is Moscow, dear reader, where the rich are always looking for entertainment.
With oil prices pumping higher every week Moscow, the masses are getting unexpectedly wealthier, and it's fun to see how these new rich manage their new wealth. Expensive cars are nothing new, helicopters are still restricted, but the joys of water hooligans are getting more and more popular these days.
Maybe it's because most of our millionaires just became rich only in the past decade that they don't really understand the culture of spending money. When it comes to status possessions most of these bigwigs remind me of children. If they saw something cool on one of their trips abroad, they immediately want to bring it home. Even if there is no sea to sail around or ocean waves to surf, they just pretend it's all there. Just like we all did with puddles when we were kids.
The Moscow River is still mostly covered with ice, so I was surprised to get a call from my friend Pasha inviting me to attend a "closed opening party for a yacht-restaurant." Well if it was someone else calling, I would have hung up on him because I'm sick of clubs that think they're cool and expensive, but once you get there, they turn out to be typically Soviet inside.
However, Pasha is not the kind of guy who'd offer his friends a shit sandwich. When I first met him in Diaghilev he was just a humble assistant to the club moguls and did all their dirty work—transforming bags of cash into proper packs, weighing them and sometimes kicking the provincial asses of the club's go-go dancers and waitresses. Now he's a reputable manager with many club owners vying for his time and attention.
So I could not refuse his offer to check out the new ROYAL BAR and see how a restaurant could be "yacht." First I thought he meant those riverboat-restaurants, but then I realized it could not be that since Moscow's navigation season starts only on April 20th.
The yacht-restaurant's location sounded familiar—a few seasons ago I used to hang out at the Beach Club, which was a wannabe Ibiza on shitty sand full of cigarette butts and discarded beer bottles. Well, the rise in oil prices has all kinds of benefits. One of those is that the Royal Bar managers decided to keep the beach for summer parties, and they imported expensive white sand to make it look as though you are really in Ibiza.
But some things never change. The dark road to the bar and beach is not far away from Leningdadka, but you have to watch out for the potholes and puddles. Moscow's potholes are really incredible—even if it looks small don't be fooled. You can sink half of your car in one.
Fortunately I was not driving, but instead I was relaxing with a bottle of Baltika in the back seat of Shawarma Shuttle. When I finally arrived I didn't notice any masts, sails or long rows of white Sunseekers around the restaurant.
Next to the bar I spotted a group of serious dudes (I usually stay away from such thick-necked types) pointing to the plasma TV and discussing the show. It was a broadcasting the Monaco Yacht Rendezvous, or something. Even though I kept my distance from them, I still heard them loudly discuss propeller screws, vanes and hydrometers.
Later Pasha told me these guys were the owners of the restaurant and also the owners of a large yacht distribution company. So now I understood why this place was called a yacht-restaurant.
The good thing about clubs located away from the Garden Ring is that you can breath normally. Since the rent is cheaper they allow more space for the dance floor and dining rooms. Royal Bar is no exception, featuring as well a breathtaking view onto the bay, making it a good place to watch the sunset.