New Arbat street runs parallel to its older namesake from the White House through to the Arbat Square. Built in the sixties with contemporary highrise buildings lining the 6-lane avenue, New Arbat cut right through the old narrow streets of this central district.
Having found its fame as a night club hotspot with a number of casinos opening up throughout the nineties, the street has had a recent rebirth as anti-gambling laws forced changes. A variety of shops have opened up along the strip and most of the casinos have transformed themselves into more conventional night clubs and restaurants.
The street's wide lanes and relatively modern foundations have meant that tanks regularly pass through for the Victory Day parade on their way to the Red Square. Unique buildings fronting the street have provided the backdrop for a number of iconic images of the Soviet Union's might with ballistic missile launchers making their way past onlookers outside the historic Prague restaurant (currently closed).
The vast majority of the buildings lining the street are surprisingly modern, constructed in the nineties. These were built to look old and match some of the early 20th and late 19th century buildings already on the street, although most of these have also been heavily rebuilt. The only geunine old building still standing is a single story wooden house just behind the Moscow House of books which now houses the Lermontov Memorial House.
A bookshop may not be the most obvious choice for a tourist walking around Moscow, but the city's biggest book store is worth a peek as you walk up the avenue. Its Soviet architecture and layout are striking and are worth a look at in their own right. Once inside, look for the tourism section offering a wide selection of materials on Russian destinations and get yourself a novel to read in the foreign language section.
A popular destination with the locals Metelitsa started its life as a full-blown casino which can still be seen in some of the layout. As the laws gradually changed and the public demand shifted, the establishment quickly progressed to become one of Moscow's leading night-time venues.
Featuring a restaurant and number of VIP, banquet and corporate halls, the core part of the building is a large dedicated club. Metelitsa is well-known for being host to a number of high-profile Russian artist performances. Ageing western stars are also popular with performances ranging from Gloria Gaynor to Modern Talking amongst previous performers.
If you walk further along the street towards the Moskva river and the famous Novoarbatskiy Bridge, you will see the White House prominently poised to your right and may notice the British and the US embassies not too far off New Arbat on either side of the street. We'd highly recommend to either keep walking or take one of the trams or buses running along this route and make your way along the Kutuzovskiy Prospect with grand shops and theatres as well as Park Pobedy (Victory Park) to see.
Throughout the Year
New Arbat Street