As any big town, Moscow has its fair share of hidden gems. Tucked away in a little courtyard just off Ulitsa Petrovka, a busy thoroughfare in the city’s Tverskaya district lined with prestigious boutiques, restaurants and offices, a quirky cocktail bar has opened its doors. Interestingly, it doesn’t specifically cater to the well-heeled that prance around the area, but instead pulls a young but nevertheless savvy demographic to its doorstep. Simply called Voda – Russian for water – it was founded by Vitaliy Bgantsov, a young bearded bartender who’s had stints at a string of high-profile watering holes across town, and a business partner. Obviously, this is a step up the ladder for Bgantsov, and he has used his expertise well to create a drinking den extraordinaire. Occupying a concealed location, and using only an engraved stone beside a well-designed door to signal one’s presence is perhaps new to Moscow sophisticates, but it perfectly fits the owners’ vision of bringing a distinctly different drinking experience to the Russian capital.
Local practice Korpus, led by achitects Julia Ardabievskaya, Mikhail Khvalebnov and Alina Kvirkvelia, was tapped to create an interior that would reflect a different kind of refinement. The compact two-storey building was originally in use as a boiler house, and the interior design has actually retained large parts of its original shell to achieve an aesthetic inspired by Muscovite chambers from a bygone era. The ground floor setting at Voda comprises of exposed brick walls, embellished with precision cut-outs filled with architectural forms and objects, a plaster-cast bar with stools accompanied by a large table, a dark wooden ledge that subtly runs along one side of the room, and last but not least, a limestone-covered staircase whose robust spatial features amplify the visual drama. Upstairs the atmosphere shifts to homey and relaxing with a lounge area to match.