Moscow's social scene is often reduced to a stereotype - glitz, glamour, 600-rouble (€15) soft drinks and the notorious 'face control', which sees aesthetically displeasing punters cruelly barred from bars. But most Muscovites are not oligarchs and the city's nightlife is, thankfully, far more diverse and cosmopolitan. Kitay Gorod, just west of the city centre, is the Russian capital's answer to London's Dalston or New York's Williamsburg - where cool young things can eat, drink, dance, and buy their grandparents' clothing at inflated prices.
Myasnitskaya ul.24, building 2, +7 495 624 1320, cafe-didu.ru
Self-expression is all the rage at this arty joint where customers are handed a bowlful of plasticine and encouraged to stick their colourful creations on the wall. This spirit of invention extends to the bar staff who whip up bold and imaginative cocktails and thanks to a well-priced menu of pasta dishes, salads and steaks, there's not a single hungry artist in sight.
2 LUDI KAK LUDI
Solyanskiy tupik 1-4, +7 495 621 1201, ludikakludi.com
A low-key antidote to downtown Moscow's bigger-is-better approach to dining, café Ludi Kak Ludi (People Like People) is cute, friendly, unpretentious and cheap. Bread and cakes are baked in-house, the excellent sandwiches all cost 150 roubles (€3.75) - a bargain by Moscow standards, the smoothies are legendarily good and budget cocktails and a cool jazz soundtrack keep Ludi jam-packed till 6am at weekends.
3 RETRO MAGAZINCHIK
Ul Zabelina 3-7, +7 985 189 2238
Magazinchik doesn't merely look the part, it even smells like a babushka's musty closet. Vintage women's clothing is arranged by decade starting with the 1950s and ending at the fall of Communism. To help you achieve maximum granny-chic street cred, a large collection of Soviet-era pins and badges are also for sale.
4 SOLYANKA VPA
Solyanka 1-2, +7 495 621 5572, solyanka.org
The contemporary art scene in Moscow is thriving and this excellent gallery, with its focus on video, performance art and animation (hence the initials) has a reputation for showing cutting-edge work from around the world. It's next to a nightclub of the same name, one of the swankiest in the city.
5 KHOKHLOVSKIY LANE
At first glance, this side-street doesn't look promising. But wander through the semi-derelict buildings and you'll find the most eclectic cluster of independent traders in the city. There's a rastafarian supply store, a tattoo parlour, a school for acrobats, tango lessons, a bohemian bar with edgy performance poetry and several cool interconnected boutiques selling fashions by up-and-coming Russian designers. There's amazing street art here, too.
Ul Pokrovka 12, +7 962 964 6786, clockfacer.ru
Meaning 'Clockface', this is a cafe charging by the minute rather than for what you buy. When you enter you are given a clock and the time is noted. When you leave they work out how long you've been there. Offering tea, coffee, juices, cakes and biscuits, the cafe provides books, instruments and board games too. It's absolutely charming but you're charged two roubles for every minute you spend there (reduced to one rouble after an hour). In other words, the system rewards binge cake-eating.
7 THE CHINESE PILOT, JAO DA
Lubyansky 25, +7 495 623 2896, jao-da.ru
This grungy hipster hangout, inspired by an aviator who never actually existed, sells imported beers and salads, soups and pasta dishes. There are mailboxes along one wall, each featuring the name of a Moscow artist, writer or musician; apparently several come regularly to collect their fan mail.
Krivokolenny 10, building 5, +7 495 623 9660, bilinguaclub.ru
This venue is more than merely bilingual; it's positively multi-talented. There's a bookshop, a fashion boutique, an excellent live music venue (on 23 October see the Moscow Violin Jazz Quartet), and a bar with cheap Russian beer.