The Tulskaya station is just outside Moscow's center and serves as the main gateway to a part of the city that many find desirable. The area's sleepy streets are heavily lined with trees, and a diverse range of ethnic groups lives there. Also, it seems, a lot of students, judging by the crowd at R-Club. This place joins the ranks of Schwein, Project OGI and Krai to form a distinct niche in the Moscow scene: small, intimate and inexpensive venues focusing on live music.
If there is anywhere to tap into Moscow's underground music culture, this may be it. R-Club is not a big place, but the environment is charged. On this particular evening, the club's larger room was packed with young, dancing students, revved by the band's heavy riffs into an almost moshing fury but without the violence that can often accompany the mosh. It was a refreshing sight. People felt uninhibited enough to unveil their most wacky moves in the club's cheery and unpretentious atmosphere. More importantly, the crowd was actually interested in dancing, drinking and singing, rather than in looking cool and being seen.
Three decent bands played across a range of mainstream styles between 7 p.m. and midnight on the Friday night selected for review. But live music gets played here every night.
To checkout the menu and pick the brains of the manager it was necessary to move to the second, smaller, empty room, where it was at least possible to sit. The low priced beers were no better or worse than might be expected, and the menu was somewhat disappointing, especially after the large, under-dressed (even for this low key venue) manager had insisted that "Yes, it was easy to have dinner here." Easy, maybe if you like shashlkik, microwaved pizza or full-on kiosk food. The shashlik was priced at 50 rubles but turned out to be twice that, being sold according to weight (or was that wait?).
There is little else to do then but drink and dance, which is all very well if the music is your thing. The third and final band wrapped up nicely in time for the metro and the crowd took their cue. Within minutes of the last track, the dancefloor went from pulsating sweat-box to a desolate dive. Like so many low cost clubs, this place thrives on people and atmosphere.
R-Club is a pleasant venue in a nice part of town, the downfall being a lack of real food, which restricts the options available. Come for the music and leave by metro.
19/21 Fourth Roshinsky Pr.
Hours: Mon. to Thurs. 6 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. Fri. to Sun. 6 p.m. to 5.30 a.m.
Cover: 50 to 100 rubles