Samovar Room

Samovar Room in Cabbagetown is the third Russian-themed bar in what's becoming Rumen Dimitroff's east-end dynasty.

Located behind the Winchester Hotel in the old Laurentian Room, Samovar embodies old-world Russian glamour as smartly as Dimitroff's other ventures, Rasputin and Pravda , embody csarist and soviet Russia, respectively.

Just off Parliament St, and upstairs through an unmarked door, the bar feels very for-those-in-the-know and slightly prohibition-era. Inside, dark walls, heavy burgundy curtains, and a wall lined with fireplaces conjures Russia as I've always imagined it: opulent, ornate, and elemental.

The long bar dominates one side of the room, while small tables dot the bench that runs the length of the opposite wall. Unlike Rasputin and Pravda, where cozy groupings of chairs and tables inspire intimate, conspiratorial chats, Samovar is more of a dance club, with live DJs and hired dancers keeping the energy level high, and drinks like absinthe keeping the inhibitions low.

Samovar offers a vast selection of vodkas, as with the other bars in Dimitroff's Eastern Bloc, as well as a variety of fine champagnes, four different kinds of absinthe, and a menu of delicatessen-style foods that complement the drinks and ambience perfectly, such as caviar and smoked meats.

For those who want the full experience, the large, wood-lined freezer room behind the bar doubles as a "tasting room". Patrons are provided with fur coats and hats and served food and vodka a la Russe: AKA, while cold.

A night out at Samovar merits your best duds, as you'll be keeping company with the young and fashionable - the ones who can afford a taste for the finer things. Fur or military hats might get you confused with the staff, but after a glass of absinthe you won't care. Samovar is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7pm.

Writing by Jessica McGann

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