Che to revolutionize Moscow's Latin American scene

Issue Number: 
Lucas Romriell

Club Che. The name says it all. You probably already know what's inside without going through the door: a Cuban revolution-themed club complete with pictures of Che Guevara and communist slogans on every wall, plus an impressive selection of rum and cigars.According to the club's managers, the city has been without a good Latin American-themed venue named after a revolutionary figure since Pancho Villa closed its doors. So, a four-man team got together and cooked up Che.

"Imagine these are the streets of Havana, just after the revolution," said Vladimir Shpagin, one of the club's managers, gesturing at the graffiti scribbled across the wall.He and the other three managers put their backs into the club, even going so far as to shape some of the faux fixtures themselves. The clay flatware from the kitchen was made to order for that elegant campanero look, and there is plenty of wicker furniture to match the sturdy tables. During daytime and evening hours, the music will be Latin American-style - with live musicians during dinner hours - so they can't really go wrong. Around 11 or midnight when the club gets going, a DJ will take over spinning whatever he sees fit.
Not everyone will be able to enter, according to the management. During restaurant hours, anyone who wants to dine can pile on in, but when the dance floor lights up, only the hip and cool will make the cut.

The management team has been working on the Moscow restaurant scene for nearly 10 years and pretty much knows who's going to be on the invite list. The club owners set out to make a place they could hang out in with their friends, not a spot for just anyone. On the plus side, there is no and never will be a cover, supposedly because it wouldn't be consistent with Che's revolutionary principles. However, clubbing is only the half of it. Che has an impressive-looking menu with lots of Tex-Mex treats, plus plenty of Latin American and grilled fare, including shark steaks. Drinks include Mate from Che's native Argentina and rum from his adopted homeland of Cuba. No cigarettes are for sale, but you can order fat Cuban cigars.

Prices aren't cheap, but not expensive either. They plan a happy hour with 100-ruble rums, and the Kill 'Em All liter margaritas will certainly do the trick. Dishes run from about 200 rubles to 500 rubles each. According to Shapyagin, the managers didn't want to limit the menu or atmosphere to one country alone. "The revolution started in Mexico, took place in Cuba and Che was Argentinean," Shapyagin said, adding that he himself had lived for a few years in Brazil.

For that secret bunker feel, the steel door has a hatch to check out guests, but I doubt they will use it for face control during club hours. The guard had to come outside before he could hear what this LifeStyle staffer had to say. LifeStyle was allowed to tour the club early this week, but the official opening will be Friday, Jan. 24. But Shapyagin wouldn't say what to expect from the party, only that the details were a revolutionary secret.