The Mitzva Bar

A bar in downtown Moscow with Jewish-themed food mixes kosher style, Kabbalah and more in a menu of more then 150 cocktails.

Co-owner Danil Goldman at the Mitzva Bar (photo credit: Courtesy)
Co-owner Danil Goldman at the Mitzva Bar
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Visitors to Moscow might want to check out the Mitzva Bar in a chic neighborhood of downtown. A play on the word, “bar mitzvah,” the bar offers sophisticated cocktails and Jewish-themed food ranging from gefilte fish to the Sephardi chreimeh. It is “kosher-style” meaning there is no pork or shellfish, and no mixing of milk and meat, but the ingredients are not all certified kosher and the bar is open on Shabbat.
Jewish culture is trending throughout eastern Europe but the Mitzva Bar takes it one step further. The menu is a play on a Torah scroll with wooden dowels that unroll to reveal the selections. Some of the cocktails are served in Kiddush cups, and some of the food on Seder plates.
Co-owner Andrey Osipyants, who is also doing a PhD in chemistry, opened the bar three years ago. The whole idea of a cocktail bar is something new in this city, he said.
“We have well-educated guests who ask about everything they see and want to know more,” Osipyants said in an interview.
The location is in the cellar of a building from the 1790s that once served as a synagogue. The décor is a mix of Jewish themes, Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and Freemasons. The menu of more than 170 cocktails offers some selections not offered anywhere else. On a recent visit, the bartender asked me what kinds of flavors I liked. When I answered, “sweet and spicy”, he brought me the Holy Land, made with Finlandia grapefruit and amba, the sweetspicy mango condiment widely used in Israel. Attached to the glass was a small square with a Jewish star made of dried mango.
'Holy Land' (Credit: Courtesy)'Holy Land' (Credit: Courtesy)
Another drink, the Seal of Solomon is brought in a silver Kiddush cup. It is based on rye whisky infused with smoked oak chips, and an infusion brewed from tonka beans. The result is a heady cocktail that is fruity and smoky at the same time.
Seal of Solomon (Credit: Courtesy)Seal of Solomon (Credit: Courtesy)