It took me a little while to find Berthold Center, a cluster of historic buildings and courtyards of a historic foundry. The entrance is through a whitewashed archway off Grazhdanskaya Ulitza 13, but there’s no sign.
You just have to know.
You pass by a store selling Polaroids and camera equipment on the right, and a store selling vinyl records on the left, and find yourself in a courtyard framed by exposed brick walls and winding wrought-iron staircases.
People are drinking coffee and working on laptops. Someone’s biting into a local take on Mexican food from a hole-in-the-wall called Escarabajo. Someone’s enjoying handmade fettuccine from Pasta 1315 Bar. A couple are slurping up ramen noodles from Mir, a vegan cafe upstairs. Everyone’s drinking coffee.
Two steps down is a bookstore filled with coffee table books on photography and art. If that’s not your cup of tea, Wood Fox upstairs is selling cute cups and enamel doorknobs that would look good in a cream-colored kitchen. If color is your thing, you can go all purple at the hair salon here that specializes in creative dos.
Someone said there’s more than one bar upstairs, but it was too early in the day. But it did make me want to come back because if the early afternoon was any indication, it’s a pretty happening place at night.