Dom 7 Jazz Club in St. Petersburg
наб. канала Грибоедова, 7, nearest to Gostiniy Dvor metro station
Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Saturday 1:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Sunday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Snacks from about $3
When my friend and fellow SRAS student Justin told me part of the reason he came to St. Petersburg was to study the local jazz scene as part of a research project, I have to admit I was dubious. Admittedly, I don’t know much about jazz even in the United States, but I was skeptical that there would even be much of a jazz scene for Justin to cover. Still, always poised to tag along for a night of fun, I checked out Dom 7 to see what we might find.
It so happens that the first night we hit up the jazz club was the same day I had taken an adventure around the city in search of an elusive three-pronged US-to-European electrical adapter (you can take the smarter route and order one online), something I had somehow forgotten to procure before jetting off to Russia. I was told in store after store that they didn’t carry what I was looking for, but every time I left empty-handed, a friendly shop employee sent me off to another location or another chain, promising that someone, somewhere could help me. This continued for several hours and resulted in more than a few rubles lost to the metro, but after a lot of frustration and confusion, I finally had what I was looking for. Suffice it to say, though, all I wanted at the end of the day was dinner and maybe a drink. All Justin wanted was some jazz. At Dom 7, we both got what we were looking for.
The jazz wasn’t live that night – live performances are usually on Sundays – but the club was playing a lot of jazz and old favorites on the sound system: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, and some instrumental works. That didn’t last too long, though, as that evening, unbeknownst to us, belonged to Julie Andrews. “The Sound of Music” (dubbed in Russian but including English subtitles) started playing on one of the walls. There was something a bit jarring about watching the von Trapp family go from speaking Russian in dialogue and then suddenly reverting back to perfect English for the musical numbers, but it was still fun to share in an impromptu screening with a bunch of jazz club-goers on a Tuesday evening.
We placed orders for borscht, cutlets, pelmeni, and minced-meat bliny. Our fellow companion Megan ordered a white Russian (because “when in Rome”), and I ordered a Pepsi, because I just really missed Pepsi. My tiny portion of room temperature Pepsi came out to be just as expensive as Megan’s alcohol. This will surely teach me a lesson about not assuming anything in Petersburg. What I also didn’t assume would be that the mincemeat bliny served with a side of sour cream would be mind-blowingly good. For just 200 rubles, or a little over six dollars, this crepe-like dish came stuffed to the hilt with seasoned mincemeat and included a generous dollop of sour cream. After not eating since the morning I still found myself totally stuffed after finishing this. No complaints here.
Megan recommends the pelmeni – she had it twice over two visits – and Justin really digs the borscht. He’s also ordered it both times we’ve ventured to the Dom 7. The pelmeni is served very simply and accompanied by a side of sour cream. The soup comes with a generous basket of black bread.
On my second visit I had another round of bliny, this time filled with tvorog, the creamy Russian cheese. Like the mincemeat bliny, this round was equally delicious. The tvorog was sweeter than usual and dotted with golden raisins. I wearily smeared some сметана on what was already perfect, though I was initially worried the clash of the sweet and sour would produce unsavory results. To my surprise, the result was just the opposite. It was oddly delicious, and Justin and Megan thought so as well. You might try out the tiramisu, which was also incredibly tasty. The dessert bliny was a bit more economical than the mincemeat bliny, coming in at 100 rubles. The tiramisu was a bit pricier at 200, though it was big enough that Megan couldn’t finish it. (Justin and I happily obliged.)
While we ordered off the starters and appetizers portion of the menu – no one’s food bill coming in more than 300 rubles – the Dom 7 also offers full-course entrees, and includes a specialty Italian pasta menu. The entrees are unsurprisingly more expensive, but the Dom 7 can still be enjoyed at a lower cost if you pick the right items.
The second round at the Dom 7, we were treated to a poetry reading by a local author before a jazz trio took the stage for the remainder of the night. While we couldn’t quite understand everything the poet was reading, we got the gist, and she appeared to have a lot of loyal fans in the audience. It was a great forum to hear Russian spoken almost musically, and was a first experience of its kind for all three of us.
For groups and faculty-led tours, Dom 7 isn’t the place to go. It’s dimly lit and seating is limited. The club is better for groups of two, three or four who’d like to get together and enjoy dessert or an inexpensive snack while watching a literary reading, musical act, or Russian-dubbed Julie Andrews.