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Entries / Drinking Establishments

Drinking Establishments

Categories / Population/Urban Living

DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS. Special places where alcoholic beverages are sold to be drunk on the premises appeared in St. Petersburg in the first years of its existence. One of the first drinking establishments is likely to have been the Avsteria, strong drinks were also offered in numerous korchmas (later- in kharchevny (taverns)) and in inns (in St. Petersburg all establishments of this kind were called kabaks). A type of drinking house were the traktirs (taverns), run mainly by foreigners. For common people there were public drinking houses or so-called “kruzhala” (located usually in cellars of buildings standing at the crossroads), where wine, vodka, beer and honey were sold in small glasses. In 1746, all public houses were ordered to have a sign Public Drinking House at the entrance (since 1779 - just Drinking House), under Emperor Alexander I the State Emblem appeared on signs of drinking establishments. In the 1750s in St. Petersburg, 65 so-called drinking cellars functioned where one could buy "overseas wine drinks". New types of drinking establishments appeared with the advent of quality wines and increase of different beers and other liquors. Particularly popular were porternye, where beer (for taking away and drinking there) and snacks to accompany them: soaked peas, whitebait, croutons, and crawfish were served (in 1898 in St. Petersburg there were 668 porternye). In renskovy (Rhein) cellars wines were sold. Townspeople called the drinking establishments either by the name of its owner or by the place where it located or gave it a nickname ("Dunkin kabak"). Some names of the city establishments originate from neighboring drinking houses (Polozova and Shamsheva Streets, Glazov and Kokushkin Bridges were named after owners of drinking establishments located there). In 1874 in St. Petersburg there were 1475 "drinking houses". The regulations of 1894 prohibited the of hire servants under the age of 15 in drinking houses. Drinking establishments were crippled by the "dry law" that remained in force in Russia from 1914 to 1925. Many drinking houses were closed down for illegally selling wine. Since the middle of the 1920s any establishment serving food (except for factories-kitchens and dietary canteens) was in fact a drinking house: restaurants, cafes and other establishments of Soviet times attracted customers mainly as places where strong drinks could be bought (even in 1985, when the sale of alcohol in shops was restricted, in ice-cream cafes wine was sold on draught). Drinking houses essentially became ryumochnaya. Since the late 1990s the number of bars and other "decent" drinking houses has increased.

References: Прыжов И.Г. История кабаков в России. М., 1992; Богданов А.И. Описание Санкт-Петербурга. СПб., 1997. p. 199-200; Конечный А.М. "Трактирные заведения" как факт быта и литературной жизни старого Петербурга // Europa Orientalis. 1998. Vol. 17, N 1. P. 19-42; Лебина Н.Б. "Питие определяет сознание" // Родина. 2003. № 4. p. 85-89.

I. A. Bogdanov.

Alexander I, Emperor

Polozova St./Saint Petersburg, city
Shamsheva St./Saint Petersburg, city

Прыжов И. Г. История кабаков в России. М., 1992
Богданов А. И. Описание Санктпетербурга. СПб., 1997
Конечный А. М. "Трактирные заведения" как факт быта и литературной жизни старого Петербурга // Europa Orientalis, 1998

Traktirs (entry)

TRAKTIRS. Taverns, inns, and hotels with restaurants (eating-houses); from the second half of the 19th century, they were much like restaurants, but of a lower rank. In St