Hidden behind black glass doors, Big Wine Freaks is a loud name for such a discreet a venue. Located on the corner of what was Uprising Square, in the shadow of one of Stalin’s imposing seven sisters, the bar – affectionately known as Freaks by its wine trader owners – is the more glammed-up sibling of the original in St Petersburg.

Inside, old world charm meets new world cool via a chic New York loft-style interior, courtesy of Tuscany-based studio, B-Arch; bespoke Italian medusa chandeliers produce dappled light on gold-flecked cementino bar counters by ZR Lab, complemented by the glow from vintage floor lamps on an original 19th century ceiling. There’s a hint of the Ottoman in the interior with its plush red and orange Dedar fabrics and turquoise resin floor that contrast with matt metal ventilation, brick and wood in the ceiling. Yet thick pile Jan Kath designed carpets from his From Russia With Love series, hanging on walls make the place unmistakably Russian.

Bar stools rotate at a rapid rate and strangers rub shoulders, brought together by a love of wine – not any but biodynamic, organic and natural ones – selected by head sommelier Andrei Larin and served in handmade glassware on stiletto-slim stems by Zalto. Chef Marat Kalaidjian’s elegantly eclectic and constantly changing menu reflects a growing trend for tradition with a nod to the orient: kholodets (beef in aspic) with horseradish; dim sum; tempura; and sturgeon with pumpkin purée presented on crockery by Richard Ginori.

A signature scent by hand-poured candle company Great Trotter and a specially created soundtrack enhance the overall enjoyment. Far from a freak show, the vibe here is unexpected and surely here to stay.