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Prague Restaurant

2 Arbat
3.19
This two-story building with rounded front corner was constructed at the end of the 18th century. Apartments were rented out for a long time. Prague (Praga) tavern opened its doors in the second half of the 19th century. Cart-drivers were the most frequent customers of the tavern. They reworked this unfamiliar foreign name into a more native “Praga” (the basis for traditional Russian hootch)

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The house passed to the merchant P.S. Tararykin, who lived next door at No. 5 on Arbat street at the beginning of the 20th century. He remodeled the tavern and opened an upscale restaurant meant for the prosperous, educated Muscovites. Architect L.N. Kekushev headed the reconstruction project. Prague restaurant than became famous for its annual “Rubinstein lunches”, meetings of Conservatory professors and students and banquets in honor of intelligentsia. Prague restaurant got a facelift in 1914. Architect A.E. Erichsohn heavily reconstructed the building, colonnade appeared on the roof along with numerous offices of different size and design. Even the restaurant’s crockery was manufactured to a special order. The caption on the plates stated “Greetings from Tararykin”. The Prague became the scene of several important Russian cultural events. Society for Russian History and Antiquities conducted sessions here under the leadership of V.O. Klyuchevsky. The restaurant closed down after the revolution in 1917. The building became home to the Higher Dramatic Courses, a library and shops. Mosselprom (the MOSPO cafeteria) opened here in 1924. Famous Russian writers Ilf and Petrov brought one of the main characters of their novel “The Twelve Chairs” Kisa Vorobyaninov here. This elder man squandered the majority of his funds spared for the chair purchase trying to seduce student Liza. The cafeteria used to be public until 1930s and then it became NKVD officer’s only private dining room. The building contained a cinema and shops. It was decided to reopen the large and fashionable Prague restaurant as a sign of Stalin’s era completion in 1954. Architect B. Sobolevsky led the reconstruction and building add-on project. Designers from Czechoslovakia contributed to the new look of the interiors. The Prague became one of the venues for official diplomatic receptions. There is a famous Prague store on the Arbat side of the building. There you can always buy some of the best cakes and baked delicatessen in the city.

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