We’re rapidly approaching the grand opening weekend for our first international expansion of Dubai’s homegrown super-brands Lock, Stock & Barrel and the impeccable Asia Asia restaurant, alongside a new brainchild concept Central. The first destination to place our global footprint? The Russian city of Kazan.
Situated on the banks of the Volga and Kazanka rivers, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan is calling me; or, rather, I’m being summoned. Not that this is in any way something I begrudge. Super excited doesn’t quite to it justice .
Bouncing on planes to rock new parties, venues, and cities is something that comes quite naturally to me. This will be my first trip to Mother Russia as a fully grown human. My last visit there was back in the days of the USSR when – for reasons I still don’t fully understand – my parents took me there for some bizarre family holiday when I was aged 5.
That trip didn’t go so well for me personally. First off, I got stopped by security who doubted I was actually the child on my mother’s passport and – as Dad chuckled in the background – I had to attempt to pull the same face in my passport pic to ‘prove’ I was indeed my parent’s child. This was also a time before Coca Cola had arrived and the food didn’t quite appeal to my diet of strictly Frosties and French fries .
Alas, my taste buds have – thankfully – developed since then. As has my (still quite basic) grasp of the language; I vaguely remember mother dearest saying I had a teddy bear called Spaciba (Спасибо in Russian, thank you in English) during my visit but I’m buggered if I can remember too much from that trip.
So for the first time in approximately 30 years (ah-hem) I will be returning to Russia, and heading to its sixth most populous city (with approx. 1.4 million inhabitants); the City of Sports or the Third Capital of Russia as it’s also known. More specifically: this mission is a lot more exciting than the last.
This time I won’t be dragged around such boring entities (for a five-year-old) such as the Royal Moscow Ballet or (I imagine) museums I had no interest in. I won’t be nose-deep in the snow either. This time, I’m going for action, lights, and some nightlife hedonism – in a purely business research sense naturally. I’m heading out there tasked with running around the city, making friends, and getting as many people to wine, dine, and party with us as humanly possible.
It’s a tough gig. It’s a gig that requires absolutely nothing less than a true party professional approach ; some sort of wild workaholic who thrives on busying himself in the day with key meetings and by night hosting as many party people and food fanatics as he can possibly find.
So Russia Here we Come! Brace yourself please: Lock, Stock & Barrel, Asia Asia and Central are about to let loose on the population of Kazan – and, with that, comes some great responsibility to live lavishly as you’ve never done before.