Remeniscent of a cowboy bar half a world away, it is only the crowd and the beer selection that gives away the host country for Pub 501. A single set of stairs leads down from ground level to a single room illuminated by the orange glow of incandescent lamps in brass fixtures. Overhead, large wooden beams support a low ceiling decorated with paraphernalia of the American West. The walls are filled with branding irons, arrow-pierced hats, boots, steer horns, ceramic pottery, and the occasional portrait of Wild West icons such Annie Oakley. A dozen wooden dining tables and booths line the right half of the room with a small stage and three-piece band setup to the rear. A medium-sized lacquered wooden bar covers the left side of the room, complete with backless wooden stools. A silent TV peers down from above while rock music plays during band breaks. Russian language liquor mirrors surround the full bar's selection, making it clear to all that this isn't Kansas. The painted ceramic and brass tap towers feature Guinness, Harp, Cashels Cider and Baltika. The later being the local favorite and costing just over $1 (35 Rubles) for a half liter mug. The menu of light food is in Russian but the management and staff speak good English and are very accommodating. Smoking is allowed everywhere but isn't as pervasive as in most bars. In case your cultural experience in the heart of Siberia needs another out-of-the-ordinary stop, be sure to look up Pub 501 and say howdy.
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