At Pravda, punk plays on the stereo, the girl at the bar has flamingo-hued hair, and a muscled man is passed out on the Victorian fainting couch. The name is Russian, the walls are Soviet-gray splashed with Communist red, but the house drink is absinth not vodka. The bartenders carefully pour the recently legalised spirit over a sugar cube and dilute it with water from a silver fountain. The green elixir was once believed to drive people mad. It’s the high alcohol content, not any hallucinogenic properties, that might lead you to collapse on your own couch.