With the Sochi Olympics fast approaching, there’s no doubt that you’ve got Russia on the mind. For many, between Putin’s Pussy Riot scandal and inhumane treatment of the LGBT community, there’s a lot of negativity in there—and with good reason. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate the (sometimes over the top) culture, the foods and, of course, the vodka that the country’s immigrants have institutionalized in a number of establishments across the city.

As referenced in a New York Times article by novelist Alexander Nazaryn, William Pokhlyobkin, famed Russian culinary author—and passionate defender of vodka consumption—notes, “the correct role of vodka at a table is to accompany and to highlight exclusively Russian national dishes. Above all, vodka is the appropriate drink with meat and meat-cereal dishes, with salty and sharp-tasting dishes, and with fish.” Nazaryn believes that since Russians, culturally, treat drinking as a part of a complete gastronomic experience, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there aren’t many Russian bars, but rather plenty of restaurant/lounge/nightclub establishments where everything is intertwined. So make sure you’re thirsty for booze and conversation and hungry enough to stuff your face with everything from smoked fish to beef Stroganoff and still hit the dance floor.

RELATED: Proof Sochi Hotels Are a Hot Mess
RELATED: This Is What the 2014 Winter Olympics Would Look Like in NYC 
RELATED: Russian City Hit with Second Deadly Bombing in Two Days 
RELATED: NYC's 25 Douchiest Bars