From drug-testing lab to gastro pub: Sochi happy not to forget dark past
It was home to what the McLaren report details as one of the most elaborate doping ploys in sport history.
Just a stone's throw from Fisht Stadium in Sochi, the infamous building housed Russia's state-sponsored anti-doping laboratory for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
At the centre of the controversy, 'Room 124' – a storage space converted into a lab – where urine samples were passed through a hole in the wall and swapped with clean bottles, claims that came to light from Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, in the New York Times back in May 2016.
The hole in the wall was concealed by a small faux-wood cabinet during the day - as an institutional conspiracy, albeit one denied by Russian officials to this day, remained hidden from wider view.
Revelations concerning the scandal, detailed in the McLaren report of 2016, tarnished Russia's reputation, casting a dark shadow over the country. However, four years on and the building still stands, albeit with a different name and feel.
Last night, we visited ‘La Punto’.— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) June 21, 2018
It’s a gastro pub in Sochi but not so long ago, it was a drug-testing laboratory during Russia’s infamous state-sponsored doping scheme.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/6LtZwn32wi
'La Punto' is a gastro-themed restaurant with a humorous homage to the past.
As soon as you step foot into the pub, it's not immediately obvious what transpired here in 2014.
Waiters walk around in full football kits amid the World Cup festivities – Russia and Portugal jerseys the teams of choice on this particular day.
And it's not until the menu emerges that you realise this establishment is happy to poke fun at its history.
The cocktail list includes a reference to the scandal of four years ago – 'B Sample' and 'Meldonium' popular among World Cup fans.
When it comes to food, the famous cheeseburger arrives with a pair of gloves, a growing trend in Russia to combat the beef's juices.
Leaving the premises, the number of side rooms become more obvious as the events of 2014 lurk.
It is clear to see the establishment is capitalising on the influx of supporters and the first major event since the Winter Olympics, and they're keen not to forget about the ugly past.