What are the best bars in Helsinki?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Violetta Teetor

Sometimes I think there are more pubs than people in Helsinki but one thing’s for sure — they’re not all exactly what one might call "respectable." Here are a few that, thankfully, are:

Hotel bars are not always the coziest places to be, but the Ateljee Bar is literally out of this world. Perched on the top of the Torni Hotel sits a sophisticated bar with sweeping views over the city. Rumor has it that many a secret negotiation took place here between the Russians and the Finns, and if you listen carefully, the walls might still be whispering. Cocktails here are handmade and some of the best in town.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, Kaisla has the biggest beer selection in town with some truly no-label stuff that’s apparently bought straight from the monastery! With over 250 options, you’re spoiled for choices at this bar which offers a great beer hall atmosphere.

"Sip with Style" is the catchphrase of A21, and with good reason. Ring the doorbell at Annankatu 21 and you’re invited inside, but beware — you need a  reservation to secure your spot in this elegant lounge where every deatil of the lighting and décor has been meticulously chosen. Cocktails are the speciality and you don’t just ask for a gin and tonic, since the questions that follow might be intriguing. This is a trendy spot, indeed.

Kaarle XII, or Kalle to the locals, is more like a nightclub than a pub. Located in a gothic-looking Art Nouveau building, it houses pubs, gambling tables and a dance floor. It’s one of the oldest joints in Helsinki and is still going strong. Watch out for long lines at the weekend and if there is one, try asking the doorman in English whether you can come in. It may or may not work. This is a fun place where singles congregate to mix and mingle.

Sharing a venue with a beauty salon is somewhat quirky and different, but then there’s nothing usual about Vin-Vin. Plonk yourself down in a faux antique chair, sip on a glass of hand-selected, organic wine from a boutique winery and you'll leave feeling just a little more special than when you arrived.

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