The Finnish capital of Helsinki lies on the Baltic Sea coast and is a youthful and exciting city filled with energy and modern design. We’ve picked the 10 best bars to help you settle into the unique groove of this Finnish metropolis.
One of Helsinki’s most popular rooftop bars, Ateljee is located on the top floor of Hotel Torni, one of central Helsinki’s tallest buildings. There you can find the best views of downtown Helsinki, which is especially magical during the sunset or the Midnight Sun, when the sky is bright even late into the evening. The cocktails are perfect for cooling down on a hot day or just to sip while taking in the scenery.
At Bruuveri in the Kamppi shopping centre you can find a traditional pub atmosphere and good, filling food right in the middle of Helsinki. Pub favourites such as burgers, sausage and mash and chicken wings, plus a selection of beers from the bar’s own brewery, create a chill vibe for hanging out with friends.
A wine bar and tapas restaurant, Bar Cón is located on the roof of Kamppi shopping centre and the glass-paneled terrace has some excellent views over the city. The tropical decor with evergreen plants and wicker furniture feels especially warm and welcoming in the middle of the cold Nordic winter. The tapas menu is inspired by popular Barcelona flavours with ingredients imported from Spain.
Juttutupa is one of the oldest restaurant-bars in Helsinki and the striking, almost castle-like building has a fascinating history behind it. Dating back to 1884, Vladimir Lenin and Otto-Ville Kuusinen used to meet there to plot their revolution. You can still see the ‘revolution table’ where they sat. Today, Juttutupa has a much friendlier atmosphere with delicious food and a range of Finnish beers. Finnish favourites such as salmon soup and reindeer with mashed potato and lingonberries are available for a reasonable price.
Latva, meaning ‘treetop’ in Finnish, is situated in the basement of an old apartment building. Best described as a hip Finnish-style tapas bar, Latva is a wonderful place to escape the Friday night clubbing crowd for a quiet evening with friends. The ambiance here is very civil and the bar offers quality micro-brews and an excellent wine selection. You cannot go wrong if you have lunch here, either, as the food is superb and there is unlimited coffee.
A classic rock-and-roll-themed bar in the trendy Kallio district, Bar Loosister is popular among local students, hipsters and artists who are looking for something a little bit different. Most of the time, the bar is quiet and relaxing and even has a sauna to rent. The bar also sells a range of both vegetarian and meat dishes, including an unusual wild boar pizza.
For a summer’s afternoon of relaxing by the sea with a cold drink, you can’t get much better than Mattolaituri, located right on the southernmost tip of mainland Helsinki. With a pleasing view of the Baltic Sea and the rocky islands, the outdoor wine bar has a lively atmosphere during the summer, and even has a few beach deckchairs for sunbathing.
Combining a live gig venue, a restaurant and a bar, Siltanen offers an all-encompassing experience in Helsinki’s north. The brunch on offer is wonderful and fairly priced; the drinks are at a premium but they go down well when accompanied by the regular live bands, local or international, who play a variety of different genres.
A recently opened hidden gem in the luxurious and artistic Hotel St George, the Wintergarden bar is located in a stunning glass-roofed building. Most notable of all is the amazing bird sculpture by Pekka Jylhä, which appears to be swooping over the lounge area. Art-lovers will enjoy taking in the sculpture and the rest of the hotel’s stunning art collection in a calm and classy environment with some delicious cocktails and simple dishes.
While this bar has the look and feel of a classic English pub, it is actually a tribute to and named after beloved Finnish president Urho Kekkonen, who was a regular of the pub. Pictures of Kekkonen now line the walls, but regulars go there for the quality food, real ales, regular live entertainment and the sunny outdoor terrace.