Rovaniemi in northern Finland is the home of Santa Claus, reindeer and arctic snows, but also a vibrant bar and restaurant scene. There are many locations throughout the city for a night out, a romantic date or a relaxing nightcap, and all with tasty food and attractive surroundings. These are some of the best bars and places to stop for a drink in Rovaniemi to suit any budget.
Bull Bar & Grill
Bar, Hotel Restaurant, American, Finnish, $$$
A casual ‘rock and roll’ American-themed bar in the basement of the Arctic City Hotel. Bar food such as burgers, fries, buffalo wings and ribs are served in a mostly American style with large portions (such as the ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ burger), but still have the Lapland staple of reindeer on the menu. You can also find sports games playing on the television and bar games such as beer pong. The bar’s crowd is a mixture of both tourists and locals, creating a fun and social atmosphere and a good place to meet new people.
Rakas Restaurant & Bar
Restaurant, Finnish, $$$
and bar next to the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel a few kilometres outside of Rovaniemi is in a beautiful, modern building surrounded by trees. The floor-to-ceiling front window offers one of the most romantic views in Rovaniemi, and you can sometimes spot the Aurora Borealis from there. The interior is modern and stylish but still cosy and comfortable, particularly next to the fireplace. The ambience is highly relaxing, but there are still regular events and live music as well. The bar serves cocktails (and can also make mocktails for children), which can be enjoyed with a meal or something lighter such as a cheese board.
Restaurant, Finnish, $$$
One of Rovaniemi’s most highly recommended fine dining establishments also has a cosy, stylish and romantic lounge area for pre-meal drinks while waiting for a table or for a nightcap. Available from the bar is a large selection of beer, wine and champagne, which can be recommended by the servers or paired well with restaurant meals.
Arctic Light Hotel
The hotel’s Lasiterassi or ‘winter garden’ cocktail bar is also open to non-residents as both a place to relax or enjoy the regular DJ nights. The bar is cosy, providing a light, summery atmosphere even in the darkest part of the winter
. There is also a mixologist on-site to make up some quality cocktails, which can be paired with food platters for sharing.
Kauppayhtiö Bar & Grill
Bar, Cafe, Diner, North American, Finnish, $$$
A low-key restaurant, bar and café that claims to serve the best burgers and pizzas in town alongside a full bar of beers and other drinks, all of which are highly affordable for student budgets. Since the bar is in a repurposed former department store building, the interior also has a retro American style. Pinball machines, arcade games and the occasional live music performance all go together to create a fun but relaxing atmosphere. While some of the locals consider this to be a ‘hipster’ establishment, it is actually open and inviting for anyone to spend a few hours chilling out. The staff is also incredibly friendly and welcoming, and most speak fluent English.