The best bars in Helsinki, Finland...

 

Helsinki offers some great cocktail bars however the focus is largely on ales, both imported and locally brewed. With alcohol over 4.7% ABV distributed by the government, prices are slightly higher than in many other European cities.

 
 
  • Most Helsinki bars only get busy after 21:00 and remain busy until the early hours, most closing around 01:00 or 02:00. Nightclubs usually close around 04:00
  • Helsinki is a small city and can be easily explored by foot
  • Many bars in Helsinki offer Finnish beers, including Sahti (a juniper flavoured grain beer), as well as Finnish vodka and the similar Koskenkorva (or Kossu) spirit; the famous Finlandia vodka is made just 45km from Helsinki
  • Nearly all bars in Helsinki prefer payment by credit or debit card
  • Staff in all Helsinki bars speak fluent English and usually Swedish
  • Smoking is not allowed in Helsinki bars
  • Nearly all bars in Helsinki offer free WiFi, even at the older establishments
  • Generally, the locals do not tip as they usually pay by card, however bars do have tip jars for loose change
  • Tallinn is only 1 hour 40 minutes away by ferry and should be visited if you have time

 

 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Sparakoff Tram

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Sparakoff Tram

1 ~ SpåraKOFF

One of the best ways to experience the sights of Helsinki is to jump on the famous old red pub tram which rides through the city centre from mid-May to the end of August. The classic 30 seat pub car dates back to 1959 and is furnished with mahogany, brass and velvet. The city tour begins at the Mikonkatu tram stop near the Central Railway Station and departs every hour from 14:00 to 20:00, Tuesday to Saturday. Providing a fantastic alternative to pub crawling, the bar on board offers Finnish beers from the Koff brewery, ciders and soft drinks, alongside shots of Salmiakki, Jalovina and the 250 times distilled Koskenkorva vodka. There's no need to pre-book (it costs around €9) and you can stay on for the entire hour long ride or jump on and off at Linnanmäki, Opera House, Old Student House at Aleksanterinkatu and Market Square tram stops. Stand at the back of the tram, or sit on the left, for the best views.

Beer (0.5l) €9+  Wine  €7+

Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (3 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Trillby & Chadwick Detective Agency / Photo: trillbychadwick.fi

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Trillby & Chadwick Detective Agency / Photo: trillbychadwick.fi

2 ~ Trillby & Chadwick Detective Agency

To find this amazing secret speakeasy from the guys behind Liberty & Death, 100 Dogs, and Antiques & Books (all below), you will have to do some of your own detective work.  Themed as the 1920's Helsinki branch of a London detective agency set up to support the enforcement of Finland’s prohibition laws and combat alcohol smuggling, it's hidden behind an unmarked wooden door on the short Katariinankatu street. Behind which, you will find a vintage telephone, from which you will need to call and ask to make an appointment with Trillby. If there's room, they will invite you through a second set of doors to a beautiful small bar which could be taken straight from Sherlock Holmes. As you'd expect from these guys, the cocktails are incredible. Case solved. Closed Sunday.

Cocktails Not known   Beer (0.5l) Not known  Wine  Not known

Kaisaniemen (7 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Steam / Photo: HN Photography Facebook SteamHellsinki

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Steam / Photo: HN Photography Facebook SteamHellsinki

3 ~ Steam Hellsinki

Opened in March 2015 by the same people behind Navy Jerry's (below), this was the first bar in Finland to be inspired by steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and designs inspired by the steam-powered machines of the 1800's Industrial Revolution. The unique interior design with it's airship bar, electro swing music, huge G&T menu and friendly atmosphere has made this one of the most popular bars in Helsinki. There's cocktail masterclasses and, with possibly the biggest collection in Finland, a Gin Masterclass also available. Open until 04:00. Closed Sunday.

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Kampin (4 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ A21 / Photo: Facebook A21Decades

Best Bars Helsinki ~ A21 / Photo: Facebook A21Decades

4 ~ A21 DECADES

Ring the doorbell of Timo Siitonen's stylish award-winning Helsinki cocktail bar and discover a world of fantastic drinks which embrace the ingredients of Finland, pushing the existing boundaries of mixology.  Reviving old mixes from the 1960s to 1990s, with a focus on Nordic ingredients. Taste the Finnish berries in the "Suomen Neito", birch trees in "Koivu 3.0" or even Savusauna in "Smoked Sauna" or try the Koskenkorva Viina (or Kossu), a clear spirit made from barley. Even the beers contain Jaloviina (a Finnish cut brandy with no sugar whatsoever). An extensive "Gin & Tonic Laboratory" showcases different ways of building a perfect gin and tonic, each served in a Spanish balloon glass. They also offer regularly cocktail events and tasting sessions, where you can learn how to make cocktails and discover new flavours. Closed Sunday and Monday.

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Kampin (6 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Suomenlinnan Panimo

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Suomenlinnan Panimo

5 ~ Suomenlinnan Panimo

Situated on a group of islands just a 15 miute boat ride from Helsinki's Market Square, Suomenlinna was built in 1748 during the Swedish era as a maritime fortress and a base for the Archipelago Fleet. In 1808 it was besieged by the Russians and remained in their control until the revolution in 1917 when Finland became independent. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions offering plenty of cafes, restaurants and museums. Brewing has been a strong tradition of the fortress with the first soldiers bringing beer barrels with them in the 1700s. Today, beer is still made on Soumenlinna with the castle brewery opening in 1995. Only a few steps from the ferry pier, in the Jetty Barracks built during the Russian era, the brewery boasts a restaurant with its own bar and summertime terrace, making it a must-visit when in Helsinki (open until 22:00, May to August 31st).

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Suomenlinna (1 minute walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Kappeli

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Kappeli

6 ~ Kappeli

You will struggle to find many more beautiful bars in Europe, let alone Helsinki, than this stunning glass atrium that dates back to 1867. A modern bar, cafe, restaurant and summer nightclub that embraces old traditions, this is certainly a must-visit for any visitors to the Finnish capital. The drink selection is comprehensive with a good assortment of local beers as well as wines, classic cocktails and Champagnes. You can read the daily news comfortably on the leather sofas, share drinks with friends, catch the sun on the huge popular terrace, listen to live piano music on Friday nights or just relax listening to the upbeat music. On Saturday evenings (May until end of August), the cafe also transforms into a vibrant nightclub with live music and top DJs. Open every day until midnight.

Cocktails €9+   Beer (0.5l) €8.50+  Wine  €8+

Kaisaniemen (7 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Ravintola Teatteri

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Ravintola Teatteri

7 ~ RAVINTOLA TEATTERI

Built back in 1935, the Svenka Teatern (Swedish Theatre) is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Finnish capital and is now home to six of the best restaurants and bars in Helsinki. Aside from a grill restaurant and a wine and deli, there is the excellent Teatteribaari, an all day long cocktail lounge bar with DJs each night (Monday - Saturday), the Kellobaari which comes to live after dark (Wednesday - Saturday until 04:00), and the Klubi nightclub (Thursday - Saturday until 04:00) with its beautiful terrace ideal for the 19 hours of sunshine Helsinki enjoys in the summer. This is Helsinki at its best. Closed Sunday.

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Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (6 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Grotesk / Photo: grotesk.fi

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Grotesk / Photo: grotesk.fi

8 ~ Bar Grotesk

Located in a former printing house of Helsingin Sanomat and named after the Grotesk font, this is one of the best cocktail bars in Helsinki. Originally opened in November 2007 by Teemu Aura and Tommi Tuominen, the team behind Michelin-star restaurant Demo, the short cocktail menu offers some of the best drinks in the city whilst the atmosphere is one of the most vibrant thanks to DJs and an outside summer terrace. The wine list is impressive (Hugel Pinot Gris is the house white, for example) and with every bottle marked up by €20 instead of by the usual percentage, it means you can enjoy exceptionally high quality wines at an affordable price. The attached restaurant specialises in meat whilst a cellar downstairs is a cool place to hold a private party. Closed Sunday & Monday.

Cocktails €12.50+   Beer (0.5l) €11.50+  Wine  €7+

Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (10 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Zetor / Photo: Facebook ravintolazetor

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Zetor / Photo: Facebook ravintolazetor

9 ~ ZETOR

This large fun pub and restaurant from Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki is certainly unique. Inspired by his cult 1989 movie "Leningrad Cowboys Go America", it boasts a Cold War tractor theme with many of the vintage Czech machines decorating the country farm-style room. There's a good choice of Finnish beers and booze, including Sahti, a traditional ale flavoured with juniper berries. With a menu translated into 22 languages, it's certainly tourist friendly. Open daily (until 04:00 at weekends). 

Cocktails €6.50+   Beer (0.5l) €8+  Wine  Not known

Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (4 minutes)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Bryggeri Helsinki / Photo: Facebook BryggeriHelsinki

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Bryggeri Helsinki / Photo: Facebook BryggeriHelsinki

10 ~ Bryggeri Helsinki

Opened in 2013 and located just a block from Helsinki Cathedral, this popular micro brewery boasts beautiful copper beer kettles in full view of visitors to its bar, restaurant and beer garden. German brew master Mathias Hüffner creates the beers on site using Finnish malt barley, with four on tap and a further five available by the bottle, our favourite being the Bryggeri Weizen 5,0%. Closed Sundays

Beer (0.5l) €8+  Wine  €7+

Kaisaniemen (7 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Liberty Or Death / Photo: Facebook sonofapunch

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Liberty Or Death / Photo: Facebook sonofapunch

11 ~ Liberty Or Death

This tiny cocktail bar can be found next to the Kartell Flagship Store at no.5 Erottajankatu. In a dark candlelit room, amongst the bookshelves, spice jars and exposed brick walls, you will enjoy some of the best cocktails in all of the Nordic countries. The incredibly heavy menu is elaborate but short and, with the exception of modern design furniture, a 1920s influence runs throughout, with appropriately dressed bartenders, crackly jazz music and vintage glasses. Closed Sunday.

Cocktails €12+   Beer (0.5l) €5+  Wine  Not known

Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (11 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Books & Antiques / Photo: Facebook Books-Antiques

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Books & Antiques / Photo: Facebook Books-Antiques

12 ~ Books & Antiques

If you want to impress your friends, then head to the 100 Dogs dive bar (below) and ask for "books and antiques".  If you're lucky, they'll open the locked door to this secret speakeasy cocktail bar which has room for just 20 people - get there early to avoid disappointment. Open Wednesday - Saturday until 01:00.

Cocktails Not known   Beer (0.5l) Not known  Wine  Not known

Kampin (5 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Atelier Bar / Photo: Facebook sokoshoteltorni

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Atelier Bar / Photo: Facebook sokoshoteltorni

13 ~ Ateljée Bar

The cocktail bar on the 14th floor of Hotel Torni offers the best view of Helsinki and is a great place to start your night.  The elevator drops you off on the 13th floor and then a narrow spiral staircase, with barely enough room for one up, one down, takes you to the tiny bar with a huge panorama and a pleasant open terrace on nice days. Open as late as 02:00. 

Cocktails €12.50+   Beer (0.5l) €7.50+  Wine  Not known

Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (8 minutes)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Teerenpeli Kamppi / Photo: Facebook Evelyn Bencicova photography

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Teerenpeli Kamppi / Photo: Facebook Evelyn Bencicova photography

14 ~ Teerenpeli Kamppi

Teerenpeli Brewery was established 100km north east of Helsinki in Lahti during 1995 as one of the first microbreweries in Finland. Using only real and original raw materials without additives, their beer and cider was so popular they soon upgraded from 60 litres production to 250 litres and, when a new 1,500 litre brewhouse was built in 2002, the old smaller brewery equipment was relocated to their new Helsinki microbrewery in 2006 and is still used today to brew seven speciality beers and four ciders exclusively on site, with tasting flights available. Over 20's only. Today, the family-owned company brews over 500,000 litres for bars all over Finland, including their new Taivaanranta Grill & Craft Beer restaurant, located across the road.

Beer (0.5l) €6.50+  Wine  €6+

Kampin (4 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Hernesaarenranta / Photo: Facebook Pyry Antero Photography

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Hernesaarenranta / Photo: Facebook Pyry Antero Photography

15 ~ Hernesaaren Ranta

The place to party in summer, this harbourside collection of pop-up bars, restaurants and beach clubs can be found in the southern peninsula, 3km from Helsinki main station. A non-stop bus runs from Spring, taking just 10 minutes to the beach. Together with a choice of restaurants you can enjoy drinks as you sunbathe on the deckchairs with a view of the city's skyline, from the Seaside Bar or the Champagne & Wine Bar, before DJs whip up the atmosphere in the early evening. Lodges can be booked if you want to make a full night out of it. Open until 02:00, June until September (check Facebook).

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Telakkakatu Tram Stop (16 minutes walk)

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 Best Clubs Helsinki ~ Kaivohuone / Photo: kaivohuone.fi

Best Clubs Helsinki ~ Kaivohuone / Photo: kaivohuone.fi

16 ~ KAIVOHUONE

Set in a beautiful old building which dates back to 1838, this huge nightclub and terrace bar in gardens south of the city centre comes complete with a swimming pool. Open every day from lunch as a cafe, it also turns into a nightclub May to August on Wednesdays and Fridays (minimum 20 years old) and Saturdays (over 24), although the crowd often seem to be younger. Special DJ nights and live concerts are also held throughout the year (check here). DJ s play chart hits, house, pop and R'n'B and the whole thing feels like a huge beach party with so much bare skin on show. there's seven bars in total including an upstairs room that plays Finnish music. This is definitely worth visiting although expect long queues. Open until 04:00

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Kaivopuisto Tram Stop (3 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ 100 Dogs / Photo: Facebook 100-Dogs

Best Bars Helsinki ~ 100 Dogs / Photo: Facebook 100-Dogs

17 ~ 100 Dogs

The guys behind Liberty Or Death (above) are also the 20 strong mixology dream team known as Son Of A Punch. Lead by Mika Koivula, Luca Bertamini and chef Simo Pietarinen they have been responsible for some of the best pop-up bars in Helsinki, including our sadly-missed favourite and impossible to pronounce, Kyrönmaan Matkailun Edistämiskeskus, a summer 2014 bar specialising in first batch rye and gin from the eastern region of Finland. 100 Dogs was another pop-up, a Texan hillbilly bar selling only 100 hot dogs a day with bourbon cocktails in 2012. It was so popular that it now has its own permanent less Texan, more Asian home. Inspired by Shinjuku Golden Gai bar in Tokyo, this is a dive bar which serves delicious savoury hot dogs, cheap draft beer and affordable beautiful cocktails. If you ask at the bar, for "books and antiques", they will also let you into their secret speakeasy (above). Closed Monday.

Cocktails €10.50+   Beer (0.5l) €3.50+  Wine €8.50+

Kampin (5 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Sling In / Photo: Facebook SlingInBar

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Sling In / Photo: Facebook SlingInBar

18 ~ Sling In

When it opened in 1999, this was Helsinki's first quality cocktail bar and was even recognised as one of the best bars in the world at the time. Today, the drinks are just as good, with over 900 to choose from including many lactose intolerant options. Located on the second floor of the rather unattractive Mikonkatu 8A - walk up the wide stairs from the courtyard following the signs to the second floor and choose from the cafe or the bar - the decor may not be as sleek as some of the new boys in town and the rock and metal soundtrack may be less 1920's jazz and swing, but you will struggle to find a more welcoming place to enjoy top drawer cocktails, including the signature Singapore Sling, from which the bar takes its name. Open until 02:00 Monday - Thursday, and 03:00 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

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Helsingin Päärautatieasema-Helsingfors Centralstation (4 minutes)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Navy Jerry's / Photo: Facebook navyjerrysrumbar

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Navy Jerry's / Photo: Facebook navyjerrysrumbar

19 ~ Navy Jerry's

Open every day until 04:00, this is your go to place when you want to step out of dark, wet and cold Helsinki and to the gentle waves of the Caribbean.  An eclectic blend of Pacific kitsch and naval officer’s mess, the extensive list of Tiki and classic cocktails alongside 60 rums, all served to the soundtrack of DJs spinning 50’s and 60’s Rockabilly and Motown to the packed dancefloor. There's cocktail masterclasses available, free table football and the bar is a scale model of an aircraft carrier complete with a torpedo as a footrest. Always busy, always fun - expect to queue, especially after midnight. Cloakroom €3+.

Cocktails €12+   Beer (0.5l) €7+  Wine  Not known

Kampin (6 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Helsinki ~ Jailyard Terrace / Photo: hotelkatajanokka.fi

Best Bars Helsinki ~ Jailyard Terrace / Photo: hotelkatajanokka.fi

20 ~ JAIL YARD Terrace

Located on an island in the Hotel Katajanokka, a pleasant walk or tram ride across the bridge from the city centre, this former prison dates back to 1837 and is worth heading to on sunny days for great drinks, live music and tranquil surroundings. The former cells of the Milieu Jail now serve as luxury hotel rooms whilst the terrace bar is located inside the former jail yard and is surrounded by a green park. If it's too cold or wet to sit in the jail yard, the hotel also offers a separate pub, located in a cellar with the sun shining through the metal bars on the window. It's easy to forget the building's original purpose whilst you're sat here having fun.

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Kaisaniemen (20 minutes walk)

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Last updated 26 Feb 2016