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Picture: Visit Finland

…where the hip people are? 

Siltanen (Hämeentie 13) is a bar/club/restaurant with live music and DJs, a big terrace for sunny summer days and a dance floor for wild partying with cool arty types. Steam Hellsinki (Olavinkatu 1) is the first steampunk bar in Helsinki, with danceable electro swing tunes and a great love for detail from the zeppelin-shaped bar to lots of mechanical instruments. They serve great drinks and have over 40 gins from which to choose.

…watching a movie while having a drink? 

Riviera (Harjukatu 2) is movie theatre with a bar, or a bar with an excellent movie screen. They have a short snacks menu and a comprehensive drink list.

…the gay scene? 

For a small city, Helsinki has an active gay scene. Many of the gay bars are located centrally. Helsinki is quite GLBT-friendly; the city even has a “Gay Friendly Helsinki” network that brings together companies providing quality services for GLBT visitors. One of the biggest gay icons, Tom of Finland, originated from Helsinki. The art of Tom of Finland has been recently seen in a set of stamps published by the Finnish post, and in a textile product range by Finlayson, and his life and work were depicted in a recent film, also named Tom of Finland.

Hercules (Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 21 B) is a popular gay night club in the city centre, catering mostly to men over 30. The partying can often get rowdy, fun and outrageous.

Dtm (Mannerheimintie 6) is one of the largest nightclubs in the Nordic countries. The crowd is often younger than at Hercules, and the weekend nights can be even more frisky and boisterous.

…great views?

A must meeting-point in good weather is up at the Ateljee Bar (Kalevankatu 5). You can find this place by heading for the Sokos Hotel Torni (the sort of mini-skyscraper-looking building in the dead centre of town) and taking the elevator up to the 12th floor and the tiny spiral staircase one more level.

There’s art on the walls but the main event is outside: the view from here over the city centre is great, and on warm days they open up the rooftop terrace. The Clarion Hotel (Tyynenmerenkatu 2) is one of the tallest buildings in Helsinki, and at the top of one of its towers there is a bar called Skybar open to everybody. You can enjoy the astonishing view while having a drink or a small dish.

If you feel restless just sitting in one bar, but a pub crawl is too much for you, Spårakoff the pub tram is the answer. You can order a drink and enjoy Helsinki’s best sights for an hour. You can hop on the tram at five marked stops: at the central railway station, Linnanmäki, Opera House and Market Square tram stops. 

…partying hard the Finnish way?

What happens, if you combine Octoberfest and the Finnish way of celebrating Mayday eve (i.e drinking and being merry)? Rymy-Eetu (Erottajankatu 15-17) is a bar where singing is not only allowed but even encouraged.

There are also brass bands and waitresses sporting German milk-maid type clothes. If that’s a bit too much for you, Raffaello (Aleksanterinkatu 46) and its neighbouring bars and restaurants have outdoor tables along the Wanha Kauppakuja courtyard. Known as Mummotunneli, “the Granny Tunnel”, this is a hot party hub for the well-to-do over-30 set. 

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