Journalist Arttu Tolonen takes you around Kallio on a tour of the legendary bars of the old working class district – without forgetting the food.
- Route overview
- Exodus Bar
- Kustaa Vaasa
- A midnight snack at Harrin Nakki
The food is good, but don’t forget to take off your hat before they bring you your meal. The chef won’t tolerate bad table manners.
Cella. Fleminginkatu 15. Open Mon-Fri from 2:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat-Sun from noon until 2 a.m.
The photos tell you everything you need to know. Go to Exodus if you’re into the stink of wet sweaters and bad reggae.
Exodus Bar, Kaarlenkatu 10.
Probably the best food in the district and the most laid-back atmosphere, too. The furniture has been put together from various flea markets.
Pelmenit. Kustaankatu 7. Open Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., Sat-Sun from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Enjoy a pint or two at Heinähattu and play loud punk rock on the jukebox. Watch out for the swinging wallet chains when people go out for a smoke.
Heinähattu, Vaasankatu 23.
A classic Kallio bar, slightly watered-down for the younger generation. Perfect for pretending you’re down and out! A beer bought with student loan money always tastes better.
Kustaa Vaasa, Vaasankatu 10. Open Mon-Fri from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., Sat-Sun from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Dark atmosphere and kitsch in the core of Kallio. Due to the age limit (23!), it’s favoured by the older generation of artists.
Kultapalmu, Vaasankatu 8.
Like Kustaa Vaasa, but without that watering-down…
Ravintola Tenkka, Helsinginkatu 15. Open Mon-Sun from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m.
Finding people to talk to is probably easier in Sirdie than anywhere else. Actually, avoiding them might be difficult. A classic quote: “Sibelius probably didn’t realise either that people would be listening to his tunes 400 years later!” (Sibelius, Finland’s most venerated composer, died in 1957).
Pub Sirdie. Kolmas Linja 21.
A midnight snack at Harrin Nakki
If you get your sausages and fried potatoes at Harrin Nakki late enough, you can bump into politicians and trade union bigwigs in a blissful post-seminar state of intoxication, letting their taxis run on empty in front of the kiosk.
A special note about Helsinki’s late-night food kiosks: this is an adventure you don’t want to miss. You may have heard that a “lihapiirakka” is essentially a meat donut, and that Finland’s favourite vegetable is a kind of sausage, but when your order’s up and you get a lihapiirakka sliced open and two sausages crammed in like a vision of a hotdog from the last stop before hangover city, you know you’ve arrived in Helsinki.
Harrin Nakki, Agricolankatu 11. Open Mon-Thu from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m., Fri-Sat from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., on Sun, from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m.