Now I don’t want people to think that I have alcohol issues but I like to go where locals drink when I travel. I did feel some sense of validation when I read that The Alchemist author, Paulo Coelho wrote on his blog that he also believes people should avoid museums and hang out in bars if they want to learn the culture of a region. In Helsinki that would be Kallio.
After the sauna Anna took me for drinks in the Kallio district. Kallio is known as the bohemian district in Helsinki. Every major city has one of these neighborhoods, a working-class neighborhood that often starts off with artists, then students, then the bars and interesting restaurants open because the rent is low and then young professionals move in and the rent goes up.
Kallio remains the cheapest place to go for drinks, again Petri was wrong, you can still find drinks for less than $10 although new bars are coming in, taking over the strip joints, antique shops and mom and pop shops.
Living in Toronto I cannot judge, gentrification happens, and some neighborhoods find a way to keep the original spirit. So far Kallio seems to have it. Only a short subway ride from city central, if you come to Helsinki check out these bars.
Pub Sirdi: Kolmas linja 21, Helsinki
A true neighborhood pick, Anna used to live down the street and spent her last birthday here. This is a tiny place and can’t really hold more than 15 people but it always does. It has a fantastic jukebox with Finnish and English songs. This was my favourite.
Rytmi: Toinen linja 2 (Siltasaarenkatu), Helsinki
“Rhythm” looks very Scandinavian with clean lines and almost looks like a library.
Musta Kissa: Toinen linja 15, Helsinki
Also known as The Black Cat in English, this is more of a lounge and has a different vibe with live music.
I’m so thankful to Anna for first taking me to the sauna and then for drinks. An amazing guide, it felt like hanging out with a good friend .