Kallio: Where Hipsters Drink on the Cheap in Helsinki

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Kallio District just may be the best neighbourhood in Helsinki.

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 neighbourhoods, a working-class neighbourhood 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.

Kallio bar

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.

Kallio bar

Rytmi: Toinen linja 2 (Siltasaarenkatu), Helsinki

“Rhythm” looks very Scandinavian with clean lines and almost looks like a library.

Kallio bar

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 .

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Finnish Tourist Board as part of a Navigate Media Group project. They did not request that I write a favourable review or stay out until the last call for the subway.

Join the Conversation

  1. Very cool, Ayngelina. I’ve been in Helsinki many times, but never made it to (or even heard of) Kallio. Next time, definitely.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You should definitely go, even during the day it’s a great district to visit.

  2. Looks very chill. I think that the farther north you go, the people tend to put down more, and dance less. The Arctic Circle Ale looks tasty and I love the name.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The beer was really good and I learned a few of them may be heading my way to Canada.

  3. I love the last photo. It looks simple and elegant. Aside from the drinks, what food do they serve there?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ooh I don’t know. I did eat at Cella which has traditional Finnish food but I didn’t order food at any of the bars.

  4. Helsinki is great if you want to pay $20 a pint (and why do they never fill the beer mug to the top in Finland??)

    Want great drinks, head across to Tallin

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is true Tallin is definitely cheaper but you can absolutely find pints for less than $10 in Kallio.

    2. lol you obviously have never been to Helsinki. Pints are 2.80 euros in Kallio. 4.50 euros in the city centre (kamppi).

  5. Definitely looks like a cool area. I’ve been reading a lot about Finland lately. It very well could be tops on my list the next time I head to Europe.

  6. I totally dig Helsinki over Tallinn. Tallinn is not as cheap it used to be. Kallio is quite a big area and might feel quite intimidating too. Lots of drunkards and druggies but safe definetely. Grab a beer for 4USD easily

  7. Camels & Chocolate says:

    I love Coehlo even more for that admission. I, too, prefer bars over museums, shocker 😉

  8. Stylish bars indeed…without the super high price tag. I think generally speaking Norway is more expensive right?

  9. LESS THAN $10?!?!!

    I get pissy if I pay more than $3 a pint at home. No thanks. 😛

  10. Emily in Chile says:

    Kallio sounds like a very cool neighborhood in general if it’s got a bohemian, up-and-coming vibe, and these places look like somewhere I could happily spend an evening.

  11. I have been living in Finland for 3 years, and I have never been to Kallio for a drink. Finally after reading your post I’m going to this Bohemian district in Helsinki a Friday drink. This neighborhood is pretty close to where I live. Cheers!

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