May 11, 2018
When it opened in the summer of 2007, A21 quickly established itself as one of Helsinki’s best cocktail spots. Back then, cocktail culture was still relatively nascent in Finland, so A21 was one of the city’s only cocktail bars, too. The bar’s blacked-out windows are the first indication that A21 is housed in a former sex shop, but that’s where the comparisons end. An exclusive little nook, the space is furnished in dark chocolate and creamy hues, with seating divided between high tables and low boots strewn with satin cushions. If you’re seeking a little intimacy, maybe with a date or a small group of friends, then make sure you grab one of the booths that can be curtained off. Having basically pioneered the city’s cocktail culture, A21’s house tipples are as original as they are well-crafted, but the mixologists here also shake a mean classic drink all you have to do is ask. If you’re keen to try the local spirits, look for concoctions made with Koskenkorva (or Kossu), a clear spirit distilled from barley, similar to vodka, or Jaloviina (cognac cut with water). And if all this drinking is making you hungry, the venue also offers a special dining experience complimented by themed dining areas, each dish on the menu is inspired from a scene from Finnish culture, with a quirky cocktail to match, of course. The bar also hosts regular cocktail events, where you can learn the art of cocktail making and discover the flavours and ideas behind your favourite concoction.