Our bar selection to discover Helsinki’s eclectic cocktail scene
Located in a sort of cultural and geographic limbo between Eastern Europe, Northern Europe and Scandinavia, Finland is all the cooler for its contrasts, and its capital Helsinki has a vibe and energy that’s truly its own.
A vibrant city filled with creativity and a design capital in its own right, Helsinki is home to a colorful cocktail bar scene that’s as diverse as the city itself.
Here are our top 5 cocktail bar picks to help you get acquainted with what this Baltic gem has to offer.
Liberty or Death
This innovative cocktail venue in the heart of the Helsinki Design District serves up some of the best drinks in town. Tailored service, a frequently changing seasonal menu, experimental vessels, and whiskey on a tap are just a few of the things that make this cozy, industrial-style bar quite special indeed. The brilliant staff are passionate about their craft and will happily accommodate any of your wishes, tweaking their deliciously original creations to your personal taste.
Trillby & Chadwick
By the same team behind Liberty or Death, you’ll have to do a bit of investigative work to find this hidden gem, themed as the Helsinki branch of a London detective agency set up to help enforce 1920s Finland’s prohibition laws. Tucked away behind an unmarked door on an old cobblestoned street, you’ll need to first find said door, then dial up the vintage telephone, and ask to make an appointment with Trillby. If there is still room available, you will be invited through a second set of doors to a gorgeous and intimate speakeasy that looks straight out of Sherlock Holmes. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, the cocktails are killer, and to add to the immersion, there are no cameras or phones allowed.
Lilla E at Hotel Lilla Roberts
Tucked away on a peaceful side street, Hotel Lilla Roberts is a great place to get to know Helsinki’s exciting bar and restaurant scene. It’s also part of the design district, something reflected in the striking contemporary decor. This sleek boutique hotel boasts a distinctive color scheme, all black and gold, alongside cosy sofas and a crackling fire for chilly Baltic nights. At the hotel’s chic Lilla E bar, you’ll be able to sample gorgeous cocktails focused on Nordic ingredients made with care by a team of skilled bartenders. Hip and atmospheric in equal measure, you’ll see that more than just a hotel bar, Lilla E is a destination in its own right.
At this self-described “agave friendly cocktail bar”, the spotlight is placed on South and North American spirits with big flavors, from tequila and mezcal to pisco, cachaça, rhum agricole, and more. Past the doorbell, an atmospheric venue awaits, split between two sides with distinct identities: the Mexican-style living room for the Chihuahua part of the name, and the 1920s-style area for the Julep, which also characterizes the classic approach behind the cocktails. Made by skillful bartenders and infused with a Finnish twist, the drinks are nothing short of stellar.
Sky Room at the Clarion Hotel
Located on the top floor of the 78-meter high Clarion Hotel, the Sky Room offers what’s possibly the most spectacular view of Helsinki. Its sleek vibe and impressive floor to ceiling windows make it perfect for a romantic sunset drink with your special someone. Drinks-wise, cocktail lovers can rejoice, thanks to a creative menu delivered by a friendly and experienced bar staff. A clear must-visit when in town.