You know the type. Guys and girls who just seem too cool for school. Not hipsters, but way beyond hipsters. People who don’t follow but define fashion trends, people whose aura make you blink and smile in awe. Punavuori is the natural habitat for those people, and on saturday we were on a Discovery Channel journey through the Design District, visiting also Punavuori for a while.
First intended stop was Restaurant Cuba ( Viva La Revolution! ) near the borders of Punavuori – but it was packed, so we had to leave drinking sparkling wine in Cuba for another time. Cuba seems to be these days very popular after work hang around partyplace and clientele is filled with twenty to thirty something cool young professionals. As specialities you can order Personal Jesus to work as your entourage’s personal wine waiter ( 1200 euros ) or trash a chair like a rock star for mere 500 euros.
Uudenmaankatu is the lifeline of Punavuori and we quickly looked into some of the most popular destinations along the street. Restaurant Demo was already almost empty, having only one or two couples finishing their dinners. Demo is one of the three or so Michelin-star restaurants in Helsinki and voted as the second best restaurant in Helsinki right after Chez Dominique. For 58 euros per person you can eat very interesting menu, including cheese selection and desserts. Add two good bottles of wine and the total sum for four person dinner runs to 400 euros.
Bar Nr. 9 on the other hand was already semi filled, meaning that we wouldn’t have had chance of getting any place to sit. Bar nr. 9 is one of those really cool and actually also really nice places to hang around in Helsinki. Interestingly it is also moderately priced compared to many other bars and cafes around the city, so if you are on a budget and still want to spend some quality time in Helsinki, Bar nr. 9 is a nice place to see people, eat a little and drink a little.
Eventually we ended up going into Motellet. Cozy sofas and chairs along the window wall creates interesting fishbowl environment, where you can pose with your friends to those who walk by. Stylish interior and lounge atmosphere is really cool, but longer drinking sessions at the bar will eat your budget away.
After Motellet we decided to check out the general atmosphere around Annankatu and Iso-Roobertinkatu, both of which are homes to many small bars and clubs.
For example noteworthy places on Iso-Roobertinkatu or close to it are:
We Got Beef – famous hipster bar and a look at lifestyles in Punavuori
Playground – club for electronic and dance music situated in the place of legendary club Rose Garden.
Swengi – Cool karaoke nightclub with young people singing and having fun.
DTM ( Don’t tell mama ) – Gay bar that is famous for good parties.
Lost and Found – Hetero friendly night club
Hiutale Bar – Hipster bar with live dj playing music on most evenings. Hiutale bar has also sister bar in Kallio.
And so on. The area is lively and filled with places to see and go to. As a testament of area’s virility you can find the only Beate Uhse in Helsinki from here:
Iso-Roobertinkatu is also home of The Gentlemen’s Club – international striptease bar that will pick you up for free with a limousine in Helsinki city center area.
With all these opportunities and possibilities we decided to be quite boring, and went to beer restaurant William K.
Few beers and snacks later we were ready to continue our journey along Annankatu and make further decisions about next places. Two real gems on Annankatu are located right next to each other: cocktail lounge A21 and rock’n’roll bar Bar Loose. Both of them definitely worth while a visit or twenty.
This time however we just had to walk by, as Loose had queque and we were on a mission to escort our friends back to the Kamppi bus station on time. Visit into A21 would have been fatal to the schedule, and to the budget.
At the end of Annankatu when we arrive back to the city center, we walked right into a new cluster of great bars. In Kamppi district you have a great selection of places to go in just few hundred meters apart from each other.
Tavastia Club is the most famous rock’n’roll club in Finland, which these days runs also saturday disco aimed at clubbers instead of rock’n’rollers. For 5 euros you get to dance your heart out all the way to 4 am. We really wanted to go there, but popularity of the event has surprised everyone as the queque was atleast 100 meters.. again.
Right opposite of Tavastia is a new lounge bar Crush which we didn’t feel like visiting again. One time was enough. Other as boring options would have been Tiger, which unfortunately had also terrible queque, Armas which had also long queque and is never worth the time, The Circus which did not have any queque ( which should be signal enough to not to go there ) and Jenny Woo with moderately short queque of only few persons. As the bouncers escorted very intoxicated and bubbly young girl out from the club, we did not have our hopes high up, but decided to give it a shot and see what Jenny could offer us tonight.
Jenny was definitely good choice on saturday as the club was moderately packed, but had still sufficiently space for people to hang around, dance, talk and have fun. Jenny’s speciality is large sofas all around the club, which allow people to slouch, lie down, rest and hang around in really comfortable and cool settings. After work prices in the early evening guarantee that by the time actual clubbing starts, the club is filled with people who are in the right mood to party.
The thing that separates Jenny Woo from the competition – at least in my mind – is the atmosphere of faving fun. Jenny Woo does not take itself too seriously and neither do the party goers.
Yes you can see really good looking people having good time and dancing in any of the city center clubs, but in Jenny people seemed to be genuinely having a good time – not just posing around and trying to look cool.
These days Jenny Woo offers free food every Friday after work and sells also really cheap glasses of sparkling wine. See you there.