Generally considered the definitive live venue in Helsinki, Tavastia is conveniently located, right by the main bus station in Kamppi. Live artists, local and foreign, are featured on many nights every week. The club is open on other nights as well, and since the place is owned by a university student organisation, special events are frequent. Short music festivals focusing on certain genres are also common, and twice a year record fairs draw in a crowd. In terms of acoustics, Tavastia is one of the best live venues in town, though it is relatively small. Its maximum capacity is less than a thousand people, only just over half of whom can fit into the actual live side of the club. Therefore, many artists playing there sell out, even when they play for two or more nights in a row.
Located in Etu-Töölö behind the National Museum and next to Parliament, St. Urho's Pub was opened over 20 years ago, making it one of the most popular of traditions with locals. A wide selection of bottled ale and beers on tap are available and the menu has everything from small to huge meals. There is never a cover charge, even during live music performances.
Its location, close to the sea in Kauppatori, is advantageous for bringing in the catch of the day. Competitors have challenged this restaurant as the seafood spot in town, but Havis Amanda has kept its ranking, enjoying immense popularity with tourists. The menu has more seafood and fish dishes than most restaurants of this sort and the quality is impressive. Popular choices include the grilled perch and lobster in lemon sauce. It's decor has an older, vintage feel.
Kappeli has been a pioneer in Finnish dining since 1837, offering beautiful views of the seafront. The café part has gorgeous (though expensive) desserts, perfect for any time of day. The restaurant serves traditional Finnish dishes, often sporting sauces made from the beer brewed in the restaurant's own brewery. The same building also contains a bar and a cellar restaurant. In the summer, guests can make use of their large, busy terrace and watch passersby and the acts on the next-door Espa stage. Hours vary with each section.
This is an interesting place to dine, even for the citizens of Helsinki. All tables, chairs, and other bits of furniture are made of wood and the dim lighting intensifies the feeling of being somewhere completely different. The menu is user-friendly with fair prices. Their specialty is the reindeer sirloin, or you could try the grilled vendace, which is considerably less expensive. Finnish your meal with the Lapp farm cheese selection, flavored with cinnamon cream. The waiters are always on the ball with good service even on busy nights.
The best-known jazz club in Helsinki, Storyville resides in a basement where the red brick walls scream New Orleans. This is a place for those who like to sit down, enjoy drinks and listen to a band playing light, easy jazz; you can always pop in and expect a live performance. Guest musicians are often from abroad. Storyville is especially popular on weekends, but you can wait in the upstairs pub if the club is full.
Casual and busy, the Manhattan Steak House has been a popular local eatery since it was started in 1968. Located in the heart of the Forum shopping center, on one of Helsinki's busiest roads, the restaurant serves up a variety of daily specials and meals at reasonable prices to tired shoppers. Salmon soup, lamb chops and steak and chips. The service is quick and friendly, and the restaurant is more convenient for a quick bite on the go rather than a leisurely meal as it is not very quiet or private, and does resemble a fast-food restaurant, though the food is certainly better than your local hamburger joint.
Henry's Pub was opened in 2006 and is well known for great music. The larger section of the pub is where the events take place and the lower half has a wine bar and pub. Likewise, the crowd is clearly divided into the older generation-found sitting around-and the young and students-found partying! There is live music everyday including Mikes Monster Jam Night, acoustic evenings and live bands. Henry's Pub is a good place for local bands and individuals to perform solo. Food served here is basically snacks that go well with drinks. The place can be booked for private, business events and musical events as well. Log on to their website for program details.
Take a break from shopping at the forum to grab a bite at this restaurant. Located on the second floor of the shopping centre, the restaurant has large windows looking out at vistas of the city. The decor is done in pleasant greens bringing to mind lush forests. The food consists of several small plates and Scandinavian and Nordic tapas. The wine selection is also traditional. So stop in, sip on some mulled wine and share a few plates of tapas with a couple of friends.
Dining at Loiste means more than a breathtaking view of Helsinki. Located on the 10th floor of the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, this trendy restaurant offers a cozy getaway from the busy streets. Sip wine and nibble on bistro-inspired cuisine. Go for the Olive crustd Lamb Filé or the Pan Roasted Pike Perch. Something to drink? no problem, the cellar is stocked well with wine from Europe, South Africa, Chile, Australia, and America. Round it all up with Choclate & Pistachio Cake. Eat to live? that is the question!
McDonald's needs no introduction, and this location of the popular fast food chain is conveniently located a few minutes from the central station, the perfect spot for tired travelers to stop by for a quick bite or a refreshing drink. Open through the night, till 5am, it's a good place to stop by to satisfy late night hunger pangs after a night out on the town. A good option for a mid-day break, visitors, students and professional can make use of their free Wifi to get some work done or look up places to visit in the city.
Virgin Oil Co is a three story bar, restaurant and club. The ground floor houses the Italian-American restaurant that serves pizzas and other cuisines that are unparalleled in taste by any other restaurant in Helsinki. Baked items are all prepared in wooden ovens, ensuring that the food doesn't lose it's natural taste. For all wine lovers: wines here are served directly from the barrel, giving it a distinct flavor. The second floor is the place to shake a leg on weekends, when the DJ takes over and crowd goes crazy!