Tourist Guide
Bars

Estonian Proverb:
A pub isn’t hell, and a church isn’t heaven.

 

Estonian
Tourist
Guide

Tallinn:
An Introduction

Vitals
Quotables
Estonians
Eesti
Language
Estonia Misconceptions

Getting Oriented
Taxis
Info Points 
Money 
Time
Telephones
City Transit
Post Office
Emergencies
Medical Help
Other Tips

Bars
Wine Cellars

What’s to Drink
Cigar Lounges
Off the Beaten 
        Track
 Bands


Cafés
Cybercafés

Deliveries

Cultural Life
Art Galleries
Museums
Performing Arts
Movie Theaters
Reading
Luminaries

Estonian History

Exercise/Sports

Hotels
 

High End
Mid Range
Low Budget
Dirt Cheap    
Apartment Rental  
Spa Hotels   
Getaways

Real Estate

Maps

Estonia
Tallinn 

Nightclubs
Rave/Dance Music

Restaurants

American-style
Caucasian
Chinese
Estonian
French
German
Hungarian
Indian
International
Italian
Japanese
Medieval
Russian
Seafood
Thai
Turkish
Fast Food/Delivery

Shopping
Shopping Tips
Stores and Malls
Groceries
Bakeries
Handicrafts
Open Markets
Antiques
Clothes
Record Stores
Computer Stores
Souvenirs


Sights
Tartu

Travel
Driving
Planes
Car Rental
Helicopter 
Buses and Trains
Boats and Ferries
Travel Agents
Distances


What's New

What's On


Yellow Pages

Additional phone numbers, 
from shoe repair to embassies.
  - Online Phone Directory



Other Estonian
tourist articles:
 


Prangli Island

Tallinn’s Soviet, Nazi
 Occupations Museum


Top 10 Misconceptions 
   About Estonia 

Tartu: Estonia's 2nd
   City

Top Estonian Bands


Estonian Epic

Estonian-Finnish
   Orchestra

Tallinn’s New Airport


Tallinn by Helicopter

Gone Fishin' in Estonia


Tallinn's SovietLand Park


Wine: A Baltic Guide


Eurovision 2002 in Tallinn
 

Tidbits


Latvian Guide

Lithuanian Guide

Links

 


While the number of quality of bars in Tallinn has improved dramatically, some can still be a disappointment. Many have trouble engaging customers and making them feel at home. But still things have most certainly changed for the better, and there are excellent options out there. 
         Also see
Off the Beaten Track, below, for notable drinking holes outside the city center. Also below, Wine Cellars and What’s to Drink—a description of some of the most popular beverages in Estonia. And Cigar Lounges.
         Also see Bands for a list of some of the better Estonian musicians who perform frequently around the capital.  

Beer House: (I-2) Dunkri 5, tel. 627-6520. Open: Sun.-Tue. 10-24; Wed-Thu. 10-02; Fri.-Sat. 10-24. What used to be Raeköök is now a sometimes raucous and fun German beer hall and micro-brewery (a Tallinn first). A vast, country-inn interior, with German and Estonian schlager music ever roaring in the background. Be sure to try the surprising in-house beer. Country food at very good prices. When the weather’s good, sit on the giant outdoor terrace. www.beerhouse.ee 

Café VS: (C-3) Pärnu mnt. 28; tel. 627-2627. Open:10-01; Fri. 10-03, Sat. 12-03, Sun. 13-01. More than a restaurant and club, VS sports a downstairs bar with its own internet radio station (www.radiobar.fm) and its own clothing label (Future Visions clothing). The decor is high-tech heavy-duty—almost nothing but the glassware is breakable—and the waitresses dress with a slight degree of naughty. The kitchen offers everything from a proper English breakfast to Indian food, and there’s a generous menu for vegetarians, too. Good service and good food make VS worth the visit. www.cafevs.ee 

The Englishman Pub: (C-3) Liivalaia 33, in the Reval Hotel Olümpia; tel. 631-5831. Open:09-01; Sat. 16-03. The Englishman Pub has gone so far as to offer bridge lessons; ask the bartenders for cards and a quick introduction on how to play. The drawing room atmosphere includes cricket pictures and golf trophies. This is one of the only pubs in town that sees fit to play whole Beatles albums as background music. Current British newspapers. www.revalhotels.com 

Guitar Safari: (I-3) Müürivahe 22, tel. 641-1607; old city. Open:12-03; Sat. 14-03, Sun. 13-03. A very good cellar bar for thirty-, forty-somethings—or anyone who can actually tell Led Zeppelin from a hole in the ground. More of a music club, Guitar Safari emphasizes middle-class American rock. The main hall is comfortable, with high cavernous ceilings and a stage. Live bands: mostly local rock, blues and country.

Hell Hunt: (I-2) Pikk 39, tel. 681-8333. Open:12-til last guest. If you haven’t been in a while, go. Tallinn’s first real tavern has been charmingly re-born as a more upscale version of the great bar it always was—a kinder, gentler wolf, if you will. Hell Hunt has its own beer, a good brew at a good price. And the fantastic wait staff will serve you a shepherd’s pie even after the kitchen has closed.  www.hellhunt.ee 

Hookah House: (C-3) Roosikrantsi 3, tel. 644-2266. Open:10-23; Fri. 10-02; Sat. 12-02; Sun. 12-23. Points for a great name, but after that we lose our enthusiasm. Hookah House is a train wreck between a Japanese restaurant and an opium den. The music is loud and, well, not to our tastes, but that doesn’t mean the 20-somethings aren’t going to make it a hit. (There’s a sign on the door which says you must be eighteen to enter, but we’re skeptical: the two times we’ve been it had the feel of a teenage pajama party.) In all cases, they surely have the biggest collection of water pipes in Estonia. We think Hookah House will become a good place to have a healthy lunch, if you can get them to turn down the music. www.hookah-house.ee  

Ice Bar: (I-2) Dunkri 4, tel. 697-7500. Open: 10-23; Fri., Sat. 10-02. A very trendy ice-blue bar located in the Merchant’s House Hotel. It’s trendy yes, but it has preserved the medieval while adding the modern. Ice Bar will serve you shots in glasses made only of ice. Ice Bar calls itself the “coolest bar in town.” It just may be.

Kolumbus Krisostomus: (I-3) Viru 24; in the old city; tel. 561-56924. Open:12-01; Sun., Mon. 12-23. A pub/restaurant. Roaring fireplace and surrounding walls painted orange and yellow, dotted with red rabbits - giving it all the look of a brightly colored Swedish quilt. On a recent evening, they opted for funky '90s rock as background music; it was played at slightly too high a volume for a pub that would otherwise be ideal for long heart-to-heart chats. Occasional live bands. 

Levist Väljas: (H-3) Olevimägi 12, in the old city. Open:15-01; Fri., Sat. 15-03. This gritty, bohemian den is a refreshing change of pace for Tallinn. After renovations, it’s more comfortable—though (thankfully) still has a distinctive underground feel. They spurn Top 40 hits here in favor of progressive rock, good-taste house and even blues; on one recent evening, they threw a Tom Waits album on. The counter culture spills in from the dark cobblestone streets as the clock approaches midnight.

Lounge 8: (I-2) Vana-Posti 8; in the old city, adjacent to the Hollywood nightclub; tel. 627-4770. Open:12-24; Fri., Sat. 12-04. The name comes from the Vana-posti 8 address, but the number is turned on its side. Infinity. This is perhaps a secret signal to pagans, gnomons, or agents of the Dark Side. Kaheksa is New York or Miami all the way—comfortable sofas and blinds right out of South Beach in Miami. On the outdoor terrace, columns separate the tables and create a sense of privacy, something rarely found outdoors. After dinner hours, the place packs in the chic and trendy. www.club-hollywood.ee 

Madissoni Grill & Bar: (J-4) Rävala pst. 3, next to the Radisson SAS Hotel; tel. 682-3422. Open:07-01; Sun.11-23. Extremely tasteful, open and comfortable atmosphere: high windows, and always good background music. Thanks in part to the Radisson connection, they have amongst the best pub food in Tallinn. Live music several times a month. A nice cocktail bar/lounge upstairs. www.madissoni.ee 

Molly Malone’s: (I-2) Mündi 2, in the old city, tel. 631-3016. Open:11-02; Fri., Sat. 11-04. A Nordic version of an Irish pub. But it isn’t spiritless: original aluminum Guinness adverts hanging on the dark wood interior. Many clientele are tourists who spill in from the cobblestone streets. This means Molly Malone’s lacks a certain local flavor, but it’s lively. The place has a view other bars would kill for: of the Town Hall. www.jjj-bars.com 

Nimega Baar (Bar With a Name): (I-2) Suur-Karja 13, the old city; tel. 620-9299. Open:11-02; Fri., Sat. 11-04. Bar With a Name shoots a little higher than its fine sister bar (below), appealing to a slightly older, more discriminating pub crawler. A major draw is the live music, featuring Estonia’s best blues and rock bands. This is also a good place for a meal; they serve Estonia’s best chili. Question: Isn’t Bar With a Name still a bar with no name?

Nimeta Bar (Bar With No Name): (I-2) Suur-Karja 4/6, tel. 641-1515. Open: 11-02; Fri., Sat. 11-04. A long-time standout that’s fun as ever. A great bar for sports lovers; includes a big-screen TV. There's also a dance floor. This place is a big favorite with expats. www.nimetabaar.ee

R.I.F.F. (I-4) Viru väljak 6, in the Viru Keskus, tel. 610-1430. Open:11-24; nightclub open: Wed., Thu. 22-04; Fri., Sat. 22-06. Se DINING OUT for details on this excellent new bar/restaurant/nightclub.

Scotland Yard: (H-4) Mere pst. 6e, just outside the old city; tel. 653-5190. Open:12-24; Thu.-Sat. 12-03. A pub modeled after an old Scottish pub, only it’s bigger—stretching in all directions. A tip-off to the Scotland Yard theme are waitresses’ totting handcuffs. There’s a stage for live music and a dance floor, as well as a giant fish tank over the bar. Scotland Yard achieves the unlikely feat of being both vast and cozy. Good range of pub food, too. www.scotlandyard.ee 

Seiklusjutte Maalt ja Merelt: (C-4) Tartu mnt. 44, by Central Market; tel. 601-0762. Open:11-24; Thu.-Sat. 11-02. A good down-home Estonian pub tucked in an unexpectedly lovely courtyard. The interior, with its high barnyard ceilings, is on the mark. Background music can slip into Big Bang techno, but otherwise favors mellow rock. Quite good pub food, too. www.seiklusjutte.ee 

Soti Klubi (Scottish Club): (H-3) Uus 33, tel. 641-1666. Open:12-24; Sun. closed. Great selection of single malt Scotches. Members-only, but they set aside a few hours a day for the general public. Where Estonian VIPs and VIP wannabes meet to fortify the ol’ boys network. www.scottishclub.ee 

St. Patrick’s: Two locations near each other in the old city, including a new one at Suur-Karja 8, and the other at (I-2) Vana-Posti 7, old city; tel. 631-4801. Open:11-02; Fri., Sat. 11-04. The new place on Suur-Karja has the same good Irish feel, but is bigger and in a show-stopping, gorgeous medieval-era merchant house. Ireland's got nothing on this place. Wow! www.patricks.ee 

Stereo: (I-2) Harju 6. It’s more than a lounge; it’s the Starship Enterprise. White padded furniture, white tables, white walls, and gray floors. The entire crew of the Enterprise (the waiters) are dressed head to toe in red, and a lit bar changes colors every few minutes (perhaps a cloaking device to keep Klingon ships at bay?) This Starship Enterprise offers a full menu at reasonable prices and a bathroom with a mix of Turkish and traditional toilets.

Sveiki Juures: (H-3) Uus 25, the old city; tel. 641-1021. Open:11-24. This place, named after a Czech cartoon character, is a boisterous den of beer-swilling party animals—and darn proud of it. They have whitewashed walls that they encourage you to deface by scrawling your name on them. If you’re looking for a place to sit back and philosophize in a serene environment, this is definitely not your place. Clientele are likely to break into song at any moment.

Von Krahli Theater Bar: (I-2) Rataskaevu 10, in the old city; tel. 626-9096. Open:12-01; Fri., Sat. 12-03. A hip, fun-filled bar/nightclub. Many up-and-coming bands play here. A wonderful range of music, from blues to house to heavy metal to punk. Good, well-priced pub food.

Back to Top

Wine Cellars
Gloria Veinikelder (Gloria Wine Cellar): (J-2) Müürivahe 2, old city; tel. 644-8846. Open:11-23. This could be the best wine cellar in the Baltics-and it's gotten even better with recent renovations that expanded into additional basement crevices. Gloria Wine Cellar is now a lot more than a wine cellar: it's a full-fledged restaurant with a full menu of delicacies masterminded by Estonia's highly celebrated restaurateur, Dmitri Demjanov-who also owns the outstanding Egoist and Gloria (which is just upstairs.) There's a gorgeous fireplace here, though you may have to fight other customers for the extreme pleasure of sitting next to it. As before, Gloria Wine Cellar still features fine classical music, candlelight and turn-of-the-century furniture. www.gloria.ee  

Kolme näoga mees (A Man with Three Faces): (I-2) Kuninga 1, tel. 648-4261. Open:12-23; Fri., Sat. 12-24. Extremely romantic atmosphere, with hints of a left-bank Paris dive and a medieval-era den. Small and comfortably cluttered with cushions, cast-iron chairs and tapestries. Serves wine, but also pastries and coffee—so it could also double as a cafe. Friendly staff that is knowledgeable about wine. Soft jazz as background music. Live Spanish guitarist Fri. and Sat. night.

Musi: (I-2) Niguliste 6, tel. 644-3100.Good luck finding a table, as this place is very popular with the locals. And for good reason. It boasts a good wine list and a small, manageable menu. Intimate décor and attentive servers make this tiny place a real treat. www.musi.ee 

Tapas & Vino: (I-2) Suur-Karja tn. 4, tel. 631-3232. Open:11-24; Fri., Sat. 12-02. Great interior with food and service which doesn’t quite live up to the decor. The wait staff seem a bit hesitant and shy, and so the customer should take matters into his own hands and charge the bar—after all, it is tapas. There’s a reasonably priced (for a restaurant) wine list two pages long and seven selections of wine by the glass. A comfortable place to slip into for a midday glass of wine or light meal.

Back to Top

Cigar Lounges 
La Casa Del Habano: (I-2) Dunkri 2, the old city; tel. 644-5647. Open:10-24; Sun. 12-18. There’s no place quite like this cigar lounge/bar anywhere in the Baltics! They almost certainly have the region’s most impressive selection of cigars—all of which are meticulously stored in a high-tech cellar humidor. (They also now have a humidor/sales outlet at the Radisson SAS hotel.) The House of Havana teems with atmosphere, friendly faces—and cigar smoke. It’s become the meeting place of choice for many resident ex-pats. The management keeps any rowdy riff-raff at bay by serving costlier cocktails. The heart of The House of Havana, the bar, feels like someone’s living room—softly lit, with a red-brick floor and Nigerian art. To remind you that Cuba is its main inspiration, there’s a photo of Che Guevara at the bar. While you’re chatting, or playing chess on the house board, you’re almost obliged to have a cigar. The choice of Cuban brands is vast: they include Bolivar, Montecristo, Cohiba, Punch, La Gloria, and Romeo y Julietas—said to have been Churchill’s favorite. Once you’re hooked on Cubans, you might not be able to touch lesser cigars again. Habano’s website offers the uninitiated primers on how to identify a good cigar and how to smoke it once you do. Among their sage advice: “When you have finished savoring your Havana cigar, don’t stub it out. Leave it in an ashtray and it will die out by itself—with dignity.” www.havanas.ee 

Sigari Maja: (I-2) Raekoja plats 16, old town; tel. 631-4735. Cigar House has an old-world feel: paneled walls, leather couches, medieval beams and a fire place; the candle-lit room could be the set of a Hollywood murder mystery; you can imagine Sherlock Holmes here accusing the butler of doing it. They've got butlers, too, of sorts; waiters don black vests and, with a white glove, they light your cigars with the attentiveness of a brain surgeon. 

Back to Top

Off the Beaten Track
Biker Pub: (C-1) Ülase 13A, southwest of the old city. A pub with a Harley theme. More authentic then you’d imagine—with Harleys out front and bikers at the bar with “Hells Angels” scrawled on their leather jackets. It’s in what must have been an auto repair shop; the whole place has a surprisingly civilized feel. Music’s ZZ Top to KISS

Bulldog Pub: Jaama 2, in Nõmme, a 15-minute drive south of the city center. It’s become a favorite of some resident ex-pats. Billiards and table-soccer. They serve a mean peppered steak.

Back to Top

What's to Drink
The most popular beer in Estonia is Saku Originaal; Saku also makes a fine dark porter, called Saku Tume, and also recently launched a very good, much lighter-tasting beer called Saku on Ice; some say it’s reminiscent of Miller Light. Tartu-brand beers are also good; Tartu Alexander and A.Le Coq-series are especially highly regarded. You can have an overview of Estonian beers here

There are spirits aplenty. Many say the best locally-produced vodka is Viru Valge. The Estonia-bottled Georgian brandy, called Gremi, is also a favorite. Saare Džinn, a gin flavored with berries from the Estonian islands, is also popular.

Estonia’s national liqueur is the uniquely flavored Vana Tallinn. Detractors say it tastes a bit like cough syrup, but others swear by it; taking it with beer or coffee softens the kick a bit; there’s also an nice ice cream made with Vana Tallinn.

Because Estonia has no big wine industry to protect, there are virtually no restrictions on wine imports. This means the choice of international wines here is outstanding (see WINE listing, above). The few locally-made wines, like the Põltsamaa brand, tend to be on the sweet side. Põltsamaa now also makes a sweet sparkling wine Fest.

As for bar snacks, many establishments serve run-of-the-mill peanuts and chips. But the quintessential Estonian bar snack has to be soolaoad, or salted beans. Dried, salted fish—complete with eyes, fins and tails—are also served at many local bars.

There's full list of Estonian-brand beers at www.BeerGuide.ee

Back to Top

Bands
Among some of the better bands and soloists to keep your eye out for while you're in Estonia: 

Johanson Brothers: Godly folk sound. Acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Smilers: Ol’ fashioned, but high-energy, rock and roll. Lead singer Hendrik Sal-Saller (who’s also made a name for himself in Finland) is outstanding.

Lindpriid: Specializing in pop/folk music from before and during World War II. Professional, sublime sound—despite the apparent simplicity. For enthusiasts of ’30s and ’40s music, their albums are a must.

Ultima Thule: Arguably Estonia’s best rock band; fantastic instrumentals and creativity. Lead singers Riho Sibul and Tõnis Mägi are first-rate, world-class. Songs on their Ultima Thule album are good to spectacular.

Jäääär (Jääboiler): Professional folk/rock without the schlock of lesser Estonian bands. Excellent instrumentation; intelligent lyrics.

Blacky: A dashing woman with a gravelly, Joplin-esque voice. Rock mainstream.

Maarja: Pop soloist with a voice like a bell.

Ines: Said to be an Estonian Britney Spears; equally vacuous song lyrics, but still fun.

Urb Brothers: Refreshing sound, great harmonies. A touch of Peter, Paul and Mary. Outstanding!

Hedvig Hanson: Blues, jazz, rock. Music agents combing Estonia for talent just have to see Hanson in action.

Saxappeal Band: An excellent jazz band—Dixieland to Fusion. A great dance band.

Jaxy: Very good, Chris-Rea feel.

Siiri Sisask: Good-taste, funky pop.

Compromise Blue: Heavy blues. Great horn section. Great drummer.

Tõnis Mägi: A national treasure. Ą la Billy Joel, he often performs solo on piano.

Vennaskond: Good progressive punk.

Kukerpillid: Pop country/folk music.

Justament: Good country/folk.

Terminaator: Rockers with attitude.

Rock Hotel/Ivo Linna: Grandpas of Estonian rock. Sounds of the ’60s.

Mr. Lawrence: The Estonian U2.

Blind: A good Estonian pop/rock band.

Untsakad: Folk ą la accordion.

Folkmill: Another good folk band.

Noorkuu: A cappella pop.

Jüri Homenja: Sings love-songs in Estonian, Russian and Italian.

Back to Top

        —CITY PAPER-The Baltic States



comments/feedback to citypaper@citypaper.ee


Home