While in recent years, Kalamaja has become the preferred watering hole of locals and visitors alike, there’s still plenty of drinking opportunities to be found in Tallinn Old Town – if you know where to look for them.
Without sounding like I have a problem, I like to drink. Sampling local beers and beverages is all part of the travelling experience for me. However, in big cities, it’s easy to fall into tourist traps. And, in Tallinn Old Town, there are plenty. So, that’s probably why so many people head to Kalamaja for a night out, because it’s much more authentic.
However, I’ve got to say there’s something magical about drinking in the Old Town; Wandering around in a semi-haze, surrounded by beauty at every misjudged turn. If you’re on my team on this, here are some of the best bars and pubs in Tallinn City Centre without a dodgy Estonian national costume in sight.
I’m not going to lie, it took us two attempts to find this place. The trendy boozer is hidden in plain sight on one of Tallinn’s main streets. However, it you can locate the door of number five Pik, you’re on to a winner.
To gain entry, you’ll need the pin code (don’t worry – it’s 2580). Once you’ve keyed in the digits you’ll ascend a rather unassuming staircase to the first floor. That’s when the space really comes into its own. Noku‘s interior is that of a Brooklyn loft apartment that’s been furnished with 1960s Danish furniture.
It attracts a hip, local crowd who come enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and decent playlist. On a side note, at €3 a pint it’s also one of the cheapest venues in the city centre. Of all the bars in the Old Town, this one was my favourite. It manages to achieve a cool feel without being pretentious. Although, I guess the whole code thing takes it pretty close.
NoKu, Pikk 5, 10123 Tallinn.
Von Krahli Baar
Located in Tallinn’s Von Krahl Theatre, Von Krahli Baar has a cool, artistic vibe. Its stripped back interior features exposed brick walls, off set with pretty patterned tiles and homely wooden floors and ceilings, making it the ideal setting for a local craft beer or a light bite. The crowd is pretty hip and the nonchalant staff, who took to the solace of their phones between serving each customer, only added to the too cool for school vibe.
Von Krahli Baar, Rataskaevu 10, 10123 Tallinn.
Despite its slightly confusing entrance, (which involves ascending a darkened staircase) plenty of locals are finding their way to Kelm. Offering a youthful alternative to many of the other bars found in the old town, the venue is establishing itself as somewhat of a cultural quarter in the city. Hosting exhibitions, gigs and poetry evenings, Kelm is a nice place to visit even if your idea of expressing yourself is simply enjoying a beer.
Kultuuriklubi Kelm, Vene 33, 10123 Tallinn
In recent years, FRANK Bistro has made a name for itself on the Tallinn food seen thanks to its elegant vibe, stylish interior and tasty menu. And, its sister venue FRANK Underground is no less alluring. Situated beneath the restaurant, the drinking hole has a speakeasy feel, decorated in vintage posters and serving the finest cocktails in town.
Sauna 2, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia
This student-centric bar won’t be to everyone’s taste. But, if you’re partial to a cheap drink and don’t mind screamo music and cave-like surroundings, this could be the place for you. We visited quite early in the evening and the place was rather empty. However, others have claimed Levist Väljas comes alive at night, and is the place to head when everywhere else is shutting up shop.
Levist Väljas, Olevimägi 12, 10123 Tallinn.
Located down a small side street, Must Puudel enjoys a trendy, retro vibe. At the bar, visitors will find a decent selection of beers which can be enjoyed in one of three sections of the venue or even outside in a picturesque garden. We visited early on a Friday night and, although the pub was busy, the crowd was pretty chill. For the most part, patrons mainly lounged around on sofas, nodding their heads to a funky hip hop soundtrack. And, if you’re feeling peckish, Must Puudel also serves decent vegan food. You can read more about that here.
Müürivahe 20, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia