The Best Places to Get Drunk in Helsinki During the Trump-Putin Summit

Where to get shitfaced as the world ends.
July 16, 2018, 1:30pm
Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images.

Today, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will meet in Helsinki, Finland. Thousands of journalists, reporters, security personnel, and groupies are pouring into Finland for this epic egomania-palooza. The hype is real. There is even a “summit beer:” Finnish brewery Rock Paper Scissors launched an unofficial beer, called Let’s Settle This Like Adults, because of course it is, for this specific summit. Security is obviously intense, and Finland is likely to reinstate border inspections for Schengen countries for the duration of the event.

While some Finnish citizens are confident that the summit will, at the very least, be good for Helsinki’s image, others are hoarding canned food—because, you know, apocalypse. There’s always a chance the summit will go sideways: They might take their bromance to the next level, they might end up in fisticuffs. But fear not, if the shit hits the fan, here’s where to drink your troubles away (responsibly, of course) in Helsinki.

Kafe Mockba

If you’re yearning for the golden days of the Soviet Union, Kafe Mockba (Kafe Moskova) is the place for you. This moody Soviet-esque bar is an ideal spot to get plastered with proper gusto. Vodka is an obvious choice, and there is plenty of it here, but for this particular summit, opt for a bottle of Baltika 3 Classic beer from Saint Petersburg, Putin’s hometown. After a few beers and four shots of vodka, ask the bartender for a sandwich: a slice of rye bread and a thick layer of butter with one piece of sausage on top. Painfully simple, but when you’re heading to destination fuckedtown, it just might be the best sandwich on the planet. (Eerikinkatu 11, 00100 Helsinki)


If the Putin-Trump summit gets you down and you’re feeling like we’re all doomed, then karaoke is the cure. Open every day of the week, Pataässä is the go-to karaoke bar in Helsinki. Here, what you see is what you get. Forget those smoothies and vitamin waters, and go for whatever’s on tap. You might hear someone interpreting Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, but also be prepared to savor plenty of Finnish karaoke classics such as Frederik’s Volga. Just put your song in the queue, order an Irish coffee with a “pataässä” (ace of spades) sprinkled on top, and get ready to sing your troubles away. (Snellmaninkatu 13, 00170 Helsinki)

St. Urho’s Pub

Named after Finland’s longest-serving president Urho Kekkonen, St. Urho’s Pub (also known as Urkki) is one of the best pubs in Helsinki and a haven for all beer lovers. Located near the Finlandia Hall, which serves as the media center for the thousands of journalists and reports covering the Putin-Trump summit, this bar is in the center of things when the summit goes down. As always, if you see the press running, you’ll know something is up—and likely heading your way with a speed of a Storm Shadow cruise missile. In this case, you might want to order pints, plural, and perhaps sample some local delicacies such as fried liver with lingonberries or some sautéed reindeer. Afterward, wobble a few meters to Mannerheimintie, the main street of Helsinki, where you can wave at—or moon—the motorcade when the heads of state drive by. (Museokatu 10, 00100 Helsinki)

Allas Sea Pool

If the weather permits, head to Allas Sea Pool’s roof terrace. Order yourself a bottle of wine, or two, and enjoy the vista with cruise ships, Baltic Sea and all. Overlooking the Market Square, the terrace also has a great view of the Presidential Palace where Trump should be visiting Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö. If the sight of Trump’s signature handshake suddenly makes you want to take your clothes off, no worries; Allas Sea Pool also has a public sauna. Trump, sauna, sweat—if that doesn’t make you hit the sauce, nothing will.

(Katajanokanlaituri 2a, 00160 Helsinki)

Oak Barrel

There is always the chance that the summit will be a gigantic snoozefest. Putin has announced that he refuses to discuss certain pressing issues such as the annexation of Crimea. Why even go there, right? When the reality hits you that nothing was achieved with this summit, it’s time to exit, and there’s no way you’re going to want to do that sober. Even though this bar is technically not in Helsinki but at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport (HEL), it would be unwise not to grab a few drinks here before your flight. Although it’s unlikely that Trump will stop by for a pint before flying off, you might get a glimpse of Air Force One taxiing before take-off. Wash away all the bitterness the summit left behind with a Hartwall Original Long Drink, also known as “lonkero.” The uniquely grey color of the drink will go well with your post-summit mood. (Terminal 2, Helsinki Airport)