A night out in Tallinn
My choice for activities at the moment is a little limited. There are a few indoor activities around like 10-pin bowling and the cinema, but theatre is out of the question because it's all in Estonian. Anyway, the simplest thing to do is go out on the turps in the wonderful mediaeval old town.
An average night out in Tallinn might go something like this:
- Walk to the bus stop. Hitch-hike into town because you've missed the bus.
- For the start of the night, there are a few options. Valli Baar is a dive that hasn't changed in 20 years, but has cheap drinks and a nice atmosphere.
Another option is Noku, the hangout of intellectuals. Fantastic service, but somewhat difficult to get in to. It looks no different to a block of flats, with a locked orange door accessible only by key card. We don't have a card (I guess we're not smart enough), so we just wait on the street for a passer-by to let us in. Sometimes we get in, sometimes we don't.
- Afterwards head off to a rock concert somewhere. Von Krahli Teatri Baar (or just Krahl) is a favourite. It completely packs out with Estonians screaming at their local bands. A terrible mix of cheap drinks and steep stairs has nearly resulted in my neck being broken a couple of times.
Krahl is where the normally shy Estonians start to come out of their shell. Watch a concert until your head hurts, then meet students, indie rock lovers and band members, and the base of underground Tallinn. There may happen to be a birthday party happening in the corner, in which case Millerine's aggressive social skills will surely score some cake. Cake and beer. Yum!
- When the night is getting on a bit and most bars are closing, head to Levist Väljas. Some people call it the dirtiest diviest dive bar in all of Tallinn. I call it a great prog-rock bar. Millerine simply calls it home.
Levist Väljas is a unique and wonderful place. It's in a stone cellar, is very smokey, sells cheap bottled beer, and has the dirtiest toilet in Tallinn. The clientelle are bohemian, alternative, skinheads, hippies, goths, artists or just plain alcos. On the other hand it's one of the friendliest and most open bars I've ever seen. Discuss the meaning of life. Lend your seat to a girl so she can put her feet on the roof. Watch a drunk barman smash a pile of glasses to the floor so he can sit a girl on the bar and canoodle a while.
It's the true underground of Tallinn, and it rocks.
- At 6am order a taxi to go home. If you're lucky some strangers will jump in the taxi with you and send it to the Korean Kitchen karaoke bar. This is good because they have food. Laugh at the guy telling you you are going to die, then have some soup and listen to him sing.
- Get home around 7am, and don't have too many plans for the next day.
So that's my average Friday night out in Tallinn. Next time I might actually go to one of the popular tourist bars or clubs I hear so much about. Or maybe I'll start doing yoga or something instead.