Photo: Club Studio
Photo: Butterfly Lounge

    Nightlife in Tallinn

    Looking for where to party in Tallinn? You're in luck, as there's plenty happening around town. Depending on your choice of music and people, finding the right venue or the right party can be a challenge, as parties tend to go from place-to-place, and even nightclubs believe in attracting different people on different nights. 
    One may always rely on the classic nightclubs such as Privé, Pank, Club Hollywood and Studio in the Old Town, usually open only on Fridays and Saturdays, and featuring a number of people dancing away to modern grooves. Teater and Venus, both on the outskirts of the Old Town, offer similar vibes. Of the list above, Studio and Privécater more for the ears of younger beats aficionados, often having international electronic music stars appearing with live or DJ acts. 

    Underground dance scene

    However Tallinn also has a very refreshing underground dance scene, with new bars and clubs popping up here and there. Popping up is the most appropriate term, as many of them do operate as pop-ups. Each party season brings new players to the table, but not all of them make it to the next level. Still, some venues have found a solid footing and form a list of constant locations serving good music to a variety of tastes. In the Old Town on Uus street, there’s a venue called NagaNaga, with several smaller chill-out rooms and a dancefloor in the main room. A similar venue is Must Puudel on Müürivahe, which has been around for a respectable number of years and always has something happening on weekends – don’t let the size of the venue fool you, as it can pack a hundred-strong party of dancers on a good night.           
    Next, head on out towards the 'Hipsterville' of Tallinn – the Telliskivi district, home to creative hubs and snazzy bars and genuinely alternative clubs. The newest addition here is Sveta Baar, operating as a vintage clothes shop during the daytime, and a pumping live music / DJ party venue at night time. The Telliskivi district also houses a rather peculiar venue, named Erinevate Tubade Klubi (or Club of Different Rooms). The décor feels like sitting down in someone’s living room and the house rule of wearing slippers instead of your outdoor footwear only adds to the feeling. 

    Summer party scene

    The summer party scene in Tallinn is a bit different from other seasons, as those bright nights deserve celebrating in the open air and in a cool setting (sometimes far too literally, as nights can sometimes be a bit chilly!). One of the more popular summer venues is Pada, right next to the old Fish Market near the Linnahall complex. Every summer it turns into a lush garden with several party rooms and bars, providing necessary shelter from the elements in case of rougher weather. The Legendary Wednesday parties at Pada attract thousands of party animals, with champagne flowing endlessly and hot bodies swinging to rhythm well past the break of dawn. Want to experience something slightly different? Go to club Laev, located next to the cruise ships' quays in the Old Port. This pavilion is an ideal place for loud and energetic summer parties, as the nearest residential areas are a good few miles away. There’s something happening almost every night during the summer months, quite often completely spontaneously. Another summertime outdoor venue is in the heart of the Telliskivi district, with Peatus having a dancefloor between two Soviet-era rail passenger cars!

    Regular parties

    Which brings the overview of Tallinn’s nightlife to the pivotal issue of music and regular parties. There is a number of continuing events, some having been around for nearly 20 years and some only a few years, but all of them solid staples of the party circuit. Usually these parties tend to happen once a month, but their locations can often vary, as party promoters like to try out new locations and move around just for the sake of excitement. If it’s hip-hop you like, go to Check One Two. If it’s soul in its different incarnations that tickles your fancy, check out Must Mesi, one of the leading party events in town every month. Mojo offers a glimpse into rare soul, early RnB, and dancefloor jazz, with occasional shimmies towards funk, ska, and boogie. Bashment is a rocksteady reggae party, while Tiks aims to mix together old soul obscurities with more modern beats. Kalamari Unioon and One Night In Bangkok feature line-ups of DJs hell-bent on taking you on an extravagant and eclectic journey through different music genres from all ages. Tjuun In specializes in drum’n’bass while Haigla Pidu attracts hordes of young skateboarding enthusiasts with its international guests and eccentric beats. 

    Some other pop-up parties worth mentioning include FÖPP, a favourite amongst the hard-working young urban professionals, Ennu Ratas with its legendary selection of Estonian obscure pop music, and Disco Tallinn with some of the biggest names in disco music making regular appearances alongside local DJs on special theme nights. The party to end all parties often seems to be the Singles Party (Vallaliste Pidu), usually attracting thousands of people who are not necessarily single, but all of whom want to let their hair down and just dance the night away. A newer version of a similar idea aimed at a slightly more experienced age group goes under the name “30+ Party”. 

    Cocktail bars

    If, instead of sweating away on the dancefloor, you’d rather be sipping on a properly made gin & tonic or an Old Fashioned, then we have some fantastic news for you. The sweeping trend of mixology and a renewed interest in cocktails has taken Tallinn by storm. Recent years have produced some very serious contenders to battle it out for the title of the 'best cocktail bar in the region'. Sauna street in the Old Town is a particular magnet for cocktail bars, as you’ll find at least three really decent gin joints here. Start with Sigmund Freud when walking up Sauna from Viru street, continue onwards to Frank or Frank Underground, and smack at the top of the street you can’t miss Sazerac, named after that deliciously vicious potent potable from New Orleans. 
    Around the corner on Suur-Karja there’s Tabac, with regular DJ nights and good food to accompany the drinks. But at the corner of Suur-Karja and Pärnu maantee you’ll find a true speakeasy cocktail bar – Whisper Sister. Its nondescript entrance on Pärnu maantee does not display any name or flashing advertisements, but a very subtle plaque merely listing the phone number. Ring the number and inquire about vacant seats in the house – if you’re lucky, you’ll spend the night in cocktail heaven in the cavernous rooms downstairs. Another discovery awaits you on Vana-Posti street, where Parrot Minibar welcomes you in an art deco restaurant setting upstairs, with an art nouveau design cocktail bar downstairs. 

    Other famous cocktail bars in the Old Town include Butterfly Lounge and Manna La Roosa in Vana-Viru street, both certainly worth a visit to admire the skills of the professional bartenders alone.