Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Touring Finland: Atelier Bar (Helsinki)


The Atelier -- in Finnish, Ateljee -- Bar is a rooftop bar atop the Hotel Torni is known primarily for two things. First, it has the best view in all Helsinki. This is because, until the Skywheel Helsinki Ferris wheel was built, it was the highest spot in all Helsinki. The other is because the ladies room, one floor down, has huge windows. I haven't seen them myself, but Marianne assures me they're worth the trip.

Neither of those is why I recommend you visit the Atelier, however. I recommend it because in Cold War times, it was a notorious spy bar.

Are there really such things as spy bars? A former spy I know assures me that there are. On first being told of the Atelier Bar, I had my doubts. But when I actually went there, I realize that if you were a spy, whatever your cover story might be you were passing as the sort of person who could not resist drinking there.

I vividly remember sitting in the Atelier, drinking absinthe while being interviewed for a Finnish fanzine. It was a beautiful day. The tile roofs on the buildings below were bright orange. The alleyways between them were narrow and black.

Looking down on them, I felt cunning and ruthless.

And I'm told...

Supposedly, the Ateljee Bar makes an appearance in one of Len Deighton's spy novels. I've never tracked down the scene myself. But if you can, it might be worth taking a copy with you and reading it while sipping on an appropriate drink.

Whisky, most likely.

Above: Image swiped from Crawl Pal, which has other good suggestions for things to see in Helsinki. You can find those suggestions here.


1 comment:

The Radicchio Diaries said...

If you do go bring a sweater, it can get very windy.
Apologies to the gentlemen, but the view from the Ladies Loo really is spectacular if terrifying. Unless you're afraid of heights do have a look.