Basics of Finnish night life
When's the party?
Saturday used to be the partying day, but now Friday has taken it's place. When you walk around in the city centre at night time (especially in the summer), you will find out that the rumours about our alcohol drinking are true. We sure know how to party (or at least how to drink...).
Wednesday is called "little Saturday", and it is also a good day to go and have a pint or few more. Saturday, which used to be the day to go out, is more in use with older people, but if you are a real party animal you can start on Wednesday and carry on till Sunday morning.
How to party?
First of all, you can buy alcoholic drink at 21.00 in groceries and at 20.00 in Alkos (on Saturday at 18.00). You will have to get all your booze before that.
We do not pay tips in Finland. The employees of the clubs and bars have salary that is determined by their union and the employers. You just pay the admission fee and your drinks, the service is included in the prices.
When the bar goes pitch black for a moment right in the middle of partying, you have come face to face with "valomerkki" ("light sign"), a signal that tells you the party is over. After "valomerkki" there is no alcohol selling and the bar normally closes half an hour later.
"Valomerkki" comes at 3.30 in night clubs and at 2.00 in pubs.
If you are packed up with energy (or booze) and want to carry on the partying after four, you can arrange up "jatkot" (liberally translated; carrying on party), and carry on partying in someone's apartment.
If you are ready to go home, the real Finnish way to do so is to go and have some evening snack on your way home. We Finns do not eat while we party, so late at night when the taxi queues start to grow, also the queues at pizzerias and grills grow longer and longer. Pizza, kebab, French fries and hamburgers are usual party food. There are some pizzerias that stay open late, but many of them have higher prices at night time (which still is not quite much).
You can of course, eat while partying, but only some pubs like Leskinen and Winger (good and cheap French fries baskets) sell snacks. Also 45 Special also has some snacks to offer.
How to get home?
If you leave early, you can take a bus, but very few buses run late at night. If you need four wheels under you, the taxi is a good solution.
Taxis are quite expensive, but if you can share it with a few friends it can actually be cheaper than taking the bus (which is 5,20€ after 23.00).
As an example, me and two of my friends took a taxi from Otto Karhin puisto to Linnanmaa and it cost 15€ total.
To get a taxi, you will have to go to a taxi station, which is marked with yellow "TAKSI" sign. It can take an hour before you get a taxi, so in the winter, remember to dress warmly. Even if you can not feel it is -20 degrees, your body can!
The waiting places for taxies are:
- At the front of Hevimesta in Hallituskatu
- On the other side of Otto Karhis puisto beside St. Michael and Never Grow Old
- In the front of the railway station