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OutUK’s Adrian Gillan discovers the true meaning of Lapland in Helsinki where there’s some Finn about the boys!

Boy, those Finns’ll put you in a spin! They’ve the relaxed Scandinavian attitude you’d expect when it comes to sex and sexuality, beneath a cool veneer.

Photo: Hannu Bask.

BAR HOPPING and EATING

There's a small satellite queer quarter just north east of the centre which includes the much loved Fairytale, but the main Helsinki HQ (Home for Queers) is a grid of roads just south west of the railway station – a clutch of boutiques, eateries, bars and clubs.
Find your strength in the very stylish but mixed crowd Vatican Bar on Simonkatu. Then, if you're after something older, head straight for the discreetly tucked away but heaving Mann’s Street bar in the second floor of an unappetising-looking office complex, called The Glass Palace on Mannerheimintie - it has regular karaoke and “excuse me” nights. The Glass Palace Restaurant. Photo: Matti Tirri.
The Glass Palace was built in 1930 on the site of the Turkuskoy barracks that were destroyed during the Civil War in 1918. This building with its functionalistic architecture opened in 1936 with its iconic neon sign featuring the two waitresses. Today it is one of the most famous buildings in Helsinki. There are offices of various well known brands, Helsinki City Library, media center, where you can learn about the latest developments in the field of IT-technologies, gallery, cinema, online library, cafes and restaurants as well as shops. It can be a popular place to meet gay men.

Bear Park Cafe in Agricolankatu is a small, cosy and easy going cafeteria that's popular with gay and lesbian guests. Cafe Cavalier is a bar with a full range of alcoholic drinks that attracts gay men of all ages and serves pastries made of high-quality organic and local produce from their own bakery.

Lappi located in Annankatu serves original specialities from Lapland. Very popular but also expensive, especially the drinks. It's has friendly staff and is popular with well off gays and lesbians. Also attracting a gay crowd is Zucchini a small restaurant in the city centre, serving vegetarian dishes, coffee and pastries. It has outdoor seating but is closed in the month of July.

CLUBBING

And then onto the clubs! Get to grips with Hercules on Lonnrotinkatu: a spacious, male-dominated bar-cum-club that lures in the leather, with relaxation areas and private cabins. Then feel the edge and energy at Helsinki’s main gay hub of a club: DTM which lays on regular rolling pop, trance, Finn and 80’s nights. Great DJs, fine lasers and a cool young party crowd! Part of the club is also open as a sizeable internet café by day.
Tom of Finland parade go via the street in black uniform. Photo: ks2009q.

NIGHTIME ACTIVITIES

If you are out to do some shopping or have a good time crusing in the movies then Keltainen Ruusu, Yellow Rose, is a must. It's Finland's largest sexshop megastore and cruising area! Cabinets, cinemas, non-stop video shows, glory holes, slings, darkroom and a lounging area with free hi-speed WiFi. Situated right in the heart of Helsinki - only 200m from Kamppi metro station.
MSC Finland - Tom's Club is a member of the ECMC, the European Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs which organises social activities aimed primarily at gay men with interests in motorcycles and have an interest or fetish for leather, boots, uniforms, rubber, motorcycling and sports, darkrooms, bondage & S/M. There's a big annual ECMC event called Finlandization every summer at the end of July.

US Video Mega Sex Store is a 24 hour, 6 day a week, US Video Mega Sex Store with Cruising Cinema Area and Video booths with 16000 videos to choose from. It's Closed Sundays from 9am to Monday at 9am.

OUTDOOR LIFE

Don’t despair if you’ve still not pulled. As soon as it gets half dark, which is the most it ever does in summer, it’s men on the rocks all round amongst the granite outcrops around the Olympic Stadium just north of city centre! And for a sunny Sunday morning after? You must try out the huge, predominantly gay male, nudist beach enclave on the island of Pihlayasaari. Take sun block and a quick ferry ride from the Carousel quayside in Helsinki. Liberating and horny, check it out.


 
Photo: Niko Soveri.

Swimming is well served at the Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall. This is the first and oldest public indoor swimming hall in Finland. It was inaugurated in 1928, and the hall itself is spectacular with its Art Deco Style, and real finnish sauna! On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays it's men only, with most of men swimming without swim gear. It has a nudist area, dry sauna and stram bath.

Vogue is the only exclusively gay “health club” in Finland, boasting three traditional Finnish saunas plus a swimming pool, bar, relaxation room and top floor roof terrace.

TRAVEL & HOTELS

There are flights from London to Helsinki on airlines like British Airways, Finnair, SAS and KLM. Our hotel partners Bookings have a great selection of gay-friendly hotels at great prices.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Bear Park Cafe (Agricolankatu 13; T: 00358 44 5760 679; Website)
Cavalier (Malminrinne 2; T: 00358 9 3540 1536; Website)
DTM (Iso Roobertinkatu 28, T: 00358 9 676 315)
Fairytale (Helsinginkatu 7, T: 00358 9 870 3226)
Glass Palace (Mannerheimintie 22/24, T: 00358 20 7424290)
Hercules (Lonnrotinkatu 4, T: 00358 9 612 1776)
Keltainen Ruusu - Yellow Rose (Malminrinne 2-4, Etelä-Suomen Lääni; T: 00358 9 6855 5270; Website)
Lappi (Annankatu 22; T: 00358 9 645 550; Website)
Mann’s Street (Mannerheimintie 12a, 2nd Floor, T: 00358 9 612 1103)
MSC Finland - Tom's Club (PL 48, Etelä-Suomen Lääni; T: 00358 9 45 677 9444; Website)
US Video Mega Sex Store (Malminkatu 24; Etelä-Suomen Lääni; T: 00358 9 737 190; Website)
Vatican (Simonkatu 6; Website)
Vogue (Sturenkatu 27a, 5th floor; T: 00358 9 737 280)
Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall (Yrjönkatu 21b; T: 00358 9 3108 7401; Website)
Zucchini (Fabianinkatu 4; T: 00358 9 622 2907)

Photography courtesy Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau

Revised July 2017.

 

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OutUK features the latest gay news, advice, entertainment and information together with gay guides to cities and holiday destinations around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. There are hundreds of galleries of photos and videos of the sexiest gay guys plus intimate personal profiles of thousands of gay lads from all around the UK.