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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 by Hannu Bask.


There’s a small satellite queer quarter just north east of the centre: consisting of Fairytale and, a few streets away, the Nalle Pub - a laid-back pub attracting both sexes and all ages. 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 with a snack at the rather mixed Lost & Found on Annankatu. Then, if you’re after an older crowd, head straight for the discreetly tucked away but heaving Mann’s Street bar in the second floor of an unappetising-looking office complex on Mannerheimintie - with its regular karaoke and “excuse me” nights. The Glasspalatset Restaurant. Photo by Matti Tirri.
Then wander along to the Mediterranean sounding and feeling bar Con Hombres on Erikinkatu - the oldest gay venue in town - to soak up a Latino ambience despite the odd Finnish tune. Shimmy back to the cool, labyrinthine basement burrows that are the Hideaway Bar below the Lost & Found snack bar. Nearby Room - the newest gay venue in town - is a trendy lounge-style bar for men with a wide selection of drinks and not a Euro-trash tune to be heard.


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 - just around the corner from Lost & Found - 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.


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 by Niko Soveri.

Sin City on Albertinkatu is surely the kinkiest store in town, offering all the usual gay fare. And Vogue is the only gay “health club” in Finland, boasting three traditional Finnish saunas plus a swimming pool, bar, relaxation room and top floor roof terrace.


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

Con Hombres (Erikinkatu 14, T: 00358 9 608 826)
DTM (Iso Roobertinkatu 28, T: 00358 9 676 315)
Fairytale (Helsinginkatu 7, T: 00358 9 870 3226)
Hercules (Lonnrotinkatu 4, T: 00358 9 612 1776)
Hideaway Bar (Annankatu 6, 00358 9 680 1010 - below Lost & Found)
Lost & Found (Annankatu 6, T: 00358 9 680 1010)
Mann’s Street (Mannerheimintie 12a, 2nd Floor, T: 00358 9 612 1103)
Nalle Pub (Kaartenkatu 3-5; T: 00358 9 701 5543)
Room (Erottaja 5; T: 00358 9 622 70 440)
Sin City (Albertinkatu 36; T: 00358 9 7002 9204)
Vogue (Sturenkatu 27a, 5th floor; T: 00358 9 737 280)

Photography courtesy Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau

Revised December 2014.


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