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Experiences not to be missed in Helsinki – the Finns are absolutely mad about karaoke

You may not know this, but Finns love to sing – loudly. "I had no idea Finns were so crazy about karaoke," laughs Norwegian Espen.

Karaoke Bar Restroom – a former toilet

Espen and his group of friends from Oslo have taken a trip to Helsinki for a long weekend. While some prefer exploring a new city with their running shoes on, these lads from Norway have a different approach. They've put together a pub crawl and included a must-do activity while in Finland: a visit to a karaoke bar.

They've chosen the legendary Karaoke Bar Restroom. This small bar is located at the end of Tehtaanpuisto park, a ten-minute walk from the pedestrian street and Esplanade Park. The building was originally a public toilet constructed for the Olympic Games held in Helsinki in 1952.

Despite the brilliant May weather outside, the lighting inside the venue is dim. The aesthetic is dominated by heavy, dark wooden furnishings, and the walls are adorned with photographs, paintings, and mementos of times gone by. Around the bar, TV screens display song lyrics on a loop. Songs are selected via a website on your mobile, and you pick up the microphone from the bar when your name is called and it's your turn to be the star for a few minutes.

  • "There's no karaoke quite like Finnish karaoke"

    When the group of friends from Norway arrives at Karaoke Bar Restroom on a Friday evening, the small bar is relatively quiet.

  • A handful of Finns are in the corner, serenading the room with a few Finnish tunes unknown to the Norwegian lads.

  • The Norwegian group is well accustomed to singing karaoke back in their home city of Oslo, but Finnish karaoke is a whole different kettle of fish.

  • Here, Finnish-language songs are the norm. Despite the language barrier, the atmosphere is lively.

  • "Let's just say there's no karaoke quite like Finnish karaoke," laughs Alex.

Karaoke bars in Helsinki you simply must visit

Karaoke culture is strong in Finland, and you can find small and large karaoke bars all over Helsinki. Many of the city's nightclubs also have dedicated karaoke sections. The atmosphere here is often more intense than on the dance floor.

Being a good singer is overrated, so just dive in.

The aforementioned Karaoke Bar Restroom, Swengi Karaoke Nightclub, and Karaokebar Erottaja are just a few minutes' walk from several of our hotels, such as Klaus K Hotel, Hotel St. George or Lilla Roberts. If you stay at one of these, you'll also be close to a wide array of restaurants, shops and attractions.

  • Everyone can sing karaoke

    Back at Karaoke Bar Restroom, the Norwegian group quickly take out their phones and add their own show-stopping number to the song queue: Tom Jones’ immortal classic, "Delilah".

  • For those who are interested, it's possible to perform it in a Finnish version, credited to Tapani Kansa.

  • "The Finns make poor song choices, so it's great that some Norwegians have come to liven up their evening. You have to give them credit for creating a good atmosphere, but they can't sing," Espen chuckles to Strawberry.

  • "Well technically, neither can we," interjects Alex.

  • Fortunately, the songs they chose were a hit, and the Norwegians receive nods of approval and a toast from a Finnish group in the corner. Even Tord, who admits he's not a big fan of karaoke, developed a taste for this element of Finnish culture.

  • "This is definitely something everyone should experience if they visit Helsinki. It's clear that it's a big part of the nightlife culture here," says Tord.

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