Tallinn Nightlife

Bizarrely, the Tartan Army (the football fans who faithfully follow the Scottish national side) are credited with kick-starting Tallinn’s nightlife in the 1990s after decades of Soviet dreariness. As a result, Tallinn is now as popular for its lively and cheap watering holes as it is its sights. But it’s not all bars and pubs – the city also has a year-long, bustling arts scene, with everything from small-scale alternative creations right through to grand opera performances and classical music recitals. Many shows are only in Estonian as the country celebrates the return of the local language after decades of Soviet-era suppression.

Bars in Tallinn

Bart Piano Bar

Right in the Old Town, this elegant bar has live music five nights a week and its cocktails are exceptional.

Sauna 10, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 5625 4005
Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode might be eccentric but that doesn't mean it isn't great fun. As the name suggests, there's only one band you'll hear blaring from its sound system. If you're a fan of 80s electro, you'll feel right at home.

Voorimehe 4, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Horisont Bar

The place to be if you want to get away from noisy stag dos and enjoy a romantic evening with great views over the city and the harbour. At the top of Swissotel Tallinn, this place offers spectacular views and serves excellent cocktails. It also has a separate Cigar Lounge for aficionados.

Tornimäe 3, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 624 3000

Labor means 'lab' in English, so this bar is inspired by all things scientific and looks like a fantasy laboratory. The drinks are served in test tubes with some come emitting puffs of liquid nitrogen smoke. The lower level is also a nightclub from Wednesday through Saturday.

Suur-Karja 10, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 5699 4160.
Mad Murphy’s

No town is complete without a decent Irish bar and the huge and comfortable Mad Murphy’s is one of the best. Like fellow Dublin-style pubs elsewhere in the world, it boasts classic Irish décor and a wood-panelled bar, as well as the inevitable Guinness on tap. More pleasingly, it also does an excellent line in Irish whiskey (not just Jameson’s) and hosts big football crowds on match days when it switches on its numerous televisions and pipes in games from all over Europe.

Mundi 2, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 601 1070.

Nimeta, or as the Estonians say, 'the bar with no name', has a strong passion for football with the big screen drawing huge, enthusiastic crowds on match days. The rest of the time it's a nice cheerful pub with good beer and live DJ sets on Saturday nights that’s popular with locals and expats alike.

Suur-Karja 4, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 641 1515.
Wine Not?

Opposite the Puppet Theatre, this drinking spot has an extensive selection of wine and guests can sample before buying. It also serves great tapas.

Lai 6, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 5615 0300

Clubs in Tallinn

Club Hollywood

Perched incongruously in the Old Town, Club Hollywood is one of the most popular spots in Tallinn and is the place where the glitterati come to party. Thanks to a steady diet of techno and a rotating roster of Estonian and international DJs, it nearly always attracts big crowds come Friday and Saturday night. World-famous names have performed here, including Bob Sinclair and Basement Jaxx, and the management is justifiably proud of it – as you’ll notice should you venture in.

Vana-Posti 8, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 5912 4200.
Club Privé

Arguably the coolest club in Tallinn, Club Privé is hugely popular with the city’s smart set and it has the upscale décor to match. Bathed in ambient lighting, it feels like a high-tech New York speakeasy and has a pleasingly large range of spirits as well as an extensive cocktail menu. On weekends, Privé gets packed and serves club-goers a diet of progressive pop and seriously cool house tunes.

Harju 6, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 5670 5559
Venus Club

Housed within a historic two-storey firehouse, the Venus Club has long been a stalwart of Tallinn's social scene thanks to its convivial clientele and cheap drinks. But it's not all booze and babes: the club has a well-deserved reputation for top-quality live music and excellent DJs too.

Vana-Viru 14, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 551 9999.

Live Music in Tallinn

Chicago 1933

As the name suggests, Chicago 1933 is an American-inspired bar, with the years of the Great Depression and the slick speakeasies of Prohibition proving particularly fertile ground. Inside, it boasts modern industrial chic décor enlivened by a huge bar and decadent crystal chandeliers. But of all its many Americanisms, it is its embrace of live music that is the best sell with regular jazz performances interspersed with the odd dash of blues and country.

Aia 3, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 627 1266.

Opera in Tallinn

Estonian National Opera

Housed in one of the most iconic buildings in Tallinn, the Estonian National Opera occupies a special place in the nation’s heart thanks to its enthusiastic championing of local, and usually excellent, talent. Designed by Finnish architects Armas Lindgren and Wivi Lönn, the art deco building opened in 1913 with two wings: one for concerts and a second for theatre productions.

Estonia pst 4, City Centre, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 683 1210.

Theatre in Tallinn

Estonian Drama Theatre

The Estonian Drama Theatre is an important cultural venue in Tallinn, housed in a fabulous art nouveau building that was erected in 1910. Today, the theatre is the nearest equivalent to an academic (or national) theatre in Estonia, and stages both Estonian and world drama classics and contemporary plays.

Päarnu Maantee 5, City Centre, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 680 5555.
NUKU Theatre

NUKU, the Estonian Puppet Theatre, is one of Tallinn’s quirkiest venues. It specialises in a colourful roster of plays, short stories and performances that are aimed at delighting adults and children alike. Most of what’s on offer is based on Estonian fairytales and folklore (not all of it as cosy as it sounds), while more grown-up pieces by national authors are also popular. The theatre also has a quaint museum dedicated to puppets that is well worth a look.

Lai 1, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 667 9500.

Culture in Tallinn

Von Krahl Theatre

The first private theatre to open in Estonia, the Von Krahl is popular with up-and-coming playwrights, composers and choreographers, and has built a reputation for championing young talent. Tiny inside, it offers an intimate theatre experience that's a must-do for anyone with an eye for contemporary performing arts. Tickets are on sale at the theatre from 10 every day and also at Piletimaailm outlets in Tallinn.

Rataskaevu 10, Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia
Telephone: +372 626 9090.
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