The Kalamaja region is known as the hipster, funky-coloured and charmingly bohemian part of Tallinn. Cozy wooden houses with cute inviting coffee shops downstairs, unique vibrant bars and top of the line restaurants around every corner. Scenic parks to walk the dog, captivating architecture to admire and creative people to meet all around. It’s a place where time ticks slower, the passerby is reminded to stop and smell the flowers, to enjoy the moment. Carpe diem.
To get a nice overview of the entertainment, drinks and food this region has to offer, we have gathered here a list for you of top 10 best things to do in Kalamaja. Intrigued? Let’s get to it!
- TOPS bar and café
TOPS, the self-titled ‘Kalamaja homebar’, is a retro-chic bar and café that’s always abuzz. The interior is spacious and quite green with Soviet-inspired functionalist furniture, contemporary paintings by up-and-coming artists on the walls and displays an inspiring atmosphere. TOPS serves gorgeous cocktails, hot beverages and simple delicious foods like wraps or paninis. Just like in the olden times, for the smokers who have a distaste for cold and unpredictable weather, there is a smoking room around back. During most evenings they have different DJs playing their sets and on Wednesdays they host their weekly Bingo-night. How fun is that?
- Põhjala Brewery and Tap Room
Põhjala is the most well-known Estonian handicraft beer company and they moved to their new location next to Kalamaja in 2018. The Tap Room serves 24 Põhjala and guest beers on tap at all times. But this place is not just for beer enthusiasts – they have a luscious food menu from Texas BBQ to vegan-friendly options. Põhjala Brewery and Tap Room offers tours in English and Estonian from Thursdays to Sundays, which introduces the production process and offers tasting of a few beers. When entering the building, the Põhjala merch and beer shop welcomes you, where you can get an intensive overview of their selection of beers. Additionally, if desired, you can rent their private sauna that accommodates up to 8 people. Groovy!
- Heldeke! Theatre-Bar
Heldeke! Theatre-Bar is the only vaudeville-style, red curtain locale in Kalamaja with a speakeasy vibe. Open as a venue, Heldeke! offers a wide array of events for entertainment-seeking folks – from standup, live-music and theater to circus, magic and burlesque! The bar carries a great selection of drinks and snacks from around the globe, from Scottish whiskey to Australian beer. Apart from the diverse performances that take place almost every day, Heldeke! also has a public sauna. The sauna is unisex and open for all on Wednesdays and Sundays, and it has a pool! Wicked!
- Café T35 Topellier
This adorable café is a must-go place for coffeeholics and foodies! The T35 Café offers delicious specialty coffee in an artsy environment. Additionally, they have delightful baked goods, an extensive breakfast and brunch menu, with seasonal offers as well! Exquisite Swedish-style buns, chocolate pancakes and fresh smoothies – it’s a breakfast paradise. Just recently, they started catering as an exclusive and elusive bar on Friday and Saturday evenings called Fromm bar, with a rich cocktail and wine menu. Go check out this secret new venture!
- Bertolucci restaurant
Voted one of the best Italian restaurants in Estonia in 2023, Bertolucci is a family-owned restaurant in Kalamaja. The interior is inviting and cozy, with heartfelt details of the family scattered around, like articles of owner and chef Marco Bertolucci’s related famous director Bernardo Bertolucci. Marco, having experience in cuisines like Spanish and Japanese, opened a restaurant in Kalamaja a few years back, with the intent of introducing Italian cooking traditions in a more modern context. With a strive for the highest quality products, the dishes prove nobility from simplicity – Pasta Nero, Risotto Tartufo and much more. Furthermore, Bertolucci has an extensive wine list that pairs beautifully with the dishes. Bellissimo!
- Balti jaam markets
If you’re looking for homegrown veggies, juice made with love or handicraft honey, then go have a peek at the markets in Balti jaam! Loads of Estonian small businesses and vendors that sell their own produce are scattered around the building and outdoor market area. Here, during your visit, you can get an authentic market experience. In addition to the markets, there are many street food booths and cutesy cafés around, as well as vintage shops on the second floor. This complex has much to discover and is a delight to explore. So, have a taste of delicious natural produce, try on some second-hand clothes and check out the retro decor on sale!
- Plan B
Looking for a place to wind down after a busy day of activities? Then Plan B is a gem of a find for sure. This is a wine bar with a rustic and cozy vibe, where every connaisseur can find something new and intriguing to try. Wine sommeliers here are attentive and patient, catering towards your specific preferences and needs. To accompany the wine, Plan B offers a fine selection of savoury and sweet sides to indulge in. And if you’re not in the mood for wine, there are plenty of other refreshments to sip. Especially enthralling is their multifarious cocktail selection, where you can give a go to a Gin Blossom or an Arctic Sour. Have a sip!
- Telliskivi food containers
It can be overwhelming sometimes when picking a place to eat, especially if you’re on the go. When craving some state-of-the-art street food that’s affordable and truly tasty, then you must pop by the food containers in Telliskivi! On one strip, you can find kebab booths, pizzerias, wafflerias?, sushi and more! You can enjoy a delicious meal on the spot in these charming foodstops or grab it as takeaway. If you’re visiting during summertime, this street is always packed and lively with people snacking away, having a laugh or playing outdoor ping pong in the nearby vicinity. Have a good bite and a cool night!
- Paavli Culture Factory
A new and exciting heart of culture and entertainment has popped up near Kalamaja, Paavli kultuurivabrik! This venue is vibrant and energetic, located in an old factory building near one of the biggest thrift shops in Tallinn by the same name – Paavli kaltsukas. A culture factory to a T, they mainly have music events and concerts, but additionally hold comedy nights, drink and draws and much further. On the premises, there are multiple stage areas, like the Greenhouse or the Pipeline, and other groovy spaces, like a Japanese style Stone Yard and a picturesque terrace called Apple Garden. An alluring location filled to the brim with captivating performances and an inspiring ambience.
- Kalamaja Bakery
Like stepping into a time capsule, Kalamaja Bakery is an adorable pastry and cake shop in the middle of Kalamaja. Their bakery omits nostalgia, especially their authentic and timeless recipes they enthusiastically employ. The interior of the bakery has a distinctive retro touch to it and is a perfect charming breakfast location. Kalamaja Bakery has an abundant selection of savoury and sweet pastries as well as cakes, accompanied superbly with a hot beverage. The only issue you might run into here is deciding on a baked good! Undoubtedly a must-visit pâtisserie for pastry-lovers!
Kalamaja has a lot to offer, from beautiful architectural sights to cozy cafés, bakeries, venues, wine bars, restaurants and everything you can imagine. It’s an artsy and welcoming community where something is always happening, inviting you to join in. So take a step towards Kalamaja and begin your fun-filled adventure in the creative district of Tallinn. Cheers!