Vin-Vin offers its visitors a place to truly treat themselves.

Wine bars have a bad rap in Helsinki simply because they can never remain open. A winemaker friend of mine once told me a joke: There are three ways of losing money – the most pleasurable way is spending it on women (he was a man, no doubt!), the fastest way is betting on the horses and the surest way is farming. It could be argued for wine bars to be added to that list, seemingly doomed to fail before they even see the light of day in Helsinki.

“We are not going to make the same mistakes with wine lists that are exhaustive, confusing 95 per cent of the punters, making them feel stupid and inadequate and in the end they opt for the obvious, like house wine,” states Toni Immanen, managing director of wine bar Vin-Vin. “Our prices remain in the reasonable category and we won’t be carrying 10 old Burgundies but perhaps just one. Not too many champagnes either but rather wines from user-friendly, small producers who are extremely passionate about what they do and are a lot more approachable.”

Time for a taste

I tried their cheapest red wine when I visited their premises on the corner of Yriönkatu and Kalevankatu, because you can always suss out a joint by what they choose as their least expensive item. I have to say that I was duly impressed. All wines are served in 16 cl portions and the Antica Enotria “IGT Rosso” from Puglia, Italy, was totally palatable at €8.70. Furthermore, champagne in a 12 cl flute from the house of Philipponnat is an affordable €12, with some real kick-ass Cava Vall Dolina Brut Nature Reserve at €6.80.

So, who’s frequenting this place? Judging by the interior, which is full of baroque-looking couches and chairs and is truly stylish, the target group is definitely people who can appreciate quality and hence people of all ages really, perhaps from 25 upwards, but there is no K-factor involved here.

The oversized image on the wall behind the bar is of Marlene Dietrich, which gives the space that extra touch of class. They also have a small enomatic for four bottles, which will have something special every Wednesday. The idea here is to remove the barriers of wine drinking and make it an everyday occurrence without the all-too-often snobbery.

Corner of Yrjönkatu
and Kalevankatu
Tues-Thurs 16:00-24:00
Fri-Sat 16:00-02:00
Tel. 010 666 8459

Furthermore, when sipping away at your glass of wine, you might like to nibble on a bite or two. So what’s for grub? The Plank! A groaning tray of meats, cheese, veggies and fruit in season, artichokes, olives, tapenade – a dish that will make every Mediterranean Mama happy.

These guys have the right idea, in the right place and at the right time. Vin-Vin is a great bar that’s very much focused on wine, beer and ciders are also available, but only the best.

A spot of beauty

And if you fancy a new hairdo, pedicure, manicure or Botox treatment in between your glasses of wine, all you need to do is go through the glass paneling and Bob’s your uncle! The renowned Tom Wennerstrand is the proud owner of Noir. While wine cannot be served off-premises, customers are offered a glass of the good stuff to enhance their beautifying experience.

Violetta Teetor