Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A trendy bar

On Saturday we went to a trendy bar with Anu. At least Anu says it's trendy, I wouldn't know. The place was called Baarikärpänen.

The place advertises itself as a place with a dancing floor and suomi-pop. Anu'd heard that they have a cover charge of 7 euros after 10pm, so we arrived at 9:55. The place was quite empty. "No way they are starting to charge people 7 euros just to get in," - I thought.

For anyone who does not know why I am so out of the current Helsinki nightlife: for me, bars and nightclubs are mostly places to hang out with my friends in downtown Helsinki and drink. I don't go there to meet new people and very rarely go there to dance. For the last two and a half years I have lived in downtown Helsinki, and hanging out at home with friends has the advantage of cheaper booze, no closing hours and a guaranteed smoke-free and music-free environment, therefore my bar attendance has been minimal.

Anyways, got there, ordered a drink called cassis roska (a sugary thing that in spite of its name tasted of lime and not of blackcurrants, and in spite of tasting of lime was good). The place turned out not to be particularly compliant with anti-smoking laws. There are two rooms, one has ashtrays on tables and one doesn't, neither one has any "no smoking"-signs, as the result people just smoke and throw ashes on the floor and the staff did not seem to mind. Smoke was not much of a problem for the first hour and a half, though.

The place was empty for the first half an hour, then it started filling in. In the beginning they played some nice dance music, and we danced a few dances. Then the number of people increased and the quality of music went down - no promised suomi-pop at all, and we stopped. For a while it was interesting to watch people trying to pick each other up, but then it became too crowded for that, too.

We left a bit after midnight, and the biggest surprises all came at that time. First of all, it was too crowded to have a passage to the door - we had to shove (politely, of course) people out of the way in order to get out. Second, they actually were charging people admission. Third, despite the admission charge, lousy music and awful crowd people were actually standing in line to get in there, 50 or so of them.

I'd always wondered about lines in front of restaurants and now have finally seen a restaurant like that from inside while there is a crowd waiting to get in, but am still puzzled. Why are people standing in line to a restaurant while there are other perfectly good restaurant without lines? I can sort of imagine that someone might like this particular place, for example its drinks or music, but in this case why don't they come earlier when it's easy to get in. In general, why is it so empty at 10 and so crowded at 12?

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