Those of you who have been to a party with an open bar know what it means. For you who don’t know: An event or place where the drinks are for free. This is something you experience at for example weddings or birthday parties where somebody turns 50. Until now. A bar called Open Bar Club & Lounge opened its doors on Friday 1.11.2013 in Helsinki.
The concept made headlines already earlier both in Finland and Sweden and probably somewhere else too given the seemingly illegal way of serving customers. Why? Because by paying the entrance fee of 50 €, you drink for free. Yes. Free.
I don’t have the “real-life experience” so this post might differ a bit from reality. Thanks to my awesome co-worker we got tickets to enter the bar for free already at 6 pm. So no 50 € for us. A special event took place between 6 pm and 9 pm for people with an invitation. What was the event then? I have no idea, but one thing was sure; absolutely everything at the bar was free. Furthermore they also served small burgers (that, to my positive surprise was cooked medium).
It’s a special feeling to go up to a bar and ask for anything and not having to pay for it (I’m a man, so this rarely happens to me). The feeling is a little bit like being a kid at a candy store, here’s a simulation:
“A pint please! thanks. A glass of wine, please! Thanks. A bottle of white wine, please! Thank you! Two vodka cokes, pretty please! Thank youuuu. A glass of sparkling, oh? no glasses, only bottles? Ok. Can I get two? Nice. Thaaaank youuuu. 5 shots, please! You still don’t want to see any money? No? Okay! Gracias!” – and so on, you get the idea.
The concept worked out really well for the guests. Basically no queues at the bar because there’s nobody counting their money and no dysfunctional credit card reader, only serving. The bartenders even have time to come up to the tables to take orders. Very nice customer service all in all. The lounge area is even a place where you hear what your friends say, no overly loud music playing. No angry people picking fights. No people counting money if they can pay for something. Just being social with random people laughing about the absurd concept.
After 9 pm the sparkling wine and shots got a price tag on them, so later on only the draft products and drinks (which all were mixed with Smirnoff vodka) were for free.
Our night at Open Bar took place between 6 pm and 3:30 am. One of the key ideas for the bar is that people would spend their whole night there, instead of having to risk eviction as a host to a pre-party. The only down side that I see here is that you don’t get to choose your own music, otherwise the idea is a pretty sweet one.
After this little review, I highly recommend everyone to visit this place at least once because the authorities shut it down. You don’t go here only because of the concept, but to live and tell the tale to your offspring. “Once upon a time in Finland, the overly alcohol regulated country there was a bar where you could drink as much as you wanted, just by paying an entrance fee.” How about that! In-joy!
Open Bar Club & Lounge
Yliopistonkatu 5, Helsinki
18:00 (6 pm) – 04:00 (4 am)