As you will have gathered from the previous Tallinn Tales it was pretty cold. It got down to -17 degrees. One of the first things I did when we arrived was to slip on the compacted ice and fall flat on my backside getting out of the cab at our hotel.
Mind you not all of the ice was on the streets. Just off the town square and up the street called Dunkri is the Merchant’s House Hotel. In the basement you will find the very trendy Ice Bar.
Yes those vodka shot glasses are ice, but there are also cocktails served in traditional glasses, like the Kill Bill (Absinthe, Galliano and Jagermeister) or the quite extraordinary Green Fairy (Absinthe and Triple Sec), which is set alight, the vapour trapped within a glass and inhaled through a straw up the nose. Cocktails are about €5.
Still enough of such hedonistic pursuits, over the road is the Beer House (Dunkri 5). This is a German style brau haus that brews its own beer on the premises using Austrian yeast and German malt. Once you get past the extremely rude doorkeeper, the interior is very much as you would expect it to be, long benches, a stage for an Om Pah band and waiting staff in lederhosen and drindls. Then through the back there are a series of booths and small private dining cabins. We ate there on the second night and the food was quite good if mostly pork based.
The deep fried crunchy pigs ears were surprisingly tasty is a bit chewy, but I prefered my herrings with potato as a starter. I chose steak as a main, which was OK, but there seemed to be no difference between medium and rare as they both seeped blood onto the plate. the most curious thing on the menu was the potato sausage which came with one of my companions pork knuckle. It was exactly that a sausage skin stuffed with mash!
This is quite a fun place for a night out, but it does get a bit boisterous and some of the staff are a bit sour. Home brew is about €4 a pint.
Here’s my top traveller tip for the Beer House: If you are in Tallinn for a couple of days with a few friends, pop in on your first day and buy a Beer House card for €10. This is activated the following day and will get you a 10% discount off your bill. We saved €18 on a meal for four with (lots of) drinks the following evening.
For a cheaper drink head back into the main square, where in the bowels of the Town Hall,
you will find the Dragon. That’s the name of this medieval themed pub, not the proprietor! Here all the drinks are all €2 and served in a variety of chipped ceramic pots. Not that you can see what you are drinking as the Dragon is lit by candles.
As you leave you are asked to deposit any pots that you are not intending to steal in the basket by the door, according to our hostess, that’s where her dog comes to lick them clean!