If Tallinn’s Old Town is a sophisticated, pearl-wearing lady, then Telliskivi is her spunky little sister who dropped out to be an artist. From bars and restaurants like F-Hoone, Sveta, and Põhjala to the Fotografiska museum and Balti Jaam Market, find out where locals go with Bob W’s handpicked tips.
Telliskivi Creative City, as the name suggests, is the district for creatives in Tallinn. From startup incubators to artists’ studios, this former brick factory complex has landed itself squarely on the hipster map. Situated on the doorstep of the Old Town, between the Balti Jaam train station and the colourful Kalamaja and Pelgulinn neighbourhoods, Telliskivi is only a short walk or tram ride from downtown yet feels like another planet.
Whenever globetrotter Bob W is in Tallinn, Telliskivi is his neighbourhood of choice. We’ve pulled together his top recommendations so you can save time and jump straight into the good stuff.
Without leaving Telliskivi, you can take in a live show, attend a public discussion, and admire world-class photography exhibitions. The Tallinn branch of the famous Stockholm Fotografiska photography museum is a must-see new addition to Telliskivi. Right across the courtyard, you can also browse the best of Estonian documentary photography at the Juhan Kuusi Documentary Photo Centre.
If you want to attend insider events, check out Erinevate Tubade Klubi (Club of different rooms). It’s a bar-clubhouse-venue that hosts public discussions, beer and wine movie nights, and networking events. Vaba Lava is a performance art theatre with shows in Estonian and occasionally English and Russian. Bob W doesn’t shy away from events and shows just because he doesn’t speak the language – and neither should you. Armed with Google Translate and a sense of adventure, anything is doable.
Restaurants and cafes
You can start your day off right with a legit breakfast in Telliskivi. If you’re an early-bird, Reval Cafe is your spot for breakfast from 8 AM. Otherwise, get your juices flowing with pastries at Fika, the tried-and-true favourites at the bookstore-cafe hybrid Rahva Raamat, or a full spread with vegan-friendly options at neighbourhood legend F-Hoone.
When lunchtime rolls around, check out Ülo. With its largely plant-based menu and dazzling mid-century interiors, it’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Lendav Taldrik is a beloved take on modern Indian cuisine, and if you just want it all, take a walk through the dozens of street food stalls in and around the Balti Jaama Market. Then, wash it down with a scoop or two at La Muu, Estonia’s premier maker of organic ice cream.
For the best views of Telliskivi and the neighbouring Old Town, make your way up to Fotografiska’s restaurant and rooftop garden. This place is chill enough for a weekday lunch but is the perfect backdrop for a dinner to remember. If you aren’t staying long, book in advance to make sure you get to enjoy these one-of-a-kind panoramic views.
Telliskivi is an Estonian design Mecca. Whether you’re into traditional handicrafts made from dyed and woven wool, or modern leather bags sure to turn heads, check out the shops on the second floor of the Balti Jaama Market. Vendors range from Soviet antique dealers and vintage clothing boutiques to organic cosmetic shops.
For apparel and accessories, the indoor shopping ‘streets’ on the ground floor of Telliskivi’s main buildings are a jackpot. This is where you can find those cool t-shirts or earrings Tallinners sport. Between the Telliskivi complex and Balti Jaam Market, also pay a visit to the studio shops of leather designer Stella Soomlais and upcycled textile designer Reet Aus.
Nightlife and bars
You don’t have to board a Tallinn to Moscow sleeper train to have the experience of living it up in the dining car. Peatus is a nostalgic restaurant housed in two former train cars where you can experience everything from breakfast to nighttime DJ sets. Jumping forward a few decades, Sveta bar is a psychedelic blast from the 80s and Telliskivi’s favourite dance spot.
Pudel, which appropriately means ‘bottle’, is a Telliskivi landmark known for its top-notch selection of local and imported beers. You won’t find the traditional big names in brew here, so prepare to exit your comfort zone. And if you’re prepared to cross oceans (or a few blocks) for your beer, visit the Põhjala brewery and taproom. Located a short walk towards the seaside in the Kalamaja neighbourhood, Põhjala is Estonia’s leading craft beer brand. Bob recommends their 10.5% Imperial Baltic Porter ‘Öö’, which is as dark as a Nordic winter’s night.
If you prefer the drink of the gods, hit up Shvips, a wine bar with over 200 choices, or Nudist winery. This new-age producer is pioneering sparkling wines from organic fruits and vegetables (yes, we said veggies). Next door to Nudist, Juniperium distillery serves their award-winning gins in cocktails and gives tours.
Sports and wellness
Besides walking or jogging around nearby parks and seaside, you can head indoors to MyFitness, underground the Balti Jaam Market, for training and sauna. Workout classes are usually in Estonian, but as long as you learn ‘left’ and ‘right’, you’ll do just fine.
Playing pool might not be a cardio workout, but having fun is important for your health too! Hill Hill Billiard Cafe’s vast hall has pool tables, snooker, darts, shuffleboard, and pinball. Lastly, if you’re looking to freshen up your do (or beard, as Bob does whenever he’s in town), pay a visit to Upsetters. This hole in the wall puts the bar in barbershop. Sip a whiskey while you contemplate your new look.
Whether you’re coming to Tallinn for a night or a month, stay like a local in one of Bob W’s locally designed suites in Telliskivi. Get complimentary gym access at MyFitness Balti Jaam and fixed-price breakfast packs at F-Hoone, Reval Cafe, Rahva Raamat, and Fika that make laid-back mornings that much sweeter. For the best rates and perks you won’t get elsewhere, book directly on bobw.co.