Despite being neither a hip nor happenin’ person, I find Mbar is a Helsinki cafe that epitomises hanging out. A small space, right beside Kamppi shopping centre, when I’m in need of afternoon tea, an early evening glass of wine or somewhere to simply put my feet up in the midst of running errands, it’s perfect.
Don’t misunderstand me, it is cool – I suppose if I find it cool then the definition of cool becomes problematic.
It’s contemporary yet friendly, has a variety of drinks and is extremely international. On any given visit, it’s possible to hear the staff and clients conversing in English, Finnish, Spanish, German and a host of other languages.
Quite frequently one can see Cubans, West Africans, Japanese and Americans idling for hours behind their MacBooks or nursing their coffee. Moreover, this multiculturalism doesn’t in any way feel forced or artificial.
Unfortunately not being a coffee drinker I can’t attest to the quality served, but there is an unceasing queue and a friend of mine ordered “Finnish coffee” with success. For tea-people there’s a selection of teas and the water’s hot, unlike several places I know.
In summer their outdoor terrace is positioned to get as much sun as the Helsinki sky can offer and is packed with wine and beer drinkers to a point that it’s impossible to find a seat.
I could say that Mbar could do with a wider selection of food, but then again their concept works well. I’d suggest a few more, or should I say a wider range of sweets so that I have more to go with my tea?
A lingering mystery, however, is why the noticeable majority of computer users in Mbar are on MacBooks? On one occasion I overheard another customer ask the bartender the same question but he couldn’t suggest an answer.
Notwithstanding the Macs, Mbar is a personal favourite for its location and atmosphere.
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