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Kaurismäki's legendary Helsinki bars face eviction

Landlords have served notice on Corona, Dubrovnik and Moskva, a trio of iconic watering holes in the capital that could now be replaced by a hotel.

Rakennusmestarien talossa sijaitsevan Corona baarin terassi Helsingissä 23. lokakuuta 2018. Rakennusmestarien talo menee kokonaisuudessaan remonttiin ja rakennuksen kaikki vuokrasopimukset, mm. Coronan vuokrasopimus, on irtisanottu.
The Corona (above), Dubrovnik and Cafe Moskva bars are all on the corner of Fredrikinkatu and Eerikinkatu and have been a cultural fixture in downtown Helsinki for years. Image: Lehtikuva

A legendary bar part-owned by Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki is set to be turfed out of its premises as the landlord sets about renovating the building.

The Corona, Dubrovnik and Cafe Moskva bars are all on the corner of Fredrikinkatu and Eerikinkatu, and have for years provided an alternative spot in Helsinki’s bustling nightlife. The premises include an art house cinema, Andorra, and are owned by Eerikinkadun Kulttuuriravintolat Oy.

The building’s owner, the Master Builders’ Foundation, says that it needs a complete overhaul and that the renovation will take two years.

The businesses currently in situ will have until next March at their present location.

”The building’s development project has gotten to the stage where the businesses have had to be served eviction notices,” said Ari Autio, a board member at the foundation. ”Office premises in the neighbourhood have been extensively renovated and we now need to do the same so that we can have profitable tenants in the future.”

The foundation is currently negotiating with different operators about the building’s future. Autio would not comment on the plans, but other sources suggest one option could be a hotel.

”Contracts haven’t yet been signed and we don’t tend to announce things when they’re still in process,” said Autio. ”The owner is considering different options at this point. We have a process where we intend to make a decision in the near future and reach agreement with different operators, but negotiations on a thing like this are lengthy and complicated.”

The renovation and eviction of the current tenants was first reported by Helsingin Sanomat.

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