Historical Soviet Bar Reopened
A Soviet officer inspects a woman's suspicious high heels as two others keep watch on the KGB museum's opening day.
( Photo: Postimees/Scanpix )
The Sokos Hotel Viru will this Friday reopen a historical bar, which catered to Western visitors during Soviet times.
Unlike other Soviet bars, the so-called “hard currency” bars accepted Western currencies. Also, while most Estonian bars in the late 1970s and 1980s served about four types of drinks (Vana Tallinn, Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, Vodka and perhaps a liqueur), the “hard currency” bars boasted a sought-after Western selection of libations. But Estonians caught hanging around the bar were liable to be detained by the police for "currency speculation".
The hotel, where all Western visitors were accommodated, is home to a former secret KGB eavesdropping office, which has been restored as a museum today. Tours to the KGB museum will now finish up at the Soviet-themed bar, located in its old location in the hotel's second-floor lobby.
The Viru Hotel celebrates its 40th birthday next month. On May 17, the hotel's KGB museum can be visited by all for free, but visitors must register in advance. The free excursion takes place at 17:30.