Summer in the Senate Square is here! The culinary oasis offers taste experiences and the atmosphere of an urban allotment garden

The enormous terrace area, Summer in the Senate Square, opened on Wednesday 1 July. Until the end of August, the Senate Square, the main market square in Helsinki, will provide an opportunity to enjoy taste experiences offered by Helsinki-based high-quality restaurants in the atmosphere of an urban allotment garden. This is a unique experiment that is hoped to boost the efforts to enliven the city centre, which is recovering from the coronavirus.

“Cities are meeting places, and we need new safe spaces where we can meet people during this coronavirus period.
The Senate Square terrace pilot not only serves the local companies and Helsinki residents but also acts as a booster for the whole city centre, entrepreneurs, domestic travel and also international travel, which is gradually starting up again,” says Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

The summer terrace in the Senate Square is formed by 16 Helsinki-based high-quality restaurants that are offering a wide range of taste experiences for locals and visitors to the city. The offering includes refreshing breakfast, summery lunches, pizza, Baltic herring, tapas, fine dining, premium hotdogs, cocktails and beers by small local breweries.

Safety and the area’s cultural and historical value have been at the centre of the design of the terrace area. The space concept of Summer in the Senate Square as an urban allotment garden was created by designer Linda Bergroth. The practical foundation for the design work was drawn by the grid formed by the stone paving in the Senate Square. The allotment garden idea was also inspired by the cabins used during the Helsinki Christmas Market, which were also utilised in this pilot.

“Last week, 78,000 litres of dirt and over 3,000 plants were delivered to the market square. The planting work for the allotment garden was carried out during a high heat wave. But it is looking wonderful,” rejoices Operative Director of Torikorttelit Peggy Bauer, who is in charge of the practical organisation of Summer in the Senate Square.

The boundaries of the allotments are lined by roughly 200 planter boxes planted with various flowers and useful plants. The raised planter boxes form clear paths to the area and control safe customer circulation. The plants allow the clusters of tables to be separated from each other while maintaining safety distances and comfort.

One important contributor to the atmosphere is, of course, the programme. During the summer, a number of surprise DJs from Helsinki will be performing at the terrace, leading the terrace crowd into diverse worlds of music. The music programme will be complemented by atmospheric small-scale live performances as well as small art and talk show tasters. The programme also takes the youngest members of the family into account.

“The terrace programme in the Senate Square is like a gentle summer breeze and an interesting breath of the city’s diversity at the same time – like the nights of Helsinki in miniature,” describes the brand-new Night Liaison of the City of Helsinki Salla Vallius, who leads the programme working group for Summer in the Senate Square.

Summer in the Senate Square:
Open every day 1 July–30 August 9 am–11 pm (serving of alcohol ends at 10 pm)
16 restaurant operators
4 pop-up places
480 seats
16 toilets
12 hand wash stations

Participating restaurants:
Bites Burgers
Bricco Wine Bar
Bryggeri Helsinki
Bakery-Eatery Levain
Restaurant Loop
Muru & Pastis
Bar Runar
Restaurant Sea Horse
Skiffer x Seksico Tacos
Sofia Helsinki
Restaurant Sunn
Dogs & Bubbles by Valkoinen Sali
Pizzeria Via Tribunali & SALAKAPAKKA by Son of a Punch
Yes Yes Yes

Safety of Summer in the Senate Square:
– The design of the whole terrace area is based on national coronavirus policies
– The use of space in the area is carefully thought-out, taking safety distances, the number of seats, the directions of travel, the places of the tables and sales points and other things into account
– The area is equipped with clear signage that provides safety instructions and shows the directions of travel, etc.
– There are hand wash stations in the area (running water)
– The area is equipped with a sufficient number of toilets in which particular attention has been paid to hygiene (cleaning, directions of travel, hand wash opportunity)
– The area is under enhanced supervision