Bank, chemist, lavatory: It's a Finnish pub crawl

Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:45pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

TURKU, Finland (Reuters Life!) - What do a bank, an old public lavatory, a school and a pharmacy have in common? Well if you're in the western Finnish town of Turku, they'll be the top destinations for a night out.

More than 10 years ago, pub owners in Turku converted an old bank, a pharmacy and even a school to put some humor into a heavy night out.

But the jewel in the crown of Turku's kooky pub craze has to be the "puutorin vessa" or toilet pub opened by radio producer Markku Heikkila.

"We first thought that we would just take the name and create a usual pub, but then we decided that it is the humor that sells, so we decided to incorporate the theme into everything -- from the drinks to the tools used," Heikkila said.

Housed in a round-shaped public toilet in one of the town's main squares, the 75-year-old building has been refurbished and cleaned to welcome visitors into a small and cozy atmosphere.

Toilet seats hang from the ceiling and other restroom items are scattered around the pub.

"People from different cultures react to it so differently. Germans are loud, laugh about it, and talking about toilets is so normal for them, but for others, it's such a taboo," said Heikkila who gave up running the pub a few years ago.

"People who have not seen this, think the idea is disgusting, but once they come in, they realize that it's clean and that the service is good ... and that they are really having a coffee or beer in a toilet," he said.   Continued...

<p>A tram which has been converted into a rolling pub combines sightseeing with a night on the town in Helsinki October 8, 2008. REUTERS/Agnieszka Flak</p>