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Insider's view · Europe · estonia · Tallinn

Insider: Ardo Kivi


Insider: Ardo Kivi

Ardo Kivi is a vocalist and a guitarist in an Estonian group Tallinn Daggers, which formed in the Estonian capital in 2009. Their music is a wild mixture of synthpop, 90's indie rock and new wave.

What do you love most about your city?
The fact that Tallinn is my hometown. I think it's impossible not to love the place where your roots are. I am very proud of my hometown and our bands name proves it. I love early mornings in Tallinn.

What do you hate about your city?
I am not a big hater myself and there's really nothing to hate.

Which is your favorite neighborhood in your city and why?
I've lived almost half of my life in Kalamaja and I was really fond of it and refused to move out of that area. My girlfriend and I had to move out of our old apartment and it was really hard to find a new spot. Then her friends moved out of their old place and it was in Kadriorg. I was really hesitant at first but I decided to give it a chance. It was summertime and the first time I went up there for a walk I fell in love with it. Kadriorg has the best park. I love to go for a run there in the dark and listen to something like "Bark at the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne really loud.

Do you have a favorite view of the city?
It has to be Pirita promenade because you can see the city silhouette. That's another good spot for running, biking or longboarding.

How would you describe a perfect weekend spent in the city?
I really love going out for a picnic or just grab some snacks and wine and spend some time by the sea.

Which are your favorite restaurants/cafés and why?
Asian restaurants like Elevant (, Bollywood ( and Villa Thai ( are the places I visit the most. I guess it's fair to say that Asian food is my favorite. There are lots of vegan options and that's a big reason for me to prefer those places. A place called Hetk ( has the best chickpea burger and, of course, there's a new place called V ( that is our first 100% vegan restaurant. I've visited it only once but I loved it. I hope they last for a long long time.

Which are your favorite places to hangout, dance & listen to live music? Hell Hunt ( is the best place to go out for a beer with friends. Hetk is great because they have a really big variety of beers and whiskies. For live music I guess Von Krahl ( is the best venue. I've played a lot of gigs there with different bands and it used to be like my second home. Rockstars ( a great small venue, too. I've played some of the wildest gigs there.

Which are the best concert venues/halls in the city?
We don't have many such places, so Saku Suurhall and Rock Cafe ( are basically the only options for bigger bands and artists. Rock Cafe has a really nice and roomy stage and it has been really fun to play there.

Could you name the best music stores (vintage record shops, etc) in your city?
Biit ( is a great record store with a lot of vinyls. Terminal is another new shop I like to visit. There should be more vintage record shops in Tallinn but there are only a few. One is called Led Zeppelin and the other's name I have forgotten. It's basically right beside the Depeche Mode bar. [Laughing] As you can see we love our favorite artists so much that we name places after them. But the first thing I wanna do visiting other cities, is to go to vintage record shops. Just to dig and dig for hours.

Could you name the song featuring your city? Or... which song describes your city the best?
No, but I can name a band. Tallinn Daggers [laughing]. But I think there are a few Estonian hip hop songs about Tallinn. This is the thing I love about hip hop that they really give a lot of love to their hometowns and neighborhoods. I love the geography in music.

Can you tell us a secret about your city?
I cannot tell because then it would not be a secret anymore. Secrets are sacred.

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