Exactly three years have passed since the day when the idea of Botik started. I talked with Juula Saare and Tanel Aus about the history and past of Botik, the current concept and future visions.
How did Botik come about?
In 2019, Botik became one of the first new residents of the former Põhjala rubber factory as a local summer bar. Botik is located in the factory's old administrative building and extends to the bushy outdoor area next to the building.
The founders of Botik, Juula, who has a background as a landscape architect, and Tanel, who is skilled in construction, describe the creation of the bar as a natural and sometimes accidental course of life. Botik was originally supposed to be just a bar and then a garden, but it quickly became a predominantly outdoor project that inspired even more than the bar itself.
Already at the very beginning, somewhere in the head was the idea to build a roof garden in addition to the lower garden of Botik. The spiral staircase for the roof garden was brought from Southern Estonia and waited for its time in the corner for two years. It seemed logical to make the entire indoor and outdoor area attractive, also taking into account that there would be space for animals and plants.
What is the concept and vision of Botik?
Botik is one of a kind and unique. Interwoven with the existing factory-landscape, it creates a diverse space for gathering, recreation and inspiration for the people of the culture factory, local residents and those coming from further afield. A space where you can spend time outdoors in nature and at the same time order drinks from the bar - these are rare in the city.
Botik is not just a bar, but a place that inspires the creation of space and environment and the provision of experiences. Botik's ambition is to change people's habits in the direction that people spend a lot of time outdoors - whether it's a cold winter or a hot summer here.
People's way of thinking could move towards the realization that outdoor events can be held all year round. Many of the activities we do indoors and elsewhere in bars can also be done outdoors, experiencing fresh air and all that nature and greenery at the same time.
We value the surrounding environment and respect both nature and the old factory spirit. We have changed as much as necessary and as little as possible. In doing so, we consider recycling, local raw materials and production to be important. For example, in summer we use fresh mint grown in the roof garden in cocktails and in winter in dried form in tea.
What are the future plans for Botik?
Three years since the establishment of Botik has proved that we have chosen the right direction and that what we dreamed of has all come true. Gradually, we have transformed the outdoor areas into a place where it would be more pleasant to be. Now with the roof garden, the environment is more diverse both in terms of space and plant species. Botik's future direction is to go into more detail with the existing space. We consider it important to move towards an increasingly sustainable bar model. We want to leave a smaller footprint with our activities. For example, we rent reusable washable cups from Eesti Pandipakend instead of using biodegradable cardboard cups.
We use barrels to store drinks as much as possible, because it reduces the refrigerator space for cooling drinks and creates less packaging. Unfortunately, the barrel system is not yet developed enough. Ideally, all the barrels could be sent back and reused, so far this is only possible for a few.
In addition, there have been thoughts of creating a botanic environment. The idea is to put the species names on the trees and plants, to which an educational text that can be opened with a QR code, like what can be done with the medicinal plant. The important thing is that people would find it more exciting to walk around this area.
Asked questions and wrote an article: Aleksandra Sofia Helena Nyyssönen