Your Insiders-Guide to the Copenhagen Nightlife
Ever dreamt of dancing with tall, beautiful Scandinavians? Drinking beer with the ancestors of the Vikings? Having cocktails in trendy, upcoming, edgy bars? Well, Copenhagen is your place. The Danish capital is the New York of Europe and offers you a nightlife scene varying from local pubs where time hasn´t moved since the fifties, to new cutting-edge clubs where you find yourself on the dancefloor until sunrise.
Your Insiders-Guide to the Copenhagen Nightlife
Café Sommersted | Bo-Bi Bar | Mesteren & Lærlingen
Ruby cocktail bar | Lidkoeb | Duck and Cover | The barking dog
Culture box | Rust | Vega | Jolene | Noho
Jazzhus Montmartre | Mikkeller Bar | Dupong
Let´s start with the Danish institution, ”bodegas” – it doesn´t get more authentic than this. It´s the Danish equivalent of your local pub – and it is usually dark, a bit musky and probably smoke-filled. They sell cheap beer and even cheaper shots. You´ll find an eclectic mix of the old regulars, some will even have their name is written on their chair, hipsters and the additional businessmen going for a quick beer after work. Board games mix with pool tables, jukeboxes and sometimes even pianos for the occasional sing-along (varying in quality depending on the hour of the night).
1. Café Sommersted
You can´t go out in Copenhagen without having someone, at some point during the night suggest Café Sommersted. Cindy, the owner, is running the place with an iron fist – her place, her rules. But behind the hard facade, there´s really a sweet woman. She´s like your substitute grandmother making sure everyone is well-fed and comfortable, refilling your complimentary crisps and candy. She´s happy to help with just about anything, as long as you don´t try to make her change the music or put drinks on the pool table. Café Sommersted is most likely going to be the place you go when you really should´ve gone home instead. The place for that one last beer, that you really didn´t need. But it is also these places that make for the best memories.
2. Bo-Bi Bar
Legend has it Bo-Bi Bar is the oldest dive bar in Copenhagen. And it sure feels authentic with its original interior, packed with locals and being the preferred watering hole for poets, writers and journalists in the city. At Bo-Bi bar the drinks come cheap and always with interesting discussions. This is the place where it is easy to fall into conversation with a total stranger at the bar counter, so don´t hesitate to visit even if you are a solo traveler!
3. Mesteren & Lærlingen
It might not be your typical bodega since it is more just for the young hip crowd hanging out in the Meatpacking district. You won´t see that old Danish guy that comes every day and you won´t really get the chance to think about starting a board game as the atmosphere here changes quickly. Before you know it there is a DJ playing and you find yourself dancing on what is not a dancefloor rather just an open space between the tables. But you also don´t care, because everyone is doing it. It was one of my favorite places and a really good party starter. The prices are affordable and I highly recommend the vodka rhubarb drink that hits the spot in more than one way!
Even if beer is the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about drinking in Denmark, you shouldn´t skip the wine bars here. There are plenty, and they are amazing. Some might even call Copenhagen ground zero for the natural wines and wine bars hype.
Tucked in between bars and cafés in Copenhagen’s buzzing Nørrebro neighbourhood you´ll find Pompette. Pompette, meaning “tipsy” in French, is a charming, super cool, natural wine bar. With its’ bistro-style outside seating you get that laid back, chic, Parisian vibe. The concept is easy, grab any bottle from their wine shop, add 100 DKK (10 Euros) and you can drink it at the bar. They also sell single glasses of wine for 50 DKK (5 Euros) if you’re not in for a whole bottle making this is a really good and affordable place to start the evening. With the great variety of wines at fair prices, chances are you will leave feeling a little bit pompette.
5. Falernum Wine Bar
Falernum Wine Bar is quirky, laid back and yet always happening. It´s a café during the day, but as people leave work the black coffee is quickly changed for wine and tapas. They have an extensive wine list and you can tell that the staff really know what they are talking about. The mix of mismatched vintage chairs and air filled with anticipation makes this a great place to start your evening like a true local.
I don´t even know where to start with the cocktail bars in Copenhagen. Each one is better than the next one and frankly they make all the other cocktail bars around the globe look a little bleak in comparison.
6. Ruby cocktail bar
Being the first real cocktail bar that opened in Copenhagen, Ruby never cease to impress. It´s the ideal cocktail bar. It is located in an old townhouse from 1740 and has a modern Scandinavian-style front room, with a darker lounge at the rear. The atmosphere is great and even if it might feel a little bit posh at first, it really isn’t. The menu varies with the seasons, but I definitely recommend that you try out Ruby’s most popular cocktail, the “Tongue Jacuzzi”. It is made from Plymouth Gin, apple wine, fresh passion fruit, dry white wine, lemon, and elderflower and well, the name pretty much describes the sensation.
Lidkoeb is a three-floor bar in a renovated pharmacy dating back to 1886. Entering the main bar you pass through a cozy beer garden, perfect for those Danish summer nights. The space is large and the décor and atmosphere is different on every floor. The first and second floors are for cocktails and beers and the third floor is a dim, intimate whisky bar, with over 200 different kinds of whisky. You can´t go wrong starting your night at Liedkoeb. And as the night passes the jazzy cocktail vibes change into more of a party scene with louder music, so don´t be surprised if you don´t leave before closing time.
8. Duck and Cover
Just a block from Liedkoeb you find Duck and Cover. Being situated in the hip and fashionable area of Vesterbro you might think you´ve gotten lost when entering this cool hidden gem. Taking the stairs down to this dim-lit place, opening the door and you’ll feel like you´ve stepped straight into a scene of Mad Men.
It is every bit as hip and classy as it sounds and even you might think it comes with a snarky attitude from staff and other guests, but it´s exactly the opposite really. Duck and Cover is the place you go if you want to have a nice cocktail and feel like a citizen of the world, or maybe as your final stop for that nightcap before heading back to your hotel.
9. The barking dog
As far as cocktail bars go, it doesn´t get better than this. The barking dog is hands down one of my favorite bars in the world. Located in a basement in a quiet street in Nørrebro it exceeds all expectations. The cocktail menu won´t tell you what drink you are getting, rather what feeling the cocktail will give you. And let me tell you, it is pretty spot on. The concept of the bar was a place where you could go and have a drink without dressing up or shaving and they´ve managed to create just that. It is a place where you for sure will get your buzz on and where you for sure will feel welcome at any time.
Copenhagen truly is the city for extensive nightlife. There are tons of nightclubs right in the city center and the Danish capital provides a great variety of clubs in all categories. The nightclubs stay open until 5-6 am, some even longer than that so don´t count on getting a lot of sleep while exploring Copenhagen’s nightlife!
10. Culture box
If you´re just going to one club, make it Culture Box. It is the club you will read about and the club people will tell you to visit if you travel to Denmark. It is crowded, it is hot and it is pumping with energy. Since 2005 it has been the place where people go dancing to electronic music and has delivered lineups with the best international and local artists from the underground nightlife scene. There is no dres’ code and they welcoming everybody here, it is awesome. As a bonus for the early birds, they offer unlimited free flow Tuborg Gold included in the entrance fee on Fridays and Saturday during their first opening hour. It has been rewarded the best Danish nightclub and it is easy to see why.
Rust is the place in the city for both concerts and clubbing. When there´s no live music the place turns into a multi-floor nightclub. This urban gem located in the vibrant area of Nørrbro is the home to indie rock, indie pop, hip hop and electronica. Rust is the perfect club for people who prefer something a bit outside of the mainstream scene. They frequently host a great mix of local Danish DJ´s and upcoming international artists.
If you´re into hip hip hop, funk, break dancing and street art make sure to go on a Wednesday night, for a spectacular and interactive night of live acts and performances.
It is not for nothing Vega is called the queen of nightclubs in Copenhagen. With a capacity of 2000 people and the best DJ´s in town, Vega attracts the young and hip crowd of Copenhagen. It is actually two nightclubs in the same place with 12 different bars. It might not be the same off-the-grid vibes as Culture Box, but it is for sure the place if you want a big nightclub in an impressive setting.
If you want a bar with character and charisma, Jolene is the place to go. Situated in an old butcher´s shop in the hip Meatpacking district it attracts lots of different types of people. There is no cover charge and upon entering the club you´re immediately struck by the familiar feel of dancing bodies and excited minds. If you need a break from the intensity of the dancefloor there is a super cool beer garden in the back where you easily can knock off a few hours in great conversations …with shots.
Across from Jolene is one of the hippest clubs in Copenhagen – the Noho. With it´s unique décor, fluorescent lights and pink flower ceiling combined with an industrial vibe you can easily mistake it for a New York bar. Noho has that vibe where you don´t really notice how it changes from a bar into a nightclub. All of a suddn that smooth transition has happened and you are the life of the party. ….but be warned, going here for that “one drink” usually ends up with you stumbling out into the morning light with a tired yet absolutely delighted smile on your face.
15. Jazzhus Montmartre
If you´re into jazz, and even if you´re not, you can´t visit the nightlife scene of Copenhagen without a stop at Jazzhouse Montmartre. This eclectic jazz venue will turn any sceptic into a jazz lover. It has become somewhat of an institution and even if there are plenty of jazz clubs in Copenhagen, this is THE one. If you want to experience something out of the ordinary, I highly recommend a visit!
16. Mikkeller Bar
Denmark wouldn´t be Denmark without beer. And you will find beer everywhere. But you won´t find a beer bar like Mikkeller Bar. It was founded with the ambition to create the best beer bar in the world. You will find their own beers, both on tap and on the bottle, as well as other beer from some of the worlds best breweries. The prices are fair, and you can accompany your beer with some delicious Danish snacks. Or why not do a mini beer tasting? With around 40 different beer on tap and another 40-something on bottle mixed with a Scandinavian fresh interior and a great vibe, they might just have succeeded in creating the best beer bar in the world.
Want something that isn´t just a bar? A place where it is easy to meet people and where you can combine drinking with something else, let´s say beer pong. Then Dupong is your place! The beer is cheap, and so are the cocktails (2 for 9 Euros). You are guaranteed to make new acquaintances and leave with a smile.
Where will you start your adventure to explore Copenhagen Nightlife? Let us know in the comments below.
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