Copenhagen Bars & Nightlife
Nybrogade 10, Indre By
Located in an old building (so old that Det Danske Spiritus Kompagni, one of Denmark’s leading spirits distrubutors, formed in the townhouse in 1882) in an even older part of town, Ruby is a thoroughly Copenhagen cocktail bar. The featured drink menu changes with the seasons and incorporates ingredients like lovage and fennel seed. Champagne, beer and wine round out the list, along with non-alcoholic drinks as enticing and creative as their boozy counterparts.
Guldbergsgade 29F, Nørrebro
Brus is probably the classiest brewpub you'll ever visit (despite being located in a gritty former iron foundry) with exposed brick walls, copper taps, and sculptural wood light fixtures illuminating the bar. Part of the To Øl brewery—founded by two former Mikkeller brewers—there are over twenty craft beers on tap. If the mood takes you, there are kegging and brewing classes available, but the more vacation appropriate choice is to take a seat, order a few snacks, and get acquainted with a craft beer or two.
Design Werck and Vinwerck
Krudtløbsvej 12, Christianshavn
Part of a design showroom complex—masterminded by Brigitte Bjerregaard—Vinwerck is a cozy, wine cellar-type space that accompanies the design gallery (Design Werck) and café, all located in an old naval building on the canal. The wine itself acts as the décor, there are cases filled with bottles stacked in the corners, and the floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled with everything from Cabernet Sauvignon to Malbec. Take a look at the over thirty designers featured in the showroom, stop by the cellar for a glass afterward, and listen to the artists and designers talk shop at the tables around you.
Vesterbrogade 72B, Vesterbro
Lidkoeb is one of the most hyggelig (warm and cozy, Danish-style) spots in Copenhagen. The interior is very cocktail-bar-meets-rustic-cabin with sheepskin throws over the backs of the leather seats, chevron redbrick floors, and a roaring open fireplace. Almost hidden upstairs, in the eaves of the attic, is the dark and moody, low-lit whiskey bar—perfect for an intimate drink with a significant other.
Viktoriagade 8, Vesterbro
Started by a former math teacher turned master brewer, Mikkeller is fast becoming one of Denmark's most successful micro-breweries. While the Mikkeller brews are sold at various spots around the world (including a new Mikkeller bar in DTLA), Copenhagen's Bar Mikkeller is the original spot, with up to twenty different taps. The space is a modern interpretation of a Danish pub, surprisingly light and airy with wooden furniture, gold fixtures, and a polished green floor.
The Barking Dog
Sankt Hans Gade 19, Nørrebro
This bar is an informal, relaxed spot for a drink with comfy sofas and a chic, checkerboard floor. The owners have gone for an upscale British pub vibe with plenty of beers and wine by the glass on the menu, as well as a solid mezcal selection. Unlike many bars in the city, the music is low enough to have proper conversations and the cozy seating invites you to linger through the evening. The owners have also put real thought into their non-alcoholic cocktail list, which features fresh juice blends with spicy kicks like chili and ginger for the more abstemious among us.
Gråbrødretorv 8, Indre By
Descending down the staircase to the cocktail bar sort of feels like walking onto a Mad Men set—which is exactly the retro vibe the owners are going for. Avoid the basement club space and instead stick to the more mellow, intimate cocktail bar. Settle into one of the comfortable armchairs or a discreet corner table in a room that resembles a cozy, wood-paneled library (there are actual shelves filled with books), and order a drink from the award-winning bartenders.
Ved Standen 10
Ved Standen 10, Indre By
Situated right on the canal opposite the stunning Christiansborg building (home of the Danish Parliament), Ved Standen 10 has a loyal following (read: always full). A favorite drinking spot for the city's best chefs, there's a broad selection of natural and biodynamic wines as well as craft beers on tap. The interior is incredibly inviting: floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled with wine bottles, and patrons sit at cozy round tables. The owners know how to keep it interesting—Monday nights play host to guest chefs of all levels and Wednesdays are reserved for tastings. The food is tapas style, ranging from cold cuts and cheese to roasted pork belly. You'll see the same people perched on stools, glasses in hand, every time—this bar is a neighborhood institution.
Mälartorget 15, Gamla Stan
All bars in Sweden are obliged to serve food, which makes a true wine-centric bar a real find. Gaston is arguably the best in Stockholm, with over 400 labels by small Old and New World producers on the menu. The interior is a modern interpretation of Scandinavian design—textural, wood-slatted walls, tall marble-topped tables, and copper accents. While this is primarily a wine bar (with no less than four sommeliers on staff) the bar snacks and small plates come from the incredible Flying Elk next door; the parmesan popcorn, in particular, is hard to resist.