Reykjavík’s bar scene has been in a state of relative stasis over the last year or two. Since the miniature craft bar revolution, the handful of new places that have appeared have been upscale restaurant-bars or speciality bars—the kind of places you’d primarily go to for lunch, or a civilised wine. Recently, however, five new “proper” bars appeared on the radar, almost simultaneously. Binge-drinkers, barflies, flappers and flaneurs, rejoice!
Bastard Brew & Food
This massive new gastropub is ambitious in scale, with a micro brewery on the first floor, two ground floor bar rooms, and a large awning-covered yard. They have a wide variety on the taps, more centred on easy-going session lagers and beers than challenging sours and existentially dark stouts, and a kick-ass bar menu (try the house burger, served with beef brisket on the patty, homemade salsa, and pickled jalapenos). On weekdays it’s a chill place for lunch or a few after work beers, and there are DJs on weekends. JR
Several of Reykjavík’s top barmen and beer nerds banded together to open this spacious craft bar in a primo Bankastræti location. The décor is still a bit of a work in progress, but you can’t argue with the selection on offer: there are 16 brews to try, from tried-and-tested faves like Mikkeller & Friends to interesting Icelandic micro-brews, exotic oddities like a pina colada beer and their signature Session range. JR
If your idea of fun involves pints of Guinness and Kilkenny soundtracked by Irish jig music, have we got a place for you! The Irishman is the latest Reykjavík attempt at making Irish pubs cool. With a spacious wrap-around bar and a great downtown location, this one has a better chance than most; while it is undeniably cheesy, there’s something endearing about this effort, like a tiny, cartoonishly Dublin-themed Disney World located on Klapparstígur. It’s like St. Patrick’s Day every day! HJC
Reyjavík’s other new out-and-proud theme bar—so new it’s still throwing pre-parties at the time of writing, and threatening to open soon—takes on the Magic City of the ‘80s. With a sharp aesthetic that’s miles ahead of any other joint in town, Miami serves up pure vice with a splash of cosmopolitanism and a dedicated ping-pong room in the basement. It’s pricey, but the cocktail menu was crafted by veterans of the Reykjavík mixology scene, and the wine and champagne list is well-curated. If you’re a high roller, grab a bottle of Dom Perignon P2 Vintage 1998 for 190,000 ISK. You’ll feel just like you’re in ‘Scarface,’ minus the massacres and mountains of cocaine. HJC
The Scottish-owned Brewdog chain comes to Reykjavík. Started in 2007 by two friends who were dismayed by the monotony of mainstream lagers, Brewdog started out selling their beers at markets and from the back of a van. Now, their business has grown into a craft beer empire with over 1000 employees, 70,000 investors in their innovative “Equity for Punks” scheme, and 46 bars worldwide. It hasn’t opened yet, but keep an eye on our website and we’ll sure to let you know when it does. JR
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