Let’s not beat around the bush: Icelanders love to drink. In fact, there is probably nothing Icelanders like to do more than drink, which could very well be why this country doesn’t have a space program. 2019 was a big year in the downtown drinking scene, with some old favourites closing and some strong newcomers opening. Some facts of life, however, remained the same: alcohol is still expensive, but that doesn’t stop us from partying. How else would we have sex?
Best Goddamn Bar
Three times the charm! Yes, for the third year, the Reykjavík institution of Kaffibarinn is Grapevine’s Best Goddamn Bar. Are you surprised? How could you be? While many Reykjavík bars come and go and redecorate and rename and put on bells and whistles, Kaffibarinn has stayed the course for almost three decades—because it’s just a really good, reliable place. It plays host to Reykjavík’s artistic intellectuals, creative talents, and, well, downtown characters and consistently puts on a show. Basically, you’ll never have a boring night at KB. It’s no ordinary watering hole.
A bar that’s been open but a few months winning the runner-up spot in the Best Goddamn Bar category? Quelle surprise! Well, go to Röntgen on a weekend night and you’ll understand why. It’s a party bar in the purest sense, with a rowdy dance floor, delicious cocktails and a fanbase that’s just growing and growing. We stan.
With dim lights, leather sofas, and gender-neutral bathrooms, Gaukurinn is the preferred hangout for the unorthodox Reykvíkingar, so if you’re looking for like-minded peeps, here you go. The venue hosts everything from metal to underground rap to drag extravaganzas to stand-up comedy, so you never really know what you’re gonna get on any given night.
2017: Húrra (RIP)
2015: KEX Hostel
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2020 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Reykjavík—here, posted worldwide.
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