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 Place For Live Music
The queen of Reykjavík’s grungy bar scene, Gaukurinn is currently the dank home of the city’s queer and alt-culture. With the best sound system in the city, the bar puts on events almost every night—from heavy metal fests to goth nights to drag shows to all manner of eccentricities. It also operates a proactive safe space policy for LGBTQ+ gig goers and features gender neutral bathrooms (and free tampons)! Gaukurinn has consistently been on the forefront of Icelandic music, and many of the biggest and edgiest Icelandic acts—from Hatari to Une Misère—played their first shows there.
IÐNÓ doesn’t host a ton of events, but they have a great stage and know how to throw a party. Over the past year, they’ve put on bumping release concerts, collaborative gigs, and all-out dance parties—without a doubt, IÐNÓ is one of the most thrilling venues in the city.
You never know what you’re going to get at Mengi. The venue is known for their brilliant and eclectic programming. On any given night you might catch an intimate low-fi electronica release or an experimental cowbell symphony. For those looking for the avant-garde in the city, you’ve found it.
2017-18: Húrra (RIP)
2015: Café Rosenberg (RIP)
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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