The pandemic restrictions certainly shook up the Reykjavík bar scene in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that our favourite drinking institutions didn’t do everything they could to create a safe environment to assuage COVID-19 anxieties. In fact, the past year saw a plethora of new spots opening and old classics keeping the spirit of the city alive. Because let’s be real: Icelanders love to drink. In fact, there is probably nothing Icelanders like doing more than drinking, which could be why this country doesn’t have a space program. But hey—we’ve done pretty well at vaccinations.
Best Outdoor Drinking
Day drinking in the summer is all about angles and here’s our Fjallkonan Fantasy: Last night, things got a little wild at Kaffibarinn, so at 15:00 four gal pals meet up to recap the craziness while indulging in some classy hairs of the dog. Obviously, this means cocktails, and there’s nowhere better to grab ‘em (while enjoying the summer sun) than outside Fjallkonan. There, the four gal pals—a redhead lawyer, a Manolo-clad sex columnist, an uptight art dealer and a slut—sip on cotton candy gin/grapefruit fusions, matcha fused alcohol and, for the slut, an espresso martini, while celebrating female friendship and expensive handbags. We couldn’t help but wonder… is this what summer is all about?
Loft Hostel’s balcony is legendary, which is why we cannot be more jazzed that they’ve re-opened. Their slice of sunny terrace overlooking Bankastræti is heads and shoulders above most of the al fresco drinking spots in Reykjavík, not least because it’s on the roof. It’s a very popular after-work choice, so arrive early to get a table.
Petersen Svítan has that ritzy New York rooftop vibe you don’t often find in Reykjavík. The bar is totally massive with an unparalleled view across the harbour and all the open sun one could wish for. “If there’s a sunny day, absolutely everyone will be there,” one panel member raved, calling it, “basically a daytime seen-and-be-seen kind of place.” The cocktails are good, the couches luxurious, and again, you’re sitting on top of the gorgeous Gamla Bíó—go there and feel fancier than everyone else.
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