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 Goddamn Bar
The panel’s unanimous choice for the Best Goddamn Bar was obvious: Röntgen. This place has it all. “You can go there in the beginning of the night, the middle of the night, or end the night there. It has everything from a rowdy downstairs dance floor to a chiller upstairs area to mingle,” one panellist gushed. “And their DJs are really flexible—they always play based on the mood of the crowd. Not all bars are so good at that!” Yes, despite only appearing on the downtown market a short time ago, the place has quickly dominated the Reykjavík bar scene, with a fashionable clientele and environment that has proved one thing: This place is here to stay. “They also have Peroni on draft,” another panellist laughed. “Is that enough for a win from me?” It is. We bow down, Röntgen.
Ahh… Kaffibarinn. 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 downtown characters, consistently putting on a show. You’ll never have a boring night at KB. It’s no ordinary watering hole.
Prikið is the bar version of the “I’m going to bed early tonight vs. me at 3 a.m.” meme. At 22:00 you’ll have a bunch of regulars relaxing at the bar sipping brews, but arrive at 3:00 and it’s Project X. Don’t ever miss their concerts—you probably won’t find a crazier crowd than a rap show at Prikið.
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