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 Kept Secret
12 Tónar’s small bar has managed to fly under many people’s radars, despite being one of the most unique spots in the city, with a selection of fantastic Reykjavík Brewing Company beers and an equally fantastic roster of DJs and music acts to accompany them. “It feels like you’re in a small pub in Berlin,” one panel member raved. “The emphasis is so much on the quality of the music. It’s a place for vinyl and music lovers, so it’s the perfect place for someone who is looking for a spot to sit and appreciate the finer elements of music and beer.” The outside area ain’t too shabby either.
Bál Vín og Grill is located in the Borg29 food hall and, in addition to serving up absolutely delicious food, their wine list is unparalleled. “It’s really hard to compare it with anywhere else in the city,” explains one panellist. “The environment is rather casual but you’ve got just such an incredible wine selection—it’s better than what you’d find at high-end restaurants. And of course, it’s good to get a few little things to eat along with it.” We’d recommend their beer tartare.
“Can we not put this down because I don’t want people to know about it?” one panel member laughed. Aldamót, which took over the former Klaustur space, was a popular pandemic-spot, due to its fantastic safety adherence and safe ambiance. “It’s super cosy and they have great drinks.” The spot, which is both totally classy and totally inviting, is never too busy or too empty—Aldamót is, above all else, a sweet spot.
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