It’s been two years of off-and-on single-or-double flip-cup-flip-flopping, but as of 2022, bars are officially back in action—and oh, how we needed it! This year was certainly a standout for our local scene. Not only were bar-goers finally safe to sink their extremely appreciative teeth back into the weekly “djamma”, but new spots and old classics stepped up to the plate swinging to give ‘em what they wanted. So cue the orchestra (and the Opal) as we gather once again to celebrate the best that Reykjavík nightlife has to offer. 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…
Best Place For Live Music
Cue the confetti and throw your horns up, for once again, Gaukurinn reigns supreme. With dim lights, leather sofas, gender-neutral bathrooms and free tampons, this bar/venue is the preferred hangout for the unorthodox Reykvíkingar. So if you’re looking for like-minded peeps in the alt and queer scene, there you go. “They have been so ambitious with their events this year. Have you been watching their schedule?” one panellist asked incredulously. From heavy metal fests to quieter indie shows, this second floor haunt does it all, and many of our favourite Icelandic acts—from Hatari to Power Paladin—played their early gigs there. “Their karaoke nights are also legendary because people take it so seriously,” one panel member laughed. “It’s not just drunk women singing Britney. People really perform.”
Whoever does KEX’s bookings deserves a raise—seriously! While they don’t have many shows, every one of them is extremely well curated, seeming to have whichever band or group is most talked about at the moment. “Even though it’s a small stage, it always ends up being such a nice party,” our panel determined. “They really know what they are doing.”
What gave Skuggabaldur this runner up award? All that jazz, baby! (Editor’s Note: We apologise for that terrible, terrible joke.) Anyway, Reykjavík finally has a dedicated jazz venue and the cosy locale serves up the kind of funky, sensual, foot-tapping vibe you need when listening to someone solo on a bass. Their food is pretty good too.
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2022 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Reykjavík—here, posted worldwide.
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