The weather in Iceland can change drastically from day to day, and from moment to moment, so you have to grab any opportunity that presents itself to drink a beer in the sun. Pro-tip: even if the city is in the midst of a sweltering 15-degree heatwave, it’ll probably still get chilly later on, so don’t let Iceland’s summer impersonation fool you—throw a scarf in your bag before heading out to one of these sunny day drinking holes we’ve selected for you.
Loft stands many heads and shoulders above most of the al fresco drinking spots in Reykjavík, not least because it’s on the roof the Loft hostel and has a balcony that looks over downtown. They have a good happy hour and a decent beer selection, making it the perfect place to drop by and catch some late afternoon sun. Be warned, it’s a very popular after-work choice, so arrive early to get a table.
Café Paris recently underwent a renovation that put it back on our radar. Headed up by an an experienced chef who formerly worked at Snaps, they now offer an all-day brunch with perfect poached eggs, table service, a good drinks menu, and a large outdoor seating area that catches the sun into the early evening. If the tables are all taken, try Nóra Magasin, just across the street.
Boston is a fading party spot, but one thing they have going for them is a large balcony area with lots of sofas and plenty of table space. It’s covered over, and there are patio heaters, so it’s still cosy when the night descends. There are often DJs and bands later on in the evening, and the beer selection is decent, so it’s a good option on a summer’s day.
Located atop a downtown Center Hotel, Sky Bar is a glass box that overlooks Harpa and Esja. There’s a spacious balcony, and if there’s one of those glorious eternal Reykjavík sunsets, the pink light streams through the room. It’s mostly frequented by hotel guests, but it’s one of the best views in town.
This busy spot is on Laugavegur, right in the heart of downtown, with outdoor tables an arm’s length from the teeming street life. There’s a good happy hour, and the rest of Reykjavík’s nightlife is right on your doorstep, so it’s a good jumping-off point for a summer night out.
The Pedersen Suite
The Pedersen Suite is a rooftop bar located on the top of the cavernous Gamla Bíó theatre. It has loads of seating with soft furniture to luxuriate on, a view across the harbour, cocktails, and all the sun could you could wish for. The regular crowd is made up of loud startup types and businesspeople, but if you find a good niche, maybe you can ignore them.
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