You hear it everywhere you go every single day: “Iceland is so expensive!” Especially in relation to alcohol. No one gave you the heads up to hit the airport duty-free store upon your arrival, so now you are faced with exorbitant beer prices and unconscionable state-run liquor store hours. What is a poor wretch to do to have a simple drink without blowing a month’s rent? Well, as you would expect from journalists, we are more than familiar with the cheapest ways to get soused in town. Bear in mind that “cheap drinking” in Reykjavík is still expensive by most standards, but it’s the best we can offer you. Start by equipping yourself with our very handy Appy Hour app, then hit the streets and get sloppy at these charming spots.
This delightfully candlelit corner bar has the perfect balance of cosiness and dinginess, which any good local dive requires to pull off being a loveable bum. Kind of like that roommate you have who spends 72 hours indoors in the same pyjamas and has a bunch of weird clown dolls on their windowsill but still sleeps with gorgeous people in their plush king-sized bed. Bravó has the best happy hour times in town by far—running from 11:00 to 20:00—and they serve good standard pints and a solid selection of bottled beverages. Nice, friendly staff and good DJs, too.
Situated smack downtown on Lækjargata by the pond, what this absolute hole of a dive lacks in class it more than makes up for in discount beer. A Gull and a shot will run you just under 1,000 ISK, and you can find a dim corner to go basically undisturbed as you booze up. Its gruff demeanor is more bark than bite, but I wouldn’t mess with the regulars if I were you. This divey turf is beloved by many, and it just might win your heart, too.
Ölstofan Kormaks & Skjaldar
Not to be confused with the previous dive, this nearly undetectable watering hole is a classic go-to for many locals. With a fine selection of draughts and bottled brews, plus all the shots your thirsty throat could hope for, they keep the prices nice and reasonable in their dim, neighbourhood tavern-esque digs. It’s also one of the few places in town that can pull a proper pint, with their genuine Irish servers on staff.
This shit-hole in the wall is possibly one of the best-worst kept secrets in town. This place is literally the dive-bar equivalent of the movie ‘The Room.’ This is The Disaster Artist of bars. It is amazing. They serve maybe three things (1 beer, 1 or 2 liquors, and potato chips or something), all the music is just played off the barely-legal bartender’s phone, there is one unisex toilet, and the entire place is covered in giant frames containing matchbooks from bars around the world and Elvis-painted-on-velvet. You can get super fucked up for under 3,000 ISK here. The regulars are insane. Enjoy!
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