Once again we come to the time in the year where we do the hard task of assessing which bars and clubs are worthy of a place in the limelight. Reykjavík’s bar culture is quite vast and diverse, ranging from the smallest three-table hole that serves one beer and where regulars threaten you for taking an extra chair, to huge vast glittering bottle-service rooms lined with leather and mirrors. Unfortunately for our panel, selecting these bars doesn’t mean an actual field trip, but it does require a certain—how shall we put it politely—expertise. They range from former bar staff, to performers who find themselves in bars all the time, to writers who sometimes write, and sometimes just drink about it. So here are the results that our ragtag team of (ahem) experts came up with. Now get out there and have a few!
Prikið Bankastræti 12 After three years winning this slot, Kiki has been knocked out by Prikið’s hip-hop-centric come-party-with-us cry. With a tightly packed dance floor that you hit as soon as you enter the bar, you immediately get swept into the fun, friendly party. “It’s the only place I will go alone,” said one panellist, “because you’ll hang out and dance with nice random people. You just feel good in there.” The dancing tends to spread out all over both tightly packed floors while the bartenders swing the lanterns over the bar to keep the party atmosphere high. It’s really cool.
Húrra Tryggvagata 22 Húrra won best all-around bar for many reasons, and one big one is its very big and impressive dancefloor. Every weekend, gig or no gig, Húrra invariably has a great DJ booked and a ton of space in which to flail about like an idiot or pull cool shapes to impress the cuties. You can even dance on the stage!
Paloma Naustin 1-3 Paloma has two rather distinct floors with different DJs and atmospheres, and both have lots of room to dance. The upper level tends to be more mainstream dance/EDM and downstairs skews darker and weirder with niche electronic styles. Both make for a great place to cut loose.
2016: Kiki Queer Bar 2015: Kiki Queer Bar 2014: Kiki Queer Bar 2013: Harlem (RIP)
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2017 magazine, posted worldwide, at gpv.is/buybestof.