Cosy is a word that gets thrown around a lot. A lot more than it should actually. But sometimes, it is just the right word to describe a place that feels… well, cosy. One of those places that truly is cosy is Hemmi and Valdi’s Colonial Store on Laugavegur 21. Now, colonial store, on the other hand, is not a word (well, phrase really) that does not get thrown around a lot. In prehistoric times (i.e. before the 20th century), a colonial store was a place where you could buy imported groceries from the colonial masters. In our case this involved Denmark, and probably sugar. The modern day version, however, involves beer and baby clothes. But no colonial masters luckily.
“We were just looking for a good idea to execute,” Valdi, one of the owners tells me. The idea they hit upon was to establish a family friendly café / baby clothes store, where they could sell cheap refreshments (and baby clothes) in a relaxed setting for the whole family. The store is located in an old house with big storefront windows, filled with old furniture that looks like it belongs in your grandmother’s living room. Valdi and Hemmi, who are both young fathers, wanted to create a place where the grown-ups could sit down without having to worry about the children being bored after fifteen minutes. “We put a lot into making this a comfortable for the whole family,” Valdi explains.
But after dark (well, it is summer in Iceland, but you know what I am getting at), the place transforms into a nice little bar where the beer sells for a modest 550 ISK and a bottle of red wine for 1900 ISK. “We pack up the baby clothes at night and move on to the beer. The thinking is that during the day, this should be a place for the whole family, but in the evenings, this should be a place for the parents to come and relax,” Valdi says.
The reception has been excellent and plans are already underway to expand the operation. “We have been scheduling jazz nights on Mondays and Tuesdays, we are running a small market outside, and we are looking into getting people to come and do face paint a few days a weeks for the kids and putting up football goals in the port behind the house,” says Valdi. Every Friday and Saturday there is a musical performance, either a live band or a DJ, and the to-do list includes dances for elderly citizens in and a troubadour festival on July 17.
- WHAT: Hemmi & Valdi Nýlenduvöruverslun
- WHERE: Laugavegur 21, 101 Reykjavik
- WEB: hemmiogvaldi.wordpress.com