22, formerly known as Barinn, has done a lot in recent weeks to change its image to that of a friendlier place. The urban murals that once covered the walls were painted over in gentler, muted pastel. They’ve gotten all new DJs, and started serving their own food. 22 has been taking strides to expand its range to the daytime customer. That said, 22 still thoroughly maintains a bar atmosphere, despite a significant shift in the opposite direction. With coloured halogen lighting, disco balls, a spacious upstairs, and accessible bathrooms, 22 is still set up to be a happening night spot.
The menu at 22 looks really, really good and everything is very well-priced. Matching an appetizer with a sandwich was no picnic. In my desperation, I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich alongside a beer, with a bread basket to start (oops). My bread basket arrived promptly, and featured freshly toasted bread with dried tomato and olive spread and parmesan cheese. These were all okay but never got beyond that, no matter the combination of condiments I tried. The sandwich was quick to follow, accompanied with little fried potatoes and a creamy dipping sauce. The potatoes were over-salted, a taste which was multiplied when coupled with the dipping sauce. But with the beer it was delicious, its prickly breadiness matching beautifully with the tangy, salty potatoes. Despite containing delicious things like bacon, spinach, guacamole, and grilled chicken, the sandwich just tasted uniformly of bacon, no matter how many bites I took to find those other toppings. After a while it dawned on me the weight the food took on, consolidating into a queasy brick in my stomach. My sandwich started to look more and more like an adversary. I didn’t finish it.
22 is definitely putting in the effort to bring people in off the street for a quick bite and a beer for lunch. However, it still puts the drinks first when it comes down to it. Sitting perched on a high seat in a dark, stale room with only a trickle of light squeaking in from the clear summer’s day outside, I was still being served lunch, but at a bar in the daytime. The food is good, but to be fully satisfactory, a smooth level of intoxication seems to be necessary. With an affordable menu designed to match and soak up alcohol without sapping your wallet too much, 22 is still firmly planted on the late night bar route.
- WHERE: Laugavegur 22 101 Reykjavík
- CONTACT: Tel.: 578 7800