A Mission from God?
The Editor called me one morning, “Klemens, I trust you more than other men to go out there and drink your pants off, and then write me something about it. And don’t embarrass me: you are to thoroughly investigate each and every alcoholic aspect of the bar.” The bar was Café Cozy. To actually get paid for drinking is many a man’s dream come true and I sure am one of those men. Naturally, I took on the assignment and decided to do my best; drink the bar dry.
Cosy, Yes, En-Urination, No
Yes, it’s cosy; with people quietly chatting and the lights not too bright, not too dim. It’s a tidy place; nothing you see has the stamp of “en-urination achieved”, as I’d feared. (Considering that they serve (3 for 1000 ISK) one of the cheapest beers in Reykjavík, and they’re just across the street from Kaffi Austurstræti, a bar infamous for its alcoholic outcasts.)
Second surprise: food on the table. I’d learned the art of consuming food with wine in Europe, but rarely have I seen it practiced in Icelandic bars. You consider yourself lucky finding vending machines with a can of peanuts in most places. Here, at Cozy at nine in the evening, there’s cake and panini to be eaten. Simmi, a most courteous bartender claiming five years’ experience as assistant manager of the London Hilton, tells me that during weekends they serve food here until six in the morning.
Dance Me to the End of Love
The panini Simmi serves is fine, as is the beer. On the walls there’s an exhibition of mellow (and a bit corny) paintings. The stereo’s playing stuff like Billy Joel and passable American AOR hits. As for dancing, the space to move in is very limited and you’re bound to get intimately physical with your neighbour as you move around, whether you want to or not.
As the night progressed and I started swallowing cocktails (yes, pun intended), I noticed the café’s biggest flaw: the limited variety of beverages. So what if they couldn’t make mojitos? (Simmi made me a nice “Pink Simmi” instead!) What’s unforgivable is not serving the only decent dark rum available in Iceland (Havana Club) and not having my favourite vodka (Stolichnaya); plus, you can’t buy any tobacco. A medium quality 33cl bottled beer costs you an insulting 600 ISK. (Considering the superior Czech beer Budvar, 1/2 litre at 500 ISK being available in some bars in Reykjavík.) Apart from that, Café Cozy is now on my top ten.