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!
Húrra Tryggvagata 22 For the third year in a row, Húrra lifts the best live venue prize. Although we generally try to honour different bars in each category, this year Húrra went ahead and won two unanimously, particularly in this case. “Is there any better place? It’s the best and only place I like to play, anyway,” said one musician on the panel. “The staff is great, the sound is great on stage and in the room, the sound techs are awesome, and the sound system is proper!” Part of us wishes there was another venue to consider, but we love Húrra. It’s great!
Gaukurinn Tryggvagata 22 Gaukurinn has long had a reputation as a place for harder-edged metal and punk events, but over the last year it has been ambitious in diversifying its programming, improving its facilities, and creating a friendly and safe space for all. The sound is not that great, but we hope this improves too.
Mengi Óðinsgata 2 Although it’s not exactly a bar, the art and performance space Mengi is one of the top places to catch quality concerts by unique, often experimental musicians. Much of their programming is quite niche but they do get some big draws too, and the sound and visuals are impeccable.
2016: Húrra 2015: Húrra 2014: Café Rosenberg 2013: Volta (RIP)
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2017 magazine, posted worldwide, at gpv.is/buybestof.