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 has been a stalwart in the bar scene for quite some time now, and with good cause. It’s a great place to go anytime and for almost any reason—early weeknight drinks with work mates, late weekend nights on your own, dancing with your friends, or catching a quality gig in their excellent music and events programme. “I know that I’ll always see someone I know there, and that’s comforting,” said a panelist. The drinks are varied and well priced, the staff are cute and friendly, the toilets are clean, and with the recent addition of karaoke downstairs, they truly are the best bar.
This was a very close race between Húrra and Prikið—with the former winning out almost exclusively because of space and clean bathrooms—but Prikið is great. A good happy hour, fun DJs playing mainly hip-hop, a fun yet small dance floor, and a generally upbeat atmosphere. If you can beat the line, enjoy.
Kaffibarinn is a classic, hands down, and the panel agreed that it couldn’t go without a nod for its consistent quality in the local bar scene. It’s a particularly great place to go on weeknights, as the weekends can get extremely packed with long lines, but those parties do get wild. Just don’t you dare take a picture in there!
2015: KEX Hostel
2013: Dolly (RIP)
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2017 magazine, posted worldwide, at gpv.is/buybestof.