From Iceland — PÓSTBARINN and the great post office rush

PÓSTBARINN and the great post office rush

Published January 14, 2005

PÓSTBARINN and the great post office rush

The bars’ name is actually derived from the street it stands on, Pósthússtræti (Post Office Street). The first post office in Iceland is rumoured to have stood on this lot, although this was more likely located next door, where Hótel Borg now stands. The first “postmaster” of Reykjavik was appointed in 1872, and a post office was opened on this street. Mail was not delivered at the time, so when news of a new batch of letters arrived, people would crowd at the office. This even encouraged curious spectators to come in, which resulted in even more overcrowding, and injuries would sometimes result. By 1898 the overcrowding had become intolerable, and the Post Office was moved to available space at the Pósthússtræti elementary school.
The plot of land next to the post office was given a blacksmith in 1799 who built a grassroof farm known as Smidshús (the Smith’s House). It has since changed hands a few times and has also been known as the Skómakarahúsid (The Shoemakerhouse), when owned by a shoeamaker, and “Hansenhús,” when owned by
the merchant brothers Hansen, who tore down the farm in 1820 and built a wooden house there instead.Pósthússtræti 13, where Póstbarinn now stands, used to be part of the same plot of land, but a separate wooden house was built there in 1890.
The bar doubles as a restaurant which specialises in seafood dishes. Particularly nice is the salt fish starter. It is also an art gallery, and has live music, usually of the jazz or blues variety, most weekends. Tom Waits coverband Misery Loves Company has been known to attend.
The bar caters mostly to the over 30 group, and is known as a place where you can actually have a conversation in the evening without having to scream into your partners ear. It is open until 3 at weekends.

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