Few words look better together in the English language than “cocktail happy hour,” especially in Reykjavík, where liquor comes at a premium. With an ever-growing cocktail culture, and a strong tradition of bars and restaurants having after-work (or during work, for that matter) happy hours, it’s increasingly possible to sip something light and sour or dark and sweet without having to first mortgage your pancreas.
15:00-18:00: Slippbarinn, Mýrargata 2
This well-known and much-loved cocktail palace is located in the airy, fancy, design-y bar of Hotel Marina. Their cocktail list is rapidly-changing and experimental, often using Icelandic ingredients like birch liquor and Brennivín, but the bar staff are some of the best in town when it comes to doing the classics, however you like them. During happy hour, you can get a wide range of cocktails for 1,200 ISK. Or a beer for 500 ISK. But why would you want beer? It’s cocktail happy hour.
16:00-18:00 (not Monday): Marshall Bar + Restaurant, Grandagarður 20
Perched out on the end of Grandi, this airy, spacious bar sits beneath three floors of cutting-edge art galleries. This means that if you’ve carefully timed your weekly cultural intake, and perused what’s going on in Klang & Bang and NÝLÓ, you’re right on cue for a cut-price cocktail. They tend towards the long and fruity side, but that just means it’s a good place to start your evening.
16:00-18:00: Pablo Discobar, Veltusund 1
Pablo Discobar is quite a maximalist drinking environment, from the all-pattern-everything decor to the floor bongo (for, god help us all, customer use). But one thing it has in its favour is a mighty cocktail list, and top-notch bartenders to back it up. Our favourites are the drinks containing pisco and absinthe, but nothing we’ve tried here has let us down.
16:00-20:00: Bar Ananas, Klapparstígur 38
This tropical-themed drinking hole has a fun held-together-with-scotch-tape feel about it. It won the “best place to start the night” award in the winter issue of our Best of Reykjavík magazine, with good reason: the bartender’s Cocktail of the Day will set you back just 1,600 ISK during happy hour.
19:00-21:00: Veður, Klapparstígur 33
This ticked away spot on Klapparstígur has a timely after-work cocktail hour (actually two) when you can get anything on the menu for the not-bad-for-Reykjavík price of 1,500 ISK. They do the classics well, from a generous espresso martini to a sharp and pungent negroni, and if you can get a window seat it’s a great place to while a few hours watching the world go by.
22:00-0:00 (Wed-Sat): Hverfisgata 12, Hverfisgata 12
“The Pizza Place With No Name” has diversified since it opened, launching a killer brunch menu, and a stellar cocktail list. With all kinds of unusual ingredients, unfamiliar bitters and liquors hanging around, the classics tend to come with some pleasantly surprising flavours, and they’re always trying out a new recipe or two. Cocktails are priced 2,000 ISK on happy hour, and they’re worth every króna.