It’s no secret that Icelanders like a drink—or, more specifically, a beer. Or ten. Wine, on the other hand, often gets overlooked. But lately, the local drinking culture appears to be evolving, perhaps partially to cater to the vast and ongoing tourist influx, so for those who favour red teeth over beer breath and grape over grain, there’s more on offer in Reykjavík than ever before.
Every oenophile—wine connoisseur, for the uninitiated—knows that to truly appreciate wine, it’s imperative to find a quiet and undistracting environment. Enter: Port 9. This hidden gem, located behind the Reykjavík Residence, serves up a dizzying list of more than 400 wines from around the world. Complete with a Mediterranean tapas menu to match, it’s the perfect place to escape the loud shenanigans of other Reykjavík bars and relax with a bottle of Marlborough Chardonnay or Lebanon red blend. They also boast a stellar brunch. HJC
This hotel bar is owned by a sommelier who’s set his sights on bringing wines to Reykjavík that aren’t available anywhere else in the city. In a smart, freshly-renovated bar room, you can choose from eight wines sold by the glass, or over 100 more sold by the bottle. Champagne runs from 8,500 ISK to 80,000 ISK a bottle—but if happy hour is more your speed, house wines are 1000 ISK from 4-7pm. The decadent cheese board is well worth the 1,300 ISK price tag. JR
Marshall House Bar + Restaurant
Focussing on Old World wines, this much-admired new bar and Italian restaurant has a great list to choose from, in a beautiful dining room. The floor to ceiling windows make it feel airy even on the gloomiest day, and you can twin your visit with a wander around the three galleries in the floors above. There are five wines available by the glass, and twenty available by the bottle. It’s closed on Mondays. JR
Iceland lightly grazes the outer rim of the Arctic Circle, with harsh winds and cold temperatures to match. Inspired by this, Geiri Smart’s wine menu showcases cold climate wines. With a list organised by latitude, you’ll find a selection of obscure bottles unlike any selection in the city. Cool climate wines are subtler in taste, with lower alcohol and higher acidity, which showcases spicy, floral and herbaceous tones. Since Geiri Smart has a sommelier in residence, the wine pairings also compliment each course perfectly. HJC
Hlemmur Mathöll, Laugavegur 107
Part of the fun at the Hlemmur Mathöll food hall is nosing around all the options on offer from the various bars and stands. Kröst prides itself on the wine list. If you ask for a simple house red, you’ll find yourself drawn into a chat with one of the knowledgeable bartenders about their current selection; the staff taste many different wines, picking out their favourites to form a concise list that changes every month. JR
Read more Reykjavík city guides here.