City Guide: A Goth Day In Reykjavík - The Reykjavik Grapevine

City Guide: A Goth Day In Reykjavík

City Guide: A Goth Day In Reykjavík

Published April 22, 2018

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photos by
Art Bicnick & Wiki Commons

Travelling as a goth is always a struggle. Your metal chains get caught in airport security, hotels serve up floral duvet covers, and minibars lack absinthe. What’s a ghoul to do? Never fear though, fellow saturnine sightseers. Here’s a day in Reykjavík that Brandon Lee would be proud of. 

Breakfast: Black Coffee At Reykjavík Roasters
Kárastígur 1 & Brautarholt 2
The interior of Reykjavík Roasters does not scream goth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, with a cosy intellectual vibe that’s more Sigur Rós than Sisters Of Mercy. That said, they’ve got the darkest brews in the city, so grab a double espresso and cuddle up to your worn-in paperback Anne Rice. Pro-tip: Avoid the window seats if you want to keep your porcelain complexion. 

Shopping: Records At Geisladiskabúð Valda
Laugavegur 64
Just a short slither away is Geisladiskabúð Valda, a tucked away treasure chest filled to the brim with goodies. While it sells everything from Spiderman comics to Super Mario for Nintendo 64, their selection of goth, rock, and metal music is unequivocally the best in the country. Dig around for releases from Icelandic black metal cassette label Vánagandr, sleazy horror films, and even bizarro objects like a bootleg Japanese Nightwish CD. Be careful though, you don’t want to chip your black nail varnish. 

Lunch: Sheep’s Head At BSÍ
Vatnsmýrarvegi 10
Next to burning down Hallgrímskirkja, there is nothing more metal in Iceland than eating a sheep’s head. While you can grab one yourself at any grocery store, pay homage to your mall-goth roots and eat one at the bus station. Pick up some bitter liquorice for dessert, then get bitter. 

Activity: Ghost Stories & Photoshoot At Hólavallagarður
Suðurgata
If your VampireFreaks profile needs some fresh blood, time warp your way to the Hólavallagarður cemetery in Vesturbær. There, enter into the canon of Icelandic ghost stories (‘draugasögur’), most of which are available online, with an impromptu story hour. Start with ‘The Deacon Of Dark River’ then journey into deep cuts like ‘The Midwife Of The Elves’. Finish your afternoon with some dark photographic documentation in front of the Mausoleum, which is sometimes left open.

Shopping: Rokk & Rómantík
Laugavegur 62
Before you enter the dark abyss of Reykjavík nightlife, pick up some abysmally dark clothing at Rokk & Rómantik. They’re the only place to find vinyl corsets, platform boots, Killstar t-shirts, and mesh dresses in the city. 

Night: Cocktails & A Concert At Gaukurinn
Tryggvagata 22
Gaukurinn is the dedicated alt-haunt for Reykjavík’s resident weirdo population. Not only does it play (g)host to most metal/goth/rock shows in the city, but it also has regular screenings of Buffy, bimonthly drag extravaganzas and occasional BDSM nights. Along with a grungy vibe, their cocktail menu is also aesthetically fitting. Start with the Goth Moss, a matte black play on a Cosmopolitan that’s straight out of Studio 54 Transylvania. Next, grab a Black Metal Brew— a potent mix of Brennivín, Fernet and dark stout. Then loiter in the smoking area and suck on a Djarum Black. Congratulations, you’ve completely lived up to the stereotype. 

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