The Neighbourhood Mall - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Neighbourhood Mall

The Neighbourhood Mall

Published December 5, 2005

As much as many of us have been conditioned to loathe anything to do with large, characterless malls located far from historic city centres, to see them as community destroyers, chapels for the worship of the disposable materialism that has caused so many of the world’s ills… actually, that’s about it. Malls are god-awful places. The next generation will tear them all down.
Until the smarter, more community-minded children of our children tear down these monstrosities, we have to live. And that means we have to buy plastic items, fast food, and coffee. To do this, you can visit the Kringlan Mall. On the bright side, Kringlan is actually closer to the centre of Reykjavík than Laugavegur is—geographically speaking, not culturally. Due to abysmal urban planning, it is in the nether-section of Reykjavík, across the six-lane cross-town highway that now cleanly bisects the city so hazardously that you’re better off driving the four kilometres from downtown Reykjavík to Kringlan than walking… at least until something can be done to protect pedestrians.
Okay, so positives for Kringlan:
1) It really is in the centre of Reykjavík.
2) It contains one of the most celebrated local coffee shops in town, {Kaffitár}.
3) It is a part of the city—it has been around since 1987 is located next to the city theatre and it has a library.
4) You can buy designer clothing from foreign lands at major label stores without being judged—if anyone catches you, that means that they too are in Kringlan, which they aren’t going to admit anytime soon.
5) The liquor store is open longer than other locations in the city, and it has a better selection.
6) There is an excellent mosaic by Erró, the Icelandic pop artist, off of a key corridor.
Here are the most-loved stores in Kringlan:
{Hagkaup} is both a cheap department store and the high-end grocery store. The grocery store is renowned for its produce, and for its fish—it competes as the best place to get fish in the city. All around, the food is expensive and of fine quality, though much of it can be purchased for less at {Bónus}, a cheap grocery store in the same mall owned by the same parent company, Baugur. The presence of these two grocery stores, some of the largest and busiest in the city, makes Kringlan feel a little more like a shopping street than a mall. The {ÁTVR}, or State Liquor Store, also shapes the feel of Kringlan. The {ÁTVR} in Kringlan has the best selection in the city, especially for liquors. It also has extended opening hours, and it sells cold beer. During the holidays especially, if you are planning to entertain, knowing about the Kringlan {ÁTVR} is essential.
The movies and the dining are also cherished at Kringlan—a similar grade of each. Kringlan hosts the closest {McDonald’s} to downtown. {Café Konditori} offers good crêpes and coffee. The {Kaffitár} next to {Hagkaup} used to be the hangout for Sígur Rós. The less celebrated, but arguably higher quality other coffee importer, {Te & Kaffi}, also boasts a Kringlan branch. The new {Booztbarinn} shake hut offers skyr shakes—reputed to be healthy. Serrano’s also offers healthy fast food, which can be counteracted with a visit to {Ísbúðin}, the mall ice cream shop, which is popular year round. {Kringlabíó} gets all the blockbusters, and offers convenient show times—typically, shows sell out less often at {Kringlabíó} than the downtown cinemas.
Shopping selection is modern. Locals head straight for {Jack and Jones} jeans or the more upscale {Gallerí Sautján}. Few people ever enter {Dressman}, a Norwegian chain that features outlandishly self-assured grey-haired models, but one rarely hears any disparaging comments about the store, except that it is inexpensive. Indeed, most of the clothing stores in Kringlan are extremely expensive. The High Street store {Whistles} has just opened a shop, but you can also fulfil your need for Hugo Boss at {Herragarð-urinn}, check out designer casual at {Next}, or buy upscale children’s clothes at {Du Pareil au Même}. {Útilíf} offers outdoor wear on a massive scale, while the Kringlan {66 North} outlet is a key attraction. You can also get good active wear at {Brim} and {Fat Face}.
If you’re into the hygiene thing, {Lush} and {Lyf og heilsa} offer different angles—{Lush} gives you handmade custom soaps, {Lyf og heilsa} is the big local pharmacy.
For odds and ends, six stores are thought of as the cornerstones for errands at Kringlan: {Byggt og búið}, a housing goods store that has everything necessary for the apartment; {Tiger}, an eclectic Danish discount store; {BT} and {Skífan}, for CDs, video games and digital accessories—typically each has some special on buying three or more DVDs or CDs; and the two phone stores, {Síminn} and {Og Vodafone}, located next to each other.
The {Konfektbuðinn}, a large candy shop, is popular, but not so much as the more concealed, and just as massive, {Hagkaup nammibarinn} (candy bar), inside {Hagkaup}.
This of course only scrapes the surface: there are 80 shops in Kringlan altogether. All will gladly take your money and, more than likely, some of your will to live.
Kringlan Shopping Center, Kringlan 4-12,
103 Reykjavík. 568 9200. www.kringlan.is.

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