Time Capsule: Hótel Holt’s Bar - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Time Capsule: Hótel Holt’s Bar

Time Capsule: Hótel Holt’s Bar

Published April 19, 2017

Photos by
Timothée Lambrecq

Hótel Holt, built in 1965, has changed little over the decades. You can feel it the moment you walk into the lobby, with its low-slung ceilings, warm polished wood walls and tiled floors. But if you want to get real retro, you need to go to the back-room bar.

The first thing you will notice is the plush burgundy carpeting, which feels like walking on Tony Bennett’s voice. The walls are positively covered with quick-sketch portraits from famed Icelandic artist Kjarval. Many of these sketches, drawn on packing paper back when Kjarval was a young unknown, were donated by the artist to the hotel’s original owner. The chairs are leather with suede sides. In fact, the only indication that you aren’t in 1965 are the JPL speakers tucked discreetly into the corners of the ceiling, and the wifi router hidden under one of the tables. This is not a bar to go to do shots of Ópal and pound pints of Víking. This is where you go to sip a Tom Collins and discuss postmodernism.

In a city where the bars increasingly focus on volume of sales over quality of atmosphere, the bar at Hótel Holt is more than a time capsule; it’s an oasis of class in a sea of green cans.

Read more “Time Capsule” articles here.

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