Oh, us. We spent all that time compiling a nifty BEST OF REYKJAVÍK 2010 list for our last issue. We put a lot of work into it, compiling letters, interviewing folks and throwing meetings and elections. We then detailed our massive findings in four categories: “Dining and grubbing,” “Activities,” “Drinking and nightlife” and “Shopping and commerce.”
Then we forgot to put the “Shopping and commerce” bit into the actual paper.
Yep, it wasn’t in there. Nothing about shopping or commerce. We just… plain forgot to put it in there. Boy, is our face red!
ANYWAY. Here it is now, in case you were wondering about our findings in the “Shopping and commerce” category, and you haven’t bothered looking for them at our website – here they are.
Best place to shop for touristy stuff: Handprjónasambandið
There are now a lot more tourist shops around in Reykjavík than when we researched this category last year. The fact remains unchanged, however, that Handprjónasambandið offers the most authentic, useful and plain nice Iceland-memorabilia out there (unless you’ve got a thing for stuffed puffin and volcanic ash-in-a-bag). Handprjónasambandið sells the ultra-traditional, always-stylish hand-knit sweater, as well as a plethora of other hand-knit items (their name does translate as “The hand knitting association,” so go figure). They sorta rule, we think
Runners-up: The more trendalicious of you might make your way to the Farmers Market store. They also sell a lot of knitwear, but with a stylish, modern twist (“their sweaters look really cool”).
Best place to get a trendy haircut: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn
Rauðhetta og úlfurinn are pretty much verging on institution territory when it comes to trendy haircuts. In fact, that’s what some of your write-ins suggested, as in: “they are Iceland’s hairdressing institution, especially since the place is ancient in ‘fashion years.’ It’s unusual for any place to keep their stature for so long in the fickle word of fashion, but they keep doing it.” It comes with a price, of course.
Runners-up: There were many nominations for all sorts of “unofficial” hairdressing joints that we didn’t really feel comfortable recommending (we don’t want to get anyone arrested for “unauthorised hairstyling” or anything). But you should seek them out if you’re into it. Some folks also mentioned Slippurinn as a fresh new place to shed them locks.
(2009: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn)
Best place to shop second-hand: The Salvation Army store
A veritable treasure chest for those that don’t mind digging around a little for their threads, the Salvation Army store has a lot of nice variety “that you can sink yourself into for hours on end,” as well as “unbeatable prices,” and a nice central location.
Runners-up: The Red Cross stores all have some very nice items on offer, it’s for a great cause and a lot of folks were rooting for them to get the prize. Maybe next year?
Best place to shop for high fashion: KronKron
KronKron have been supplying the fashion conscious crowd with high-end designer wear for many years now. Well stocked with a plethora of interesting and innovative international brands and designers that can make you look all sophisticated and world-weary at the drop of a hat, they’ve managed to “constantly stay ahead of the curve.” Oh, it comes at a price, but beauty is pain and all.
Runners up: In the same league, GK caters to a “slightly older crowd,” but they’ve been doing it with style and panache for a very long time.
Best haberdashery: Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar
There really never was any doubt as to who would score the title here. Shopping at Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar is always a fun and interesting experience, the store clerks are knowledgeable and helpful and you can walk out looking like a Mad Men extra (note: they are probably the reason why so many local dudes walk around looking like Mad Men extras).
Best place to shop organic: Yggdrasill
Even though they moved location, from Skólavörðustígur to Rauðarárstígur, Yggdrasill are still the reigning kings of this category. They’ve got pretty much everything you need for some healthy and/or “health conscious” living in Iceland in stock – except for willpower.
Most welcome addition: Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina
We have no idea if this place is going to stick around for winter, but we want to give it a large BIG UP while they’re here anyway. Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina (“The fish market by the old harbour”) is open every Saturday from 10-17, and they are, well, a fish market. You can buy fresh fish, processed fish and all sorts of other stuff there, mostly fish-related. It really is one of those places that has been sorely lacking in Reykjavík up until now, and we are hoping they’re not going anywhere.
Runner-up: Frú Lauga is another equally welcome addition to the Reykjavík foodie scene. They offer
Best place to stock up on local design: Kraum
There are surprisingly many shops around specialising in all sorts of Icelandic design items. They are all pretty nice (the stores’ appeal will depend a lot on your tastes and likes) but Kraum still received the most nominations and votes in this category, with folks citing that “the range of items and sheer number of designers represented puts them in a league above everyone else in this market,” as one reader remarked It also probably doesn’t hurt that they’re located in the oldest house in Reykjavík (built in 1762 – which means it isn’t really that old).
Most fun shop: Havarí/Útúrdúr
The Havarí/Útúrdúr complex on Austurstræti has certainly brought a lot of fun and character to Reykjavík commerce since they opened for business late last year. Originally conceived as a one off, meant to run only past Xmas, the music and art book complex won enough hearts in a short enough time to justify becoming a permanent addition to Reykjavík’s shopping landscape. As one reader noted, this is probably in no small part due to their “inventiveness and carefree spirit – they regularly stage concerts and display art there, and the poster of the week series is also really cool.”
They are also a fine place to score free drinks from time to time, due to the frequent rate of their openings and concerts.
Best bookstore: Eymundsson Skólavörðustígur
Eymundsson Skólavörðustígur seems to be everyone favourite place to shop for new books in Reykjavík, and we have to agree (even though we wish they’d place less emphasis on their café and more on the actual selling of books).
As you guys pointed out, “they sport the best or at least most interesting selection of English language literature in town,” and “their staff is very knowledgeable and friendly.” Too bad they don’t have their original location any more.
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