From Iceland — PARTY 101


Published September 2, 2011


 Now that the bells have begun ringing your asses back to those classes. Don’t be sad. You gotta stay positive, and you’ve got to keep in mind that even though that annoying and needy RRRRIIING that sounds every hour or so throughout the school day signifies your enslavement to the books, it also rings in your FREEDOM TO PARTY every Friday afternoon. Or every afternoon if you’re thus inclined.

The jargon your professors write on the blackboard all day often seems wonderfully straightforward compared to what happens when school’s out: all those ‘science-trips,’ student festivals, not to mention the endless codes of conduct, rules and hierarchy of the party-scene of 101 Reykjavík. So if you’re a virgin to the roundabout, here’s a recap of the basics.

To start things off, a quick guide to who-hangs-out-where is appropriate, so you may avoid kicking back with the ‘wrong’ crowd. We all know gossip travels faster than light, and if you just started scraping out business plans with some trust-fund babies at Reykjavík University, they won’t forgive a Bakkus bender. At least not until next semester, and that we cannot risk. So let’s split things into three categories to simplify up: ‘Humanities,’ ‘Arts’ and ‘Business.’ I realise this categorisation is a bit shallow, but I mean, it’s a fair assumption that the people studying similar subjects aim for a similar lifestyle and like to talk to similar people. Similar stuff. There are of course people that actually enjoy talking to folks who don’t mirror them completely, but this is rather an exception, so let’s get to business.


So if you’re studying business or something in a related field (that optimally gets you a lot of money) you’re likely to want your drinks professionally mixed, surroundings fancy, or at least tidy, and your fellows stylish and neat. The music has to be catchy rather than ambitious, and a Colgate smile and nicely waxed tail is more important than witty remarks. The places that fulfil your criteria these days are B5, Austur and Laundromat (open ‘til 3 AM). Art kids usually crowd Bakkus, where you can get stale beer from rusty pipes, listen to exemplary music at all times and feel old if you’re over twenty. If you’re more into performance arts you might wanna head up to Næsti Bar, where local actors and other mini-celebs encourage each other’s spirits with drunken soft-soaping, or even up to Kaffibarinn, the notorious hang-out of ’93 that still survives on the reputation of long lost parties. Humanity-studying kids are the hardest to shallowly narrow up, like I’ve done with the other two groups. That’s mostly because that swarm is a split between scholars and intellectuals on one hand and people that just don’t know what they want to do with their lives on the other. So I recommend a nice bottle of vino, and once finished they should bend either in a more artistic or money-thinking direction and at that point they can refer to the above tips.


Everyone knows you can’t hang out all the time at the local bars, it’s way too expensive and boring, and that’s why the universities have various student-party thingies. So-called ‘science-trips’ (“Vísindaferð”) are the most popular. In theory, a ‘science-trip’ is a party thrown by HR departments of companies scouting for new blood, but in reality these shindigs are just a competition amongst students who can thrust the most free booze down their throats in the two hours some guy is babbling about the company’s excellent functions. With a really fancy name, that surely vindicates getting wasted at 5 PM.
 So please go get trippy on science if you can! Beer-festivals like Oktoberfest and the like can be found in most educational entities around, and they should be frequented; the beer is always subsidised by the university for ‘cultural reasons,’ and it’s almost like going to a crazy outdoor festivals without having to sleep in a tent.
 Balls and annual celebrations are OK if they are conducted by your department. However, if they’re open-for-all, forget about it. Unless you want to listen to cliché Páll Óskar tunes and jump to Rage Against the Machine whilst watching the next guy shove his tongue down some sweaty social misfit.
 There you go! Now there’s nothing to do but wish you a nice and boozy semester!

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