Clearly we at the Grapevine know how to get our drink on. We are after all young, abrasive, foul-mouthed party animals who spend most of our time in mosh pits or typing our way through hangovers (or so we would have you believe). Many of our staff moved to this city because of all the fun times to be had, and those often involve a great deal of booze (we are unimaginative like that). In fact, Iceland as a whole is a rather boozy nation—some would call it borderline-if-not-wholly-past-the-line-alcoholic—and good times can be had anywhere, but especially in this fine city. If you want to really partake in a local experience, here are a few great ways to get properly sloshed with us!
This relatively new establishment has weathered the storm of being a feel-good-hit-of-the-summer and has become a staple location on weeknights and -ends alike. Bakkus has a lot going on for it; it’s super colourful and pretty, the bar has gigantic fingers painted on wood behind it (in fact, it is decorated by renowned artist Davíð Örn Halldórsson), there is free foosball, a photo booth and Terminator pinball. There are often things hanging from the ceiling, like open umbrellas, and lots of kids in face paint. Their new sister-bar and neighbour Venue also often has great shows to start the night off with.
The little black dress of Reykjavík‘s nightlife: this indispensable bar is the cornerstone of a good night out. It will never go out of style. It is so classic and reliable in its debauchery. It is two tiny floors of cramped, sweaty, smelly, shoving, pushing, spilling, yelling, dancing, kissing madness full of the coolest and cutest people in town. This is one place that international bar-hoppers must check off the list.
Boston is often a who’s-who of the famous and fashionable people in town (indeed, it is somewhat of a stylized reincarnation of Sirkús). It is also probably the place to spot the better known musicians, if that’s what you came here to do (they feel weird being looked at, though). The lush, classy decor is in perfect complement to the folks that hang out there, set to cool, eclectic music. One of the nicest features of this bar is the spacious back deck, which is more packed than the dance floor on those light summer nights.
Laugavegur 22, entrance on Klapparstígur
As a self-proclaimed straight-friendly queer bar, Barbara is a fantastic spot to cut loose and get footloose. The music here is the perfect balance of processed orange cheese and a glitter explosion, perfect for forgetting how cool you think you are and dancing like crazy on a table to that Katy Perry song you always say you hate. Unlike many bars, it’s actually pretty spacious too. The first floor is generally an entire dance floor, while the upper level holds a nice seating area and a cool smokers’ deck, so you have plenty of room to go off your tits while inducing cancer.
Prikið is kind of badass. They mainly host a fine array of rap, hip hop, dubstep and breakbeat DJs and events, but it’s all around just a really laid back cool place to go. Its great location at the meeting point of Laugavegur and Bankastræti make you feel right in the heart of it all and it’s cosy, but big enough to feel at ease. They are also well known for their summer jam block parties.
Granted this one might be a bit tougher if you don’t know anyone in Iceland, but we strongly urge you to get to know the locals and crash their parties. Usually people don’t go out to any of the aforementioned places until really, really late. Like nearly two AM. This is because they are at home greasing the wheels with much cheaper alcohol from the liquor store or moonshine. If you just got into town with duty free booze, you will be very warmly welcomed. You also won’t feel like such a sober fool as you parade your way down to the first bar of the night, where everyone is already fucked up. Now go make some friends!
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