Eulogising an icon of Reykjavík nightlife
It was twelve years ago tonight (Halloween) that I sat alone by the bar — then known as Bakkus — dressed up as Catwoman and met my now ex-husband. Five years later, we would be a few metres away — now known as Húrra — standing in the doorway leading to the dance floor, where that relationship would crumble beyond repair.
Falling in love and losing it all. That’s all that happened in that place, in multitudes of iterations, while we danced and drank and smashed into the smoking area and bruised our legs on the stage and cut the line by knowing “someone” and stayed way after “allir út!” had been cried too many times. Where we spilled into Naustin and the sunlight at 05:00, where we would stay sipping our to-go beers until the last straggler not getting invited to the afterparty would concede and stumble home.
Was it somehow different in Húrra? Didn’t this happen at every bar? Was it the ghost in the basement — the one I encountered weekly while opening the happy hour shift in 2018, lighting candles downstairs and seeing the shadow pass me in the mirror — whose chaotic presence fed the joyful misrule and oft questionable mayhem in that space? Was it the bookers who knew exactly how to curate a perfect calendar of concerts and DJs? Was it all just the hipsters and booze and drugs?
After it was closed by geniuses who attempted to turn it into a high-end sports bar, Húrra’s post-lockdown redux was not anything like it was before. That appealing greasy sheen it once had, like the iridescence of water and oil pooling together in a gutter, was gone.
It’s all a blur, but I remember it all. Every night that started and ended there. Every trúnó with a stranger, every pre-gig backstage panic attack, every concussion I sustained, every circle of friends I danced in, every lime I chopped, every Airwaves show I saw, every bucketful of toilet sludge I scooped up, every shot, every bump, every kiss, every fuck.
I miss it all yet I don’t want it back.
We just never know when it will be our last hurrah.
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