Leboski Bar: The Dude's Bar
Lebowski Bar is a bowling-themed bar from the movie The Big Lebowski . We actually came here almost by accident. We were walking around on Laugavegur Street and it started to rain and I needed to use the restroom, so we figured we stopped in and have a drink and wait for the rain to end. The bartenders and staff were really friendly and we had a great time hanging out here. They also serve American-style food here and we stayed long enough to work up an appetite and had the burgers. The food was pretty good as well. Later in the evening, the bar turns into a club and they have a DJ spin dance music. Great place to stop and have a drink and I'm glad we just happened to stop in there.
Dress Code: No dress code
- Beer Tasting
Austur: A Place to avoid
This Night Club is approximately 2 years old. I have visited it twice during it firs year , and it appealed to me and my friends as a trendy spot with great dancing music and classy crowd. The place was the hottest spot, popular amongst local celebrities. My recent visit was a great disappointment, apparently in past year Austur took a dramatic downturn, what once was a stylish interior now looks shabby and tired. The classy crowd is els where, instead you are more likely to be robed or attacked by one of the guests or a staff members. I have heard from some of my acquaintances that Austur is now famous for scandals and fights, because of their "new" trashy contingent and foreigners in particular run a great risk of going there. I had hard times believing it until i witnessed it for myself last Saturday.
Dress Code: It looks like there is no particular dress code
- Work Abroad
Olsmidjan Pub: Best value beer in Reykjvik.
This friendly upstairs pub offered polar beer on draft at 490Isk per pint. Excellent value for Reykjavik. We went in the early evening and watched Iceland v France Olympic handball. The bar did not do food, but the barman gave us salt sticks with each pint. Very good.
- Beer Tasting
Esja-bar: A bar where our old pharmacy was located.
Esja - bar is an excellent bar in the very center of down-town Reykjavík. It is a relatively new bar and I have only been there once, for a happy-hour before I went to the theatre. But I will definitely go there again. They have a happy hour so we visited early to make the most of it... We arrived at about 19:00 and there were a lot of people there, so the opening hours listed on their website are wrong...
I like the fact that the booths are by the window and have a good view. It is opposite Café París, which used to be my favourite café, mainly because of the view.
Esja - bar - we call it Esjan, like our "city" mountain, Mt. Esjan, has an age limit of 25 and it is quite a stylish bar. Sometimes we "older" generation just want to be with our age-group as it were, not that 25 is my age-group anymore though ;). It is a disco at night and is open until the wee hours of the morning. Probably until 5 in the morning, like most bars in this vicinity. Will go check it out at night soon...
Opening hours: September-April: Thursday-, Friday- and Saturday nights from 21:00 o' clock.
May-August: Daily from 11:30 o' clock.
In this location used to be the main pharmacy in Reykjavík, Reykjavíkurapótek - it was there for ages and I have fond memories from there as a child and miss the interior of that old pharmacy.
Dress Code: Maybe no sneakers.
Thorvaldsen Bar: A restaurant dubbing as a disco at night.
Thorvaldsen Bar is a restaurant during the day, but turns into a very popular disco at night during the weekend. It is open until 5 in the morning on Friday nights and 6 in the morning on Saturday nights. The nightlife in Reykjavík is infamous and it only starts at ca 1:30. I used to be very active in it a few years back but now I go there only occasionally.
The DJ is very good here and plays a wide range of music, and people going into this bar/disco are 25-60+ as opposed to some other discos where only very young people attend, good enough if you are that age, but I prefer to party with people who are older.
There are 2 small dance floors and 2 bars. Five of the people working there are Serbian people at the bar and as door-keepers, very nice people, but be on your best behaviour ;)
If you are ever in Reykjavík and want to go to a disco try out this bar. In this street and in parallel streets there are several other discos.
Dress Code: It is always advisable to dress up a bit while going to discos in Reykjavík, some have dress codes, mainly no jeans and sneakers.
Apotek modern cafe nightclub: the place to visit during night
Apotek is currently the most popular place to be out at night, where you can meet all the "in"crowd of Reykjavik.
Like most nightclubs in Iceland they are cafes serving cafe and light meals during day but when it get closer to midnight they change to nightclubs.
If you want to go to Apotek be there early because long cues tend to be there shortly after midnight.
Of course the prices are high, but you are in Iceland and you could afford to come here, so you should afford to enjoy it.
Dress Code: No sports shoes and jacket.
- Gay and Lesbian
- Study Abroad
Oliver's is one of Reykjaviks most popular and busy bars, especially at the weekend.
The bar has a live DJ at weekends and there is often a queue to enter. The modern looking bar has a very lively atmosphere but leave it until later in the night before venturing in. Early in the night the bar is quiet and we were very surprised how much it changed as the night progressed. We had called in earlier in the night and the place was virtually empty. However around 11 the bar got really busy upstairs and downstairs.
Oliver's also serves good bar food during the day. The menu is fairly comprehensive with anything from burgers, paninis and salads to pasta, fish and meat dishes. The pricing of the food is fairly reasonable considering where you are!!!
The Rúntur (meaning 'round-tour') is Reykjavik's weekly pub crawl which has become increasingly famous around Europe. Reykajavik has a great social night life and the city centre comes alive on Friday and Saturday night with locals crowding into the many bars and clubs lining Laugavegur, Bankastr, Austurstraeti and the side streets leading from them. Don't be put off if the bars are quiet early in the night, the night only really gets going around 11 or 12 when crowds of revellers flock into the centre and start their tour from pub to pub seeking out the best places. The high price of alcohol doesn't seem to deter anybody, but most of them seem fairly well 'oiled' before they leave home :)
Great night (and morning) out and definitely something to be sampled when staying in Reykjavik.
- Beer Tasting
Kaffi Paris/Café Paris: Drinks and Meals
I always have the same problem with this section: Many places can perfectly fit in some sections at the same time, but I normally have the custom to add the spot with regard the use I gave it.
So, I went there for a drink (not necessarily at night).
Svarta kaffið: Drinks + Meals
Same comment regarding Nightlife Tips vs Restaurants Tips.
Nice atmosphere here.
In both cases, drinks/meals, there are two main areas with many bars and restaurants: Around Austurvöllur (where the Parliament buik¡lding is) and a steet which, by the way, receives different names: Austurstræti, Bankastræti and Laugavegur.
The Dubliner: Popular Irish bar in Reykjavik town centre
My friend and I visited The Dubliner Irish pub in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2008 during our stay in Reykjavik.
This large Irish pub is located on Hafnarstraeti, close to the harbour and the pedestrianised downtown area.
Unsurprisingly, the bar was very busy at the time of our visit – all the tables and chairs in the spacious ground floor interior were occupied, as were the stools at the bar, so we stood in one of the few empty spaces besides the bar. Despite being crowded, and despite the fact that it was New Year, the bar wasn’t rowdy and the clientele comprised of a mixture of locals and tourists of all age groups.
A variety of beers were available on tap (including Heineken, Egils Pilsner and, of course, Guinness) and many more bottled beers were on offer. There was an extensive choice of wines, spirits and other alcoholic beverages.
We opted to drink the local draught Egils Pilsner beer (600 Kr / 5 GBP) for 500ml. The price compared favourably to the “English Pub” where we had been paying 700 Kr earlier in the night, but was more expensive than “Belly’s Bar” which, at just 390 Kr for 500ml, offered the cheapest beer in Reykjavik at the time of our visit. We ended the night with a shot of the potent local “Opal” licorice flavoured vodka (600 Kr per shot).
According to my guidebook, live music is performed at The Dubliner on certain nights of the week.
As far as I can ascertain, no food is served here (other than the usual nibbles) – it is just a drinking establishment.
A popular Irish pub in the heart of Reykjavik!
English Pub / Enski Barinn: New English Pub in Reykjavik
I don’t usually make a habit of seeking out English pubs when I’m travelling overseas, but we had to make an exception while visiting Reykjavik in December 2007. It was New Year’s Eve and most restaurants and bars were closed when we headed into the town centre at around 8pm (many of them not opening until 1am, when the town would be awash with New Year’s revellers).
The one pub that was open as usual was the English Pub / Enski Barinn, located on Austurstræti in the centre of town. I later discovered that this pub was a new addition to the Reykjavik nightlife scene, having only opened a month previous in late November 2007. We spent a few hours sat on stools at the bar, drinking draught beer and killing time until we made our way to Hallgrimskirkja for the midnight chimes, firework displays and New Year celebrations.
One interesting feature of this pub is the “wheel of fortune” that hangs from the wall behind the bar. For 1500 Kr (12.50 GBP) you can attempt to win a cheap round of drinks. Hand over your Kronurs and the barman will spin the wheel on your behalf. You could win 1, 2, 4, 8 or a metre of beer, 2 shots of your selected spirit, the chance to spin again or, in the worst case scenario, end up completely drinkless! With draught beers (including Egils Gull, Tuborg, Grolsch and Guinness) costing 700 Kr (approx. 6 GBP), you would have to win more than 2 beers in order to be successful!
Dress Code: .
During our visit, a rather drunken local man (sitting alone at the bar, knocking back shots of vodka) kept trying his luck on the wheel. He was handing over 4500 Kr (nearly 40 GBP) for three spins at a time. Each time that he was successful he distributed the drinks to other customers in the bar. When he won 8 beers he asked the barman to pass two of them to me and my friend. We went to thank him and he told us that he doesn’t like beer! It was all rather odd – this man had spent several hundred pounds trying to win beers that he didn’t want! Ultimately, he was thrown out of the pub after becoming aggressive towards the barman when he refused to wait his turn to be served.
Another of my overriding memories of this pub is the price of the crisps! After a few Egils Gull beers, we were feeling a bit peckish. The only food on offer was bags of Doritos crisps (small, standard size bags). We didn’t bother to ask the price first and just ordered two beers and two bags of crisps. The total price was 2400 Kr (20 GBP) – with the beers costing 700 Kr each, this meant the crisps cost 500 Kr (4 GBP) per bag!
At the time of writing this tip, the pub doesn’t have its own website, but does have a web presence in the form of a MySpace page: Enski Barinn
The photos on that page show the wide selection of beers and spirits offered at the pub, and show the big screens that show live English football games.
A new English pub in Reykjavik town centre!
Te og Kaffi: Nice coffeeshop in a bookstore
My friend and I visited Te og Kaffi coffee shop one evening during a trip to Reykjavik in December 2007.
There are a few branches of this company in the city, and we visited the one that is located on the 3rd floor of Eymundsson bookstore on Austurstræti, right in the heart of Reykjavik’s pedestrianised centre.
Escaping the cold winter’s night, we spent a while browsing the travel section of the bookshop, then made our way upstairs for coffee.
The café offers a good selection of coffees (cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, Americano…) and teas, but without the endless selection of flavours that you’ll find at Starbucks and the like.
Coffees generally cost between 300 and 400 Kr (approx. 3 GBP), but I chose the “Coffee of the Month”, a Kenyan coffee that month, which at a cost of just 280 Kr (approx. 2.30 GBP) included a free refill.
As well at hot beverages, there is a large selection of cakes, gateauxs and cookies, as well as a fridge that stocks yoghurts, sandwiches, chocolate bars and fruit juices.
The café is a wi-fi zone, so you can sit at one of the window seats surfing the Internet while watching the world go by in downtown Reykjavik.
There is a Te og Kaffi store in Reykjavik where you can buy various types of coffee, tea and beverage-related merchandise.
A cosy café with good quality coffee and a good choice of cakes!
Sirkus Bar: Quirky little bar in Reykjavik
Sirkus Bar is a quirky little bar located on Klapparstígur in Reykjavik town centre.
My friend and I spent a couple of evenings here during our visit to Reykjavik in December 2007.
While researching our trip to the Icelandic capital, we had come across a number of reviews for Sirkus Bar and, attracted by its unusual nature, decided we’d seek it out upon arrival.
A few of the quirky facts that we discovered about Sirkus Bar are:
- Famous Icelandic singer Bjork DJ’s at Sirkus from time to time, and the bar actually featured in the video of one of her songs (“Triumph of a Broken Heart”). We saw Bjork in there one evening, not DJing, but standing silently at the bar;
- The upstairs of the bar is adorned with old bus seats. That’s what we were told, but they looked more like old sofas to us;
- The exterior decor of the bar features painted palm trees, a couple of puffins on the roof standing aside a neon sign, and a wall painted with colourful elf-like men and toadstools;
- The bar apparently hosts annual Tom Selleck moustache competitions (we saw a photo behind the bar!);
The interior of the bar is dark, with a handful of unmatching chairs and tables (most people stand around the bar area), and a couple of small graffiti covered toilet cubicles. At the time of our visit, cardboard faces of celebrities wearing Santa hats hung above the bar, while the bar itself was decorated with foreign bank notes, newspaper articles and postcards. The walls were covered in promotional music posters. Taking photos inside the bar is apparently frowned upon, so I didn’t do so.
Dress Code: .
The bar attracts what I believe is called a “Bohemian” crowd of locals, as well as foreign visitors. There were many artsy, studenty types to be seen in there, but also people from all other walks of life. Whilst we were in there, the music was a strange mix of mellow, chilled out beats and 1980s pop music.
We tended to drink the local draught Thule beer (600 Kr / 5 GBP per 500ml), but also sampled Brennivin (a 40% Icelandic Schnapps, costing 600 Kr per shot).
In early 2008, it is reported that Sirkus Bar is in danger of being closed down. An online petition has been created to “Save Sirkus”. I signed it this morning and hopefully it will be successful.
A cool, friendly, quirky bar! Be sure to pay a visit!
Belly's Bar: The cheapest beer in Reykjavik!!!
In a city with some of the most expensive beer prices in the world, Reykjavik’s Belly’s Bar is a real find! You can find it on Hafnarstræti, between the harbour and the pedestrianised town centre.
My friend and I started most of our evenings at Belly’s Bar during our visit to Reykjavik in December 2007.
At the time of our visit, a 500ml local beer cost between 600 and 700 Kr (5 – 6 GBP) in most of the bars that we visited. At Belly’s Bar, however, a 500ml draught Egils Pilsner cost just 390 Kr (approx. 3.25 GBP). A 500ml draught Egils Gull beer cost 450 Kr (approx. 3.75 GBP). A sign in the pub’s window boasts of the “Best Beer Price in Town”, and this is no idle boast!
Belly’s Bar is classed as a “Sports Bar”, and it does indeed have a handful of TV screens showing sports action from Europe and North America. A couple of bouncers stand guard at the door.
The interior is large, with dozens of wooden tables. Considering the low beer price, Belly’s was never particularly full during our visit. I would imagine it to be much busier when there is live sport being shown on TV.
Belly’s Bar – the cheapest beer in Reykjavik! Highly recommended!
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