Finding the right bar is not always easy. Sometimes you want a quiet night with your sweetheart, other times you might want to get rowdy with the boys. Reykjavík is home to several different bars that can offer you a variety of experiences. Here are some of our favourites.
The Fish Market is a Reykjavík institution, consistently serving top-notch seafood with a fusion twist. The upstairs wine bar is a more recent addition but it’s no slouch either, a classic in the making. Simply known as Uppi (upstairs), Uppi Bar offers upscale dining, wine and cocktails. The food is still in some senses traditionally Icelandic – cod, halibut and lamb appear on the menu – but presented in new and succulent ways. The wine selection is great and a selection of nibbles will make a perfectly luxurious evening but don’t miss out on a cocktail or two, the people behind the bar really know what they’re doing!
Maybe craft beer isn‘t your scene. If you instead have a hankering for a killer gin and tonic, whiskey sour or a spritz, nowhere has been doing it better or longer than Slippbarinn. In fact, they boast that the bar was the birthplace of Reykjavík cocktail culture! Their signature cocktails are unparalleled, and with names like Kissing Cousins and Corpse Reviver #2, you know you are getting a bang for your buck. But if you want to save some bucks, Slippbarinn has a happy hour every day from 15:00-18:00 where you can get a mouth-watering cocktail for less than the cost of a beer. Factor in their small but strong food menu, and you can understand why Slippbarinn has remained a Reykjavík favourite for so long.
Vínstúkan Tíu sopar
A couple of steps down from the busy Laugavegur shopping street lies Tíu sopar, a destination for every wine enthusiast and natural wine hipster in town. They have arguably the best wine list in town, and a large selection of these are from smaller, independent wineries. Their signature small dishes only enhance the experience. And, if you don‘t know much about wine, fear not – the staff is more than capable of guiding you through some of the hard-to-pronounce names so that you can arrive at a glass of wine that suits you. If you want a table, though, it‘s best to book ahead!
A newcomer on the scene, Apéro Vínbar overlooks Laugavegur from a spacious yet cosy upstairs room. The wine list comprises almost exclusively French wines and champagnes that you cannot find anywhere else in the city. The staff knows their wine, so if you have any questions, they can assist you. Hungry? The bar also serves some delicious hors d‘oevure and appetizers. The entrance is around the corner up Klapparstígur – don‘t miss it!
Just across the street on Klapparstígur, next to Kiki Queer Bar, is Veður, a perfect place for a great cocktail. Veður is Icelandic for weather, and the bar offers an array of drinks perfect for a bright summer‘s day or a cold, snowy evening. The low lighting and cosy atmosphere alone make the bar a great visit – but add in a perfectly made classic espresso martini or Moscow mule or whiskey sour, and you‘ve got yourself a new favourite bar.
Established in 2016, Port 9 has become one of the best-kept secrets in Reykjavík. It is off the beaten path, tucked in between hotels and apartment buildings a few streets away from Laugavegur behind Reykjavík Residence. But Port 9 prefers it this way, making it the perfect retreat from the noise of the main streets of the city. But although it may take you a minute to find it, the wine list makes the journey worth it. The space may seem small because of the crowded shelves of wines from all over the world. Good news for nice days – Port 9 also has a roof deck!
Honourable mention – Lebowski Bar
Careful, man, there‘s a beverage here! The beloved Reykjavík bar named after the cult classic. There’s no law that says cocktail bars have to be a fancy occasion and The Big Lebowski is probably more known for its burgers, boozy milkshakes, and dance floor. But Lebowski Bar also makes some fantastic cocktails. You can, of course, order the Dude‘s favourite drink, a classic White Russian. But they offer some creative adaptations, including a Banana Russian, Dirty Russian, and a Tropical Russian! Other cocktails hide under film-referenced names, such as Special Lady Friend, Jackie Treehorn, and El Duderino. Don‘t feel like “eating the bar“? Try a classic cocktail, such as a martini or Long Island iced tea.