Denmark’s capital packs some amazing bars into its chilly streets. Bronwyn Griffiths selects five to check out
Not just one of the best bars in Copenhagen but arguably one of the coolest in the world; Lidkoeb gets everything right. Each of its three levels has its own vibe and great drinks. The top floor is dark and atmospheric, with the focus on whisky. The middle (only open on weekends) is all about cocktails, with muted grey walls and vibrant orange booths. Meanwhile, on the bottom floor is the real gem: a large, high-ceilinged space fitted out in cool Scandi style, with a long bar that draws a crowd on busy nights. Stay here all night if it gets too busy upstairs — or spill out into the courtyard during the warmer months. Lidkoeb’s sister bars Ruby and Brønnum are also worth a visit.
Log Lady Cafe
A Twin Peaks-themed bar, although familiarity with David Lynch’s cult ’90s TV series isn’t essential to enjoy a drink or two here (but it may help explain why some of the seats are tree stumps or why the bathroom is lurid red with a chevron-striped floor). Thankfully, the staff are too busy having fun to maintain the slightly creepy theme, making it the perfect place to start an evening out. This former tattoo parlour is filled with mismatched vintage furniture, providing a chilled, living-room-full-of-hipsters feel. Open Wednesday to Saturday, with last orders at 11 pm.
Another great place to kick-start an evening out, or linger over an aperitif, is Balderdash. The neon ‘hygge’ sign above the door and the wood-fire heating give this bar that signature Danish cosiness, while its charismatic American owner, Geoffrey, adds to this with a warm welcome. Expect a selection of astounding cocktails, including a Smoked Bone Marrow and Burned Butter Old Fashioned or a crystal-clear Clarified Hemingway Daiquiri. There’s a cocktail laboratory onsite and a selection of 1960s pin-up pictures on the walls (discovered by Geoffrey’s wife when her grandfather died), making this one bar visitors won’t forget or want to leave in a hurry.
In 2016 Strøm was nominated for Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar at the Oscars of the mixed drinks world, Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards, so head there with high expectations. With a name that means ‘power’ in Danish and a menu that changes every three months, visitors would be forgiven for expecting a buzzing, luxurious establishment, but Strøm is actually quite snug and friendly. Swedish brothers Michael and Andreas are the owners, and they make everyone feel at home with their delicious concoctions, such as the Geranium Gin & Tonic. Find a spot in one of their booths and settle in for an evening of delicious drinks.
Copenhagen’s old meatpacking district has become the coolest place in town to party. Its location on the edge of Vesterbro’s residential area means the fun lasts all night without disturbing the locals. Plenty of hipster bars and pop-up restaurants populate this area, known as Kødbyen (literally, ‘meat town’), but Jolene is the jewel in its crown. This dive bar is somewhere you can dance on the shabby furniture with a bottle of beer in hand and not get told off by a surly bouncer; it’s open until 4am, with great DJs, but is too small to be considered a club. The only issue is trying not to spend the whole night humming the Dolly Parton song it’s named after.