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Top five: Copenhagen bars

Denmark’s capital is famous for its food scene, but its drink isn’t half bad, either – and we don’t just mean the Carlsberg. Here are our five favourite places to get soused, Scandi-style.

1. Karriere

The project of artist Jeppe Hein, this Kødbyn bar has contemporary art on the brain. We’re not just talking about work on the walls: here, the pieces of furniture are gallery-worthy, such as the lamps currently on display, each commissioned from an international artist. Even the confusing lay-out of the toilets is a conceptual joke. Those not into art might think it sounds rather pretentious and, well, maybe it is. But it’s also original and great fun: the cocktails and music are excellent; and the young, trendy crowd appealing to gaze at. 

Karriere, Flæsketorvet 57-67

2. Jolene

If you want to join the younger Danes at play try this louche Meatpacking District spot, popular with a fashion-conscious, student-age crowd: the kind who might be photographed on the street by style magazines. Owned by two Icelandic women and housed underground in a former slaughterhouse, Jolene is wildly cool in a laidback, down-and-dirty way. Leave your high heels at home and order bottles of beer and tequila shots rather than a martini, as a sign above the bar helpfully reminds you, ‘this is not a f***ing cocktail bar’. And yes, it is named after the Dolly Parton song – although the music policy leans more towards electronica and hip hop. 

Jolene, Flæsketorvet 94

3. Ruby

Opened in 2007, Ruby was one of the first bars in Copenhagen to take cocktails really seriously and has remained at the front of the pack. The venue itself is pretty special: an unmarked apartment in a canal-side, 18th century building, filled with antiques and Chesterfield sofas, that manages to be both grand and homely. And unlike some venues in Copenhagen it’s not painfully cool, but rather larky and welcoming. Cocktails range from the classic to the seasonal and avant-garde: we recommend Ruby’ s own invention, the Rapscallion, a Scottish version of the Manhattan with Talisker whisky, which has made it onto the list at hip New York bar PDT.

Ruby, Nybrogade 10

4. Kitjn

Located off the beaten track in residential Osterbro, Kitjn has to work harder to win custom than the city-centre bars, so the fact that it’s constantly buzzing is testament to its impeccable cocktails (rum-based, mainly) and relaxed, good-natured atmosphere. And, perhaps, the fact that it’s got a really nice indoor smoking room. The decor is simple but effective, with bare-brick walls, sofas, and a glimpse of the kitchen out back from which the bar takes it name. No food is served but, cheekily, the cocktail menu is arranged under Starters, Main Courses, and Desserts. 

Kitjn, Arhusgade 14

5. 1105

This downtown joint is stylish in the extreme, the place to go if you want to feel like you’re in an expensive spirits advert. The striking interior features black walls and a long black bar, behind which men in immaculate white jackets create classy concoctions for a well-off, 30-something crowd. Mixologist Hardeep Rehal takes his job very seriously indeed, and has triumphed at the Danish Cocktail Championships with concoctions such as his Cucumber Yum Yum, whose bright red colour belies the cool cucumber taste.  We’re sure it counts as one of your five a day. 

1105, Kristen Bernikows Gade 4


For more, check out our newly updated Copenhagen guide.