Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

7 colourful cocktail bars in Reykjavík

By Sara McMahon

  • Loftið opened for business in the beginning of 2013 and is popular among people in their 30’s and 40’s. Photo/Pjetur Siguðrsson

Icelanders absolutely love their beer (and understandably so—, it was made legal only a short 25 years ago), but recently they have begun to acquire a taste for colourful and tasty cocktails. While all bars in Reykjavík serve beer, only a handful can boast a proper cocktail menu. Here are a few:


1) Loftið opened for business in the beginning of 2013 and is popular among people in their 30’s and 40’s. The space used to be a clothing store up until the year 1996, and its current styling bears the mark of that, decorated with mannequins and sewing reels. Loftið specializes in colorful cocktails, which do not come cheap, so be prepared to splurge a little.
Crowd: An older crowd with money and a thirst for cocktails.
A little tip: This is one of few bars in Reykjavík that require guests to dress up.

2) Slippbarinn is situated in the Marina Hotel and overlooks the harbor. It´s a popular place for aperitifs and easily accommodates large groups. When it comes to the décor, it’s obvious that Scandinavian design was the inspiration for the bar area; simple yet colorful and functional.
Crowd: Local and international.
A little tip: Arrive early and enjoy their happy-hour prices.

3) Hverfisgata 12 is an intimate cocktail bar located within a new and trendy pizzeria of the same name. The restaurant boasts a rather large and juicy cocktail menu that is sure to quench one’s thirst.
Crowd: Hipsters mostly.
A little tip: The restaurant is easy to miss—it’s located on the corner across the street from 101 Hotel.

4) 101 is a hotel bar located inside the 101 Hotel in downtown Reykjavík. The fashionable spot attracts businessmen and other well-to-do people who enjoy the chic and modern settings and delicious cocktails.
Crowd: Wealthy locals and hotel guests.
A little tip: The bar features a cosy fireplace making it the perfect spot for a winter visit.

5) The Grill Market is one of Reykjavík’s most popular and trendy restaurants. Scrumptious Asian-inspired food, tasty cocktails, and fashionable décor (the walls are decorated with columnar basalt, moss, and skin of spotted wolf fish) made The Grill Market an instant yet constant hit among locals.
The restaurant is on two floors; on the ground floor, you have an open kitchen where guests can observe the chefs at work, while in the basement you have the restaurant bar and a large dining area.
Crowd: Young, old, local and international.
A little tip: Their Patrón Sour is absolutely delicious.

6) Snaps Restaurant is a rather new addition to the city’s restaurant flora but quickly became one of Reykjavík’s most popular eateries. The atmosphere in Snaps is relaxed and friendly, and the music is loud enough to have you shimmying in your seat, yet never prevents you from enjoying pleasant conversation. The restaurant has a good selection of tasty cocktails to choose from.
Crowd: Locals galore!
A little tip: The place is usually packed, so you might want to arrive early.

7) Lebowski Bar is conveniently located in the middle of Laugavegur shopping street. As the name suggests the bar’s décor is heavily inspired by the cult film, “The Big Lebowski,” and its main character, The Dude. At the back of the bar, an American diner serves affordable and tasty burgers.
Crowd: Mostly foreign tourists and local football fans.  
A little tip: Obviously, you’ll have to order a White Russian in here.

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