Vacation was made for consuming beer. BBB helps you find where to go to do it right in Reykjavik.
By now you’ve heard that there’s a lot of beer to discover in Iceland. Among other geological wonders, of course. Fortunately for tourists on a thirsty layover, or folks not ready to brave the one-lane road and black lava deserts, Reykjavik proper offers a smattering of locales to sample beauts from all over the country without having to commit to a seven hour road trip to get a tasty pint. We’ve rounded up some of the hoppiest, so you know just where to head when you’re in town.
Bjorgardurinn is a sweet little spot with stones on the walls, hot dogs on the plates, and delightful small-scale beers on tap. Sure they’ve got some crowd favorites such as Hoegaarden, Krombacher and Stone Brewery. But, the real draw is their extensive selection of local brews. They have a rotating list of around 20 beers, served in bottles, cans and even sometimes glasses, and semi-regular music performances (try going on the weekend!). Some may say it’s nothing special, but for the wayward traveler it might just be that glimpse into Icelandic normalcy missing from the tourist-heavy harbor. And there’s always the Brennevin negroni chaser.
Bjorgardurinn, Thorunnartún 1, Reykjavik 105, +354 531 9030
Mikkeller and Friends
Mikkeller and Friends is a name that will certainly ring familiar to aficionados of Danish beer. Mikkeller himself, aka Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, embodies the spirit of Icelandic brewing: formally a teacher, he started with some hobby-brewing before striking gold and becoming an international player. And while there are Mikkeller bars in a number of cities across the world (NYC, Budapest, Taipei), their location in the oldest district in Reykjavik captures the quirkiness of Icelandic design mixed with the rustic-ness of country living––mismatched stool legs, red walls, and graphic designs of large noses and butts in blue jeans on the wall. To top it off, they’ve got beer! 20 at a time, to be specific, featuring a mash of Mikkeller’s own, Iceland’s finest and the occasional international staple in the mix.
Mikkeller and Friends, Hverfisgata 12,101 Reykjavík, +354 437 0203
Nostra is a restaurant. And a wine bar. It is not known for its beer…not yet, at least! They focus on Icelandic cuisine made fancy in combination with food and drink pairings, in particular wine. Recently they installed the First Lady IPA from Lady Brewery on tap, providing what one enthusiastic author hopes will be a natural segue into food and beer pairings! Be sure to bring your plump pocketbooks, friends, as this restaurant is not inexpensive. (The six course option costs roughly 120,- euros without and 230,- euros with the wine pairing.) For those with full tummies looking for a spot with a nordic art vibe, the bar is open to folks just looking to drink.
Nostra, Laugavegur 59, 2nd floor, 101 Reykjavík, +354 519 3535
Islenski Barinn, the Icelandic Bar, is precisely what it promises. The shop front is unassuming: bright blue with a logo featuring a viking man with a pint in hand. Inside is some more charming––will we ever tire of cute interiors? I think not.–– blue plaid, white subways tiles, and wood tables to be shared. And the Icelandic fare, fermented shark fin in small jars, hot dogs with pickles and langoustine, soup, soup, soup. They have a pretty extensive selection of domestic beers, with everything from Viking and Einstök to Austri and Segull 67. Islenski Barinn is another sure thing for locals and tourists alike.
Islenski Barinn, 1a, Ingólfsstræti, 101 Reykjavík, +354 517 6767
Skúli Craft Bar
And, finally, the creme de la creme, Skuli Craft Bar is a masterfully curated creative beer bar a five minute walk away from the aesthetically pleasing town hall. It offers an impressive selection of beers from everywhere, specializing in Icelandic beer, of course, and a whole lot of knowledge to complement their selection. Skuli has 14 rotating beers on tap and a fridge chock full of other specialty brews. Come here if you want to learn something about Icelandic beer culture and drink a beer while doing it!
Skúli Craft Bar, Fógetagarður, Aðalstræti 9, 101 Reykjavík, +354 519 6455
Other drinking establishments of interest: Microbar, Skál, Kex Hostel
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Photo Credit: Bjorgardurinn,Islenki Barinn,Mikkeller Bar and Friends by Mikael Axelsson, Skuli Craft Bar