TT&S Reykjavik: Top 10 Places to Mingle with Spirits…
I love history but I also love a good pint or cocktail so when I travel I like to incorporate ‘spirits’ whenever and wherever I can– whether it be beer, cocktails or distilleries…or sometimes all three! After a busy day of exploring the ancient Viking Island and learning all about the history of Iceland, stop for a drink and relax… while food and drinks are expensive it is well worth it!
- Frederiksen Ale House
- Bryggjan Brugghus Bistro & Brewery
- Islenski Barinn – The Icelandic Bar
- The Drunk Rabbit
- Saeta Svinid Gastropub
- A Drink at the Blue Lagoon
- Your Friend in Reykjavik Pub Crawl
Have you been to Reykjavik? Do you have additional suggestions to add to this list?
1. Microbar is located near Ingolfur Square, tucked away in a little corner near where Hafnarstraeti (Harbor Street) and Vesturgata meet in the heart of downtown Reykjavik. They carry a wide variety of Icelandic beers, as well as beers from a round the world and the list is always changing. What the bar may lack in fancy decor it makes up for with a stellar selection of beers to try. Why not stop in for a flight (or two) before your flight home?
2. Slippbarrinn has it all– cocktails, wine and beer! They even have an early and a late Happy Hour (check website for days and time) which keeps everyone happy. They have traditional mixers as well as a wide variety of house specialties. Fresh ingredients with a funky twist and bold presentation is their claim to fame. Why not try a cocktail with Brennivin, a local clear schnapps that is considered Iceland’s signature liquor. Slippbarrin is located in Old Harbor, within the Hotel Reykjavík Marina.
3. Want something a little more low-key and affordable but still a great beer with great service, try Frederiksen Ale House located ‘just around the corner’ from the heart of downtown Reykjavik. Frederiksen’s has a great beer menu (try the Einstok White Ale, my favorite and so were the fish and chips. yum!) They have a large bar that offers beer, wine and cocktails and a daily Happy Hour. I was glad I stumbled across this place when I visited.
4. At Bryggjan Brugghus Bistro & Brewery you can have a beer made on premises with your meal, you can take a 30 minute tour of the brewery and end with a flight of 3 or 6 beers, or you can do both! The day I went they had mostly IPAs on tap but they do appear to have added a stout, red ale, hefeweizen, and/or gose into the mix. Located on the water next to the Maritime Museum, Bryggjan Brugghus is a great place to stop on either a sunny or rainy day. You can stay indoors and learn how beer is made or sit outside on their deck and soak up the sun. Early June was still a bit chilly but sipping beer in the Icelandic sunshine was well worth leaving our coats on while we drank our beer.
5. Islenski Barinn – The Icelandic Bar is a hidden gem! Located between the two main streets, Laugavegur and Hverfisgata, Islenski Barinn offers a great beer menu as well as cocktails. The catch– all beers and spirits are Icelandic! (Food was excellent as well!) If you are looking for rowdy bar atmosphere this is NOT the place for you. It offers a cozy atmosphere, traditional small pub vibe and a friendly staff. I highly recommend if you are looking for a local location to enjoy a pint!
6. Looking for a fun, lively place to enjoy a pint? The Drunk Rabbit is my recommendation to you! Yes, it is an Irish pub in Iceland that offers Guinness, whiskey and Irish music but it also offers Icelandic beers for those looking to stay local. All day Happy Hour from 12-7pm makes it a great stop to recharge between sightseeing and souvenir shopping. Stay for one or many, The Drunk Rabbit is in the center of downtown Reykjavik so it easy to find.
7. Saeta Svinid Gastropub not only has great food and beer but also a decent gin selection! (My favorite) They carry a large selection of Icelandic spirits as well as draft and bottled local beers. Happy Hour, a weekly Karaoke night, Sunday night events– there is always something going on at the Gastropub. Stop in for a bite to eat and stay for a drink or two. You can’t miss the red building on the corner by Ingolfur Square (a hop and a skip to the Microbar! Two stops in one)!
8. Skal is a few blocks from the center of Reykjavik but still close to it all and well worth it! Great food and even better beer and cocktail menu. Open atmosphere with large sweeping windows and high ceiling gives it an unencumbered feel and makes it a great stop for a large group as well as an intimate get together. There is a cocktail of the week so you never know what you may find at Skal but you know it will be made with fresh hand crafted mixers. Grab a table or pull up to the bar, either way you will not be disappointed.
9. While a bit more expensive with a ‘cover charge’, A Drink at the Blue Lagoon is probably my most memorable beer in Iceland. Day or night, summer or winter, sunshine or cloudy skies– anytime is a good time at the Blue Lagoon. Relax in the warm geothermal waters, enjoy a silica mud face mask, and grab yourself a beer or cocktail at the swim up bar. The Blue Lagoon may not be IN Reykjavik but it is easily accessible while you are visiting. Regular buses are available and make it easy for you to either stop on your way to or from the airport, or anytime during your trip to the island for that matter. Whenever you go, you can’t go wrong but you must go at least once!
10. Can’t Decide? How about a Your Friend in Reykjavik Pub Crawl? Your local guide will show you around a bit as you check out different bars and sample local beers. Offering a bit of local history as you hop from bar to bar is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Reykjavik. The guides are a wealth of knowledge and can offer many insights into Icelandic history and culture, as well as being a great resources to offer recommendations on places to eat or drink after the tour! I highly recommend booking a beer tour (or food tour, if you prefer!)