Reykjavík is a city known for its nightlife, and with a burgeoning beer culture there are plenty of great options if you’re looking for a drinking establishment with a great vibe. Here’s a selection of the 10 best bars in the city in terms of quality drinks and atmosphere.
Located in Reykjavik Marina Hotel next to the Old Harbour area, this bar is considered Iceland’s first cocktail bar. With a tasty array of unique cocktails on the menu, such as The Metamorphosis that involves a mix of gin and Yunnan tea, you should prepare to be amazed.
Relocated from its former place on Austurstræti, Microbar now sits in the cozy, low-lit basement of Restaurant Reykjavik. Enjoy an incredible selection of local microbrews as well as imports mostly from Europe. Try the 10-beer sampler with a friend to get a wide variety of flavors and quality beers.
Snaps is a French-Icelandic establishment with low lighting, hanging plants, and large windows that give it the most memorable atmosphere in Reykjavik. If you want a quiet evening with friends in a sleek, cool environment, go here and check out the extensive gin and tonic menu – their specialty. Downstairs you will find a hidden bar and lounge, equally worth a visit.
Located on the second floor with huge windows overlooking the busy walking street below and featuring perfectly worn brown leather sofas, this bar offers a lot of ambiances. Come for the whiskey selection and tailored feeling of the place. You must be 25 or over to enter. There’s also a dress code of “neat and classy”.
Kaldi Bar, with its newly opened Beer Spa, is the first microbrewery in Iceland. Prepared in the centuries-old Czech method, Kaldi brews are given an Icelandic twist by using natural spring water from Sólarfjall mountain in the north. Enjoy this small bar with a great variety of drinks and a warm atmosphere.
Mikkeller & Friends is a small bar located on top of a popular pizza restaurant in one of Reykjavik’s oldest buildings. Built in 1910, the bar was designed by a renowned film designer who chose a circus and theatrics theme. Mikkeller & Friends offers 20 different beers on tap, from the Danish Mikkeller brewery, To Øl, and other top-quality breweries.
With so many types of beer on offer, and knowledgeable staff to help guide you, Skúli is definitely a craft beer lover’s paradise. With its low lighting and relaxed ambiance, you can’t go wrong. It is named after former Reykjavik sheriff Skúli Magnússon, who died in 1794 and whose statue stands in the courtyard outside.
Húrra is a popular music venue that usually has an event happening every night of the week. This artsy bar is a favorite amongst students and locals, especially in the early hours of the morning. While the drinks are nothing out of the ordinary, with a few local beers on tap and simple cocktails available, you can’t beat the dance floor. Visit on a Monday evening for free jazz improv concerts.
Kex Hostel, a former biscuit factory overlooking the beautiful Mount Esja, offers a great selection of Icelandic beers on tap as well as tempting bar snacks such as dates wrapped in bacon (Devil on Horseback). Enjoy mingling with guests at the hostel along with locals in the vintage décor of the lounge and bar area. Visit on a Tuesday evening and enjoy a free concert by local jazz musicians. Throughout the year, various festivals worth visiting take place at Kex, such as October Beer Fest and Reykjavik Folk Festival.
With framed sketches of Iceland’s most beloved painter, Jóhannes Kjarval, on the walls as well as many other respected landscape painters, the legendary Hotel Holt’s Gallery Bar packs quite the ambiance. The drink selection is of the classic variety, offering beer, wine, and cocktails that pair well with the equally classic, cushy red leather chairs and a fireplace.