Oslo’s cocktail scene has a young vibe, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t know what it’s doing (a bit like the city itself). Within the last five years, local cocktail bars have been experimenting with new ingredients and constantly raising the bar to attract savvy drinkers. Below you’ll find the best places to sip on a cocktail (or 10) in the Tiger City.
Some would argue that Bar Boca is where Oslo’s cocktail scene actually started taking off. A tiny dive bar in Grünerløkka soon became the go-to place for serious drinks and conversation with owner Jan Vardßen and has stayed true to its authentic character until this day. The innovative cocktails here will convince you that good things do come in small (as in, five tables) packages.
The vintage aesthetics (all the furniture and decor items are for sale) are one of Fuglen’s strongest assets. It’s an eclectic coffee shop in the morning that operates as an unofficial working space for Oslo’s creatives. However, come evening, Fuglen transports into a cocktail bar that looks like something straight out of a Mad Men episode. Try an all-time classic gimlet, explore Fuglen’s seasonal cocktail offerings, or join one of its fun events to explore tiki flavors or discover the perfect pairing of cocktails and oysters.
An art-deco gem in the heart of multi-cultural Grønland, Pigalle is situated on the second floor of the historical Olympen restaurant (or ‘Lompa’, as the locals call it). The building has been here since the late 1890s, so when you’re sipping your drink you’ll feel like you’re a part of history. Try one of its cocktails on tap and relax in the backyard in the summer with some South American bites.
A comfy place in Grünerløkka that brings 1950s Italy to mind, Bettola will keep you coming back for its barrel-aged cocktails (stored in vats in order to enhance aroma and flavor). Serving both classic cocktails and in-house creations, this is a place where you can have a friendly chat with the bartender at the bar, or play board games with your friends in one of the back tables. Whatever you do, do it in style.
Poison Ivy would have loved this place. At the intersection of greenhouse and bar, Torggata Botaniske offers cocktails with botanic elements, based on herbs that grow in-house (or rather, in-bar). The overall elegance and the lush greens make for quite the exotic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you were only to try one cocktail in Oslo, you should probably make that a cocktail at Himkok. Voted as one of the world’s 50 best bars, the spirits here have been produced in the bar’s on-site micro-distillery and are of the utmost quality. Try one of its aquavit-based cocktails for a worldly and sophisticated drinking experience. In the summer, you can sit in their backyard for a relaxed evening of cocktails and bites.