The Great Food Escape Series: Copenhagen
Part Three: Drinking and (not) driving
We had been warned that drinking was super-expensive in Copenhagen, but while it sure ain’t cheap, if you are used to London prices you will probably survive with your budget intact. Wine is around £6.50-9 a glass while the beer can be a bit more painful, often around £4-5 for a half or 2/3 serve. Anyway, first off was Bibendum situated just around the corner from where we stayed – Ibsens Hotel, see part one of our Copenhagen guide for a little more info – and this place was perfect for a chilly winter’s evening. Time and again we found the Danish are masters when it comes to making a room look incredibly inviting through the use of candlelight and warm overhead lights – always hanging from the ceiling and surrounded with industrial-style domes as opposed to fluorescent strips or spotlights set in the ceiling that can make some of the bars in London seem so impersonal.
Anyway, inviting and very cosy – it’s the kind of place you could linger over a few glasses and salted almonds before moving on for dinner (as we did) or settle in for the night with a few share plates from the streamlined menu – you’ll find things like cured salmon with crispy parsley root, fennel and dill salad, and duck breast with red cabbage, Brussel sprouts and apple puree, plus there are old reliable charcuterie and cheese plates and a couple of desserts on offer. It’s part of the same group as Pate Pate in the meatpacking district, and if you like the styling of Bibendum you are sure to appreciate Ravnsborg Vinbar too, another great place that’s all about good wine and inviting interior.
Then onto the beer and of course, there are a number of Mikkeller options to try – start off at bottle shop meets casual tap room at Mikkeller and Friends before moving to the stylish Mikkeller Bar that has been fitted out by Danish design outfit Femmes Regionales – the result being an unpretentious yet sophisticated space that’s sparsely decorated with a glossy wall of black tiles and golden lamps, wall-mounted draws and plenty of coat hooks (again, we could really do with these in London people). There are 20 beers on tap to whet your palate before completing the home-grown beer trinity by heading round the corner for a feed at Ol & Brod. Specialising in smorrebrod, the traditional Danish open rye bread sandwich, the regularly changing menu is traditional with a slight modern twist and offers can easily be matched with the 10 Mikkeller beers on tap. In addition, they also serve up an extensive selection of Scandinavian aquavits, from contemporary interpretations to vintages. And for more beer and food, try Noerre Brobryghus – another Copenhagen-based brewery housed in a cavernous space and serving lunch and dinner everyday, except Sundays.
Copenhagen is divided into the north (Nørrebro / Northbridge), south (Amager / Christianshavn), east (Østerbro / Eastbridge), west (Vesterbro / Westbridge) and Frederiksberg (which is in between north and west). Please, please, please take our advice and cycle – the bike-only pathways are citywide and make navigating the roads a traffic-free breeze. It’s an affordable (we paid around £7.50 a day for bike hire) and fun way of getting around like a local.
City Centre (København K / Copenhagen K) There are several beautiful parks around the city: check out Kongens Have (the Kings Gardens) where there is a beautiful castle, Rosenborg Castle, in the middle of the park. Afterwards head up to Nyhavn, which is a lovely part of town. Make sure to check out some of the oldest buildings in the city, which surround Kongens Nytorv. From Nyhavn you can jump onto a sightseeing boat. Other monuments in the city worth taking in are the marble church (Marmorkirken), the royal castle, Amalienborg, parliament and the old stock exchange. Straight across from Amalienborg is the newly built opera house where you can walk along the pier down to the Little Mermaid. Oh, and then there’s Tivoli – one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, and beautiful year-round.
Nørrebro (Northbridge) This is the most multicultural part of town and if the sun is shining you will see plenty of locals hanging out on the ‘hipster bridge’ (they actually call it that) although its real name is Dronning Louise’s Bro. Take a stroll along the lakes and then head to Blågårdsgade, where you will find little cute cafes and coffee shops. There is a beautiful cemetery around the corner called Assistens Kirkegården, which is where Hans Christian Andersen is buried. Afterwards head to Jægersborggade, where you’ll find heaps of bars and restaurants.
Vesterbro (Westbridge) The meatpacking district used to be pretty grungy, there are still plenty of adult shops around with neon lights touting their wares, but now (like many cities around the world) what was down-and-out is now up-and-coming. At night it is the place for eating and drinking; by day take a stroll down Sønder Boulevard.
Amager / Christianshavn This area is famous for the canal that runs through this area, while Islands Brygge has a harbour pool – one of the cleanest in the world – which is very popular during summer. However this area is most famous for Christinia, which is a very unique place. Settled by squatters back in the 1970s it is now an autonomous little island (it is like one big hippie compound) in the heart of the city where pot is legal – yep, the main thoroughfare is called Pusher Street. We found it pretty grim, but it should be experienced to get a complete picture of Copenhagen and its inhabitants and they way they (all) live. It’s not all smart townhouses after all. From there, regroup and recover at Copenhagen Street Food on Refshaleøen. It is an old storage building that now houses more than 30 street food stalls.
You might also be interested in our other Copenhagen features:
- 9 Things You Need To Know Before You Visit Copenhagen.
- The Great Food Escape Series: Copenhagen – Part 1 – Tasting Menus.
- The Great Food Escape Series: Copenhagen – Part 2 – Casual Dining.
- The Great Food Escape Series: Copenhagen – Part 3 – Drinking and (not) Driving.
- Our curated Copenhagen Dining + Drink Google Map.