Drink and Do Copenhagen: A Guide
Updated June 19, 2017
When you decide to visit the capital of Denmark, several questions likely come to mind. Where can I drink a meat infused cocktail? Where would I find coffee cheese? Where can I drink beer and choose from over a thousand board games? Eating food inspired by art in a nearby gallery, drinking tea-infused cocktails from a kettle, DIY marshmallow roasting, and playing pinball while listening to rock music are just a sampling of your options. That’s why we’ve created the Bevver’s guide to Copenhagen.
The Danes have a term called Hygge, which loosely translates into coziness or enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) can be found all around the city, even in the local laundromat! Check out a laundromat cafe and nosh on homemade food, cakes, juices, milkshakes, coffee, tea, wine and a selection of beer until the spin cycle is complete - “Thanks Hygge Bear!”
Bevvers should keep in mind that smoking is still allowed in most Copenhagen bars and will be prominent in the bodegas, which are older (read: divey) traditional bars. Rosengardens is one of the few non-smoking bodegas (closed Sundays). Locals don’t usually tip, aside from rounding up the bill for good service, but pricier restaurants may differ in expectations.
What to Eat in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is one of the best food cities in the world and is home to several Michelin starred restaurants. Noma is one of the most famous award-winning foodie destinations, but Relae, Host, Kodbyens Fiskbar, Amass, Alberto K, Kanalen, Host, Orangeriet, Mielcke & Hurtigkarl, and many more are worth a gander! While in Copenhagen be sure to try smørrebrød (left), a traditional open-faced sandwich/meal similar to a Sunday roast in that most restaurants either serve it on Sundays or are closed (Uformel is an exception). Schonnemann and Café Dyrehaven are among the top-rated restaurants for smørrebrød, but you can find equally delicious options in food markets.
Sampling local fare is a one-stop shop at Papiroen, or paper market, the mecca of Copenhagen street food. Items on our bucket list include the pulled duck burger and creme brulee donut. Torvehallerne is another popular food market with bottle shops, delis, and food stands, and is where we tried the smørrebrød pictured.
What to Drink in Copenhagen
Coffee, Bakeries and Sweets
Coffee may be enjoyed with delicious Danish delicacies (say that 5 times fast), as a cocktail, with a toasted marshmallow, as a cheese, or on its own - your call. Prolog Coffee Bar is a coffee bar and local roaster serving espresso drinks, pour over, and the option to flame your own marshmallow at your table.
Recreate your own DIY marshmallow toasting at home with this fun accessory:
Freddy’s Unique Garden Union, aka FUGU, serves boozy tea and coffee cocktails served in teapots. As the name suggests, you can enjoy them in the garden under heat lamps. The garden is covered in winter. Admire the greenery and fish aquarium while there. If looking for high tea, reserve a table at AC Perch (L45 for two).
Here are more highlights:
- Copenhagen Coffee Lab, roaster and cafe with beans for sale, subscriptions and coffee classes
- EUROPA 1989, award-winning coffee, alcoholic options and Danish cuisine next to the Storkespringvandet (Stork Fountain) on Amagertorv, Copenhagen’s central square.
- The Coffee Collective (left), specialty coffee and coffee cheese if you’re lucky
- Mayers Bageri, bakery from Noma alums baking kanelsnurrer, a Danish popppy seed pastry, kanelsnurrer, a cinnamon twist bun, butter baked croissants, Øland Wheat Bread, dark brown rye bread, and other pastries with chocolate
- Summerbird Chocolaterie, sweets and pastries including meringue, chocolate, and flodebolle, a Danish treat
- Social Coffee, specialty coffee drinks and healthy fare
- Original Coffee
The most well-known Danish beer brands include Carlsberg, Tuborg, and Mikkeller.
Carlsberg offers a brewery tour and tasting, which can be booked in advance here.
Beer Lover’s Highlights:
- Cocktails and SpiritsMikkeller & Friends, 40 taps and 200 bottles
- Warpigs Brewpub, pictured left, is a collaboration between Mikkeller and Three Floyds breweries in the meatpacking district
- BrewPub København, microbrewery with beer garden near Rådhuspladsen square
- Dia'leg, beer bar serving Danish brewery Refsvindinge, which is 175km west of Copenhagen on the island of Funen. Try the award-winning Ale nr. 16 and Røde Mor
- Ølsnedkeren, eight experimental taps with the option of beer flights
- Ølbaren, 22 brews on tap, beer flights
- Kølsters Tolv Haner, aka Kølster's Twelve Taps, family owned, organic brewery producing small batch beer and cider available on 12 taps
- The Bird & The Churchkey, British-inspired pub specializing in beer and gin. Over 40 brews, over 80 gins, and 20 gin and tonic concoctions to choose from
- Nørrebro Bryghus, microbrewery by Carlsberg alum Anders Kissmeyer with ten experimental beers on tap and beer-based food
- Aamanns Establissement, a great place to wash down a modern take on herring with microbrews.
- Banksia, an aussie inspired beer garden (wine also available) and restaurant serving exotic food like crocodile dumpling soup.
While in Copenhagen drink as the Danish do! Some spirits to try include:
- Akvavit, aka aquavit, or ‘water of life,’ the Danish version is clear in color and has flavors of caraway
- Gammel Dansk, Danish bitters made from 29 natural ingredients
- Fisk, aka Fisherman's Friend, a flavored vodka with licorice and eucalyptus
- Ga-Jol, liquorice flavored liqueur
Copenhagen cocktail bars of note:
- Fleisch, for meat infused cocktails like the duck fat washed sazerac or bacon-infused old fashioned
- Lidkoeb, pictured left, a three story whisky bar with over 200 whiskies and wood/leather decor
- The Jane, a speakeasy-ish library bar where reading is optional
- Ruby Cocktail Chronicles, a must-visit cocktail bar for foodie types
- Curfew for cocktails, negronis, and seasonal specials with well presented garnishes
- 1656 to sip modern cocktails while sitting in a leather armchair and party like it’s 1656
- The Barking Dog, a British cocktail pub with a creative cocktail list
- Glass, Ice, Liqueur and Topping, aka GILT, seasonal Nordic influenced cocktails
- Duck and Cover Bar, award winning cocktail bar
- Holmens Kanal, for rum lovers
- Salon 39, for whiskey cocktails
1105, for cocktails
Not to forget the juice from the vine, Copenhagen also has an array of wine bars to try:
- Terroiristen, serves terroirpræget wine, which is made naturally (many times organic/biodynamic) to reflect the region it’s produced
- Nimb Vinotek, an underground wine cathedral offering tastings
- Ved Stranden, well-designed wine bar along the canal, highly rated, cheese and meats
- Balthazar Champagne Bar, the first champagne bar in Copenhagen boasting over 180 champagnes, champagne cocktails, and caviar service
- Vinhanen, Nørrebro wine bar and shop serving five wines on tap and the option to purchase wine to go
- Den Vandrette, wine bar and restaurant serving bio wines, have special events and barrel tastings
- Sabotøren, small wine bar
What to Do in Copenhagen
Bastard Cafe has an astounding selection of board games to play - over 1300! Snack on food and drink coffee or beer while playing old and new games with friends. You can find a list of the games available here.
Café Understellet is a corner bodega with a graffiti art facade. Step in to shoot pool on one of the two pool tables, or play a game of foosball or dice. Wessels Kro is an old, dark, smokey bodega named after famous writer and poet, Johan Herman Wessel, that would be perfect for your next dice game.
Bocce Ball / Petanque
Petanque is a French game similar to bocce ball, which can be enjoyed with a drink in hand at The Petanque Bar and Terrace at the Generator Hostel.
Copenhagen is full of art and culture, as are its bustling coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
The menu at Restaurant Kebsegaarden is inspired by art in the current exhibit at the Gallery Krebsen nearby. Pieces from the exhibit and the decor are paired with the menu, which all rotate eight or more times per year - what would you prepare based on this gallery installation?
The decor of Llama Restaurant are as dazzling as the Latin American cuisine and cocktails served.
Literature and Book Shops
Paludan Bogcafé is a book store and cafe serving brunch, vegan pastries, coffee, beer, cider, wine, specialty drinks, cocktails, tea, and juices. Popular with students.
Underwood Ink is a book shop and bar that is great for reading and relaxing during the day, and a venue for poetry/book readings, vinyl sessions or live DJs at night. The cafe serves food, and patrons are allowed to smoke.
Tranquebar combines a book cafe with a record shop, and hosts author readings and live music.
High Voltage is the place to see rock shows. Rock out with your flippers out at the AC/DC and Guns & Roses pinball machines or shoot some pool.
Jazzklubben is a CD shop, café and music venue with live events every Friday and Saturday afternoon. Kind of Blue is a Jazz cafe and bar with board games including chess, backgammon and scrabble.
Tango y Vinos is a tapas and wine bar with live entertainment and dancing. Close to Nyhaven, stop by for Flamenco night, live music, or even tango dance classes.
Soepavillonen is a nightclub that offers salsa dancing classes on Tuesday nights. There are many nightclubs in Copenhagen to bust a move. Jolene, named after the Dolly Parton song, is a nightclub in the meatpacking district started by two Icelandic DJs. Note Bene per the sign above the bar, "this is not a fucking cocktail bar." If you prefer to dance and have good cocktails, Strøm is a dance club and cigar lounge with cocktails on tap.
Fans of the TV series Twin Peaks will love the The Log Lady, named after Margaret Lanterman’s character, who always carries a small log in her arms to assist in her clairvoyant powers.
Sports, Health and Fitness
If you want to watch sporting events or cheer for your team, head to either Ørsted Ølbar near Ørsted Park or Soernes Ølbar near Sortedams Lake. Both locations have a great selection of craft beer on tap and can accommodate specific game requests (best to call in advance). For those looking to play sports, the Christiania Sports Club arranges soccer leagues, hang gliding outings, skating groups and more.
Copenhagen is a city for cyclists. Locals frequent Heritage Bikes and Coffee to can enjoy a cup of fair trade coffee while a flat tire is changed. If you need to rent a bike, Baisikeli Bike Shop is a bike cafe that also rent bikes. Rent Christiana bike and cart the whole family!
Baisikeli is a Swahili word for bicycle, as this bike shop’s mission is to support bicycle culture in East Africa.
Café Retro is a non-profit cafe and bar with board games to play, live music, and a foosball table. Sip on espresso drinks, juice, soda, hot totties, beer and wine. All profits of this cafe go toward charity, and you can see their list of projects here. On Tuesday nights, Café Retro hosts a knitting club.
Stroget street is the most popular shopping district in Copenhagen full of design shops and fashion. Georg jensen, Stilleben, Hay, Illium, Bolighus, Bllack noir, Baum und pferdgarten, Henrik vibskov, Bruuns bazaar, and Keramiker Inge Vincents are among the list. Bredgade shopping street is closer to the Design Museum and thus its stores are more geared toward arts and antiques, including unika pottery.
Tivoli Gardens is a theme park with rides, games, and shops. At night the park is lit with festive lights, and during the holiday season, a holiday market is available for gift shopping and seasonal drinks.
Copenhagen is surrounded by water, and Nyhaven harbor is a popular destination for nautical adventurers. In warm months visitors can head to Kayak Bar to rent kayaks and enjoy other water activities, even as simple as beach naps.
Freetown Christiania is a small state of about 1000 people that operate as their own province with its own rules. From what we've read, taking pictures is not allowed. While the area accepts the same currency as Copenhagen, the vibe is unique - Bohemian, Utopian, Hippie...here are a few 'assessments' we've gathered from online reviews:
- Peeps hang out here. Don't harsh on peeps' mellow.
- It's like Haight in the 70s.
- Where does a hippy utopia end and a grotty dump start?
- It's like Burning Man without the VC money.
- It's the perfect place for a hardcore Sunday funday.
- Walk - people get scared if you run.
- An air of unease permeates the place.
Nemoland is a cafe, bar, and concert venue in the province that holds outdoor concerts during spring and summer, and indoor shows during fall and winter. You can play pool while sipping on a (hemp?) beer until 3am.
Vor frelsers kirke in the Christianshaven district may be the best place to get a city-wide view in Copehagen. To reach this goal you must climb approximately 400 stairs.
Assistens Kirkegården is a cultural center and cemetery where Hans Christian Andersson’s grave is located. Unlike most cemeteries you may have visited, guests can take guided tours of the grounds, or enjoy a concert or event.
- Museum of Copenhagen
- Rembrandt fans should visit the National gallery
- Design Museum
- Hver, a small island in Sweden
- Louisiana Museum , a modern art museum about 35 minutes by train
If you read through this entire post, you deserve a drink - Skål!