Where to Drink in Reykjavik

Reykjavik’s nightlife is justly famous around the world. Mellow by day, many of the city’s cafés transform into raucous bars at the weekend, playing everything from house to heavy metal. These are supplemented by a slew of craft beer spots and wine bars where you can enjoy an evening without hitting the dance floor or the mosh pit.

Mýrargata 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Located down on the harbor and hidden inside the chic Reykjavik Hotel Marina, this vintage-cool bar is run by master mixologists who create dapper cocktails from fresh, local ingredients and house-made syrups. Behind the handsome wooden bar there are also several types of beer (including Icelandic brews) on tap, a bunch of wines, and a wide choice of liquor—including ten different types of rum. The food menu is pretty good too, with steaks, fish, lamb, and vegetarian options.
Vesturgata 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
The selection of beers in this artisanal spot is unbeatable, ranging from Icelandic brews like the local Kaldi (available on draft) to international classics such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Scotland. The bottled beers are supplemented by up to 10 beers on tap, all served in a welcoming interior with simple wooden chairs and tables and white walls adorned with murals by dark-humored Icelandic cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson. If you’re not sure what to order, plump for a tasting tray or try a Gæðingur, a beer made by the owners of the bar in their small northern Iceland brewery.
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Mellow café by day, raucous party bar at weekends, Kaffibarinn is one of Reykjavík’s quintessential nightspots. Marked with a London Underground logo on the outside, it boasts celebrity associations including Blur’s Damon Albarn (who rumor has it once owned shares in the place) and filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur (director of 101 Reykjavík, among others). Open since the 1990s, Kaffibarinn certainly knows how to throw a party, especially when tables and chairs are pushed aside to create a makeshift dance floor and local DJs (and the occasional live show) make the crowds go wild.
Laugavegur 20b, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
This craft beer joint set on the high street Laugavegur might be small in terms of size, but it’s big in personality. Having grown from the local Kaldi brewery—famous for creating a tasty line of less chemically laden Czech-style beers, including a very popular unfiltered brew—in 2011, it serves a range of great international artisan beers as well as its own brews. On top of the friendly service, there’s light pub food on offer, comfy couches to relax on, and even a piano to play should you feel the urge (or drink enough). Generally popular with a young, arty crowd.
Þórsgata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
This French-style bistro is a perennial favorite for locals, who come here for breakfast, brunch, dinner, or just drinks. The menu has a Scandinavian focus with some international offerings—hence regular dishes like catch of the day and a hearty fish soup can be found alongside high-quality steaks, club sandwiches, and moules marinières. Lunch specials keep the place busy during the week, and the weekend brunches are a big draw too. The bar’s offerings are equally balanced, with a range of beers, wines, and cocktails as well as fresh smoothies. Pleasant service, a classic, upmarket interior, and a generally convivial atmosphere conspire to make this bistro a great all-rounder.
Skúlagata 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
we didnt stay at KEX hostel but we went there twice for burgers and coffee and cool people watching. The interior is an instagrammers dream and the abbreviated menu is a good mix of American heartiness (cheeseburgers) and delicious Scando fare (various smorrebrod).
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: United States
Journeys: Sports + Adventure