Copenhagen is just one of those inherently cool cities that doesn’t even have to try hard. From their trendsetting aesthetic in furniture and fashion design to their Michelin star rated culinary scene, the genetically blessed Danes are amongst the happiest and best looking people on the planet. As one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe, Copenhagen is a sort of fairy tale utopia with majestic castles and the nostalgic Tivoli Gardens in the center of town to hipster neighborhoods of Norrebro and Vesterbro coexisting amidst a backdrop of 16th century canals and buildings which becomes even more magical with the Christmas Markets. As Danes are a friendly yet enlightened lot, naturally they take their gastronomy and partying to the next level. Though Rene Redzepi’s Noma put Copenhagen on the gastronomic map with his 20 course meal demonstrating the breadth of Nordic cuisine, there are plenty of up and coming Danishchefs that are making a name for themselves. And who wouldn’t love a city that operates a weekend party sightseeing bus until 3 am full of “happy people and good music” stopping at the city’s best bars and nightclubs and BYOB is encouraged. Here are 10 places not to miss in the beautiful “City of Spires.”
Set in the heart of the trendy Nørrebro district- a former working class neighborhood that has recently been gentrified to a hipster haven, Manfreds & Vin is located Jægersborggade a quiet street lined with coffee roasters, craft beer joints and chic eco conscious boutiques. Run by Christian F. Puglisi and Kim Rossen, the team behind Michelin starred Relæ, Manfreds started out as a cozy wine bar and grew to become one of the neighborhoods most revered restaurants. Locals come for the Chef’s delicious and creative seven course tasting menu that changes nightly comprised of locally sourced seasonal vegetables, seafood, meat and cheeses served in an informal and homey atmosphere with a vast selection of organic wines.
Manfreds Jægersborggade 40
As the younger sibling restaurant to the famous Michelin 2 star rated AO C, the architecturally striking No 2 is located directly on the waterfront of Christianhavn with breathtaking views of the futuristic Black Diamond and Circle Bridge. Just like the modern setting of the restaurant, Soren Selin, the co owner and chef de cuisine of AOC, prepares contemporary Nordic cuisine served in a more simplified but still visually stunning preparation with the seven course tasting menu displaying his breadth of talent.
No 2 Nicolai Eigtveds Gade 32
Specializing in natural organic Nordic cuisine, Restaurant Radio is an informal yet modern and airy restaurant located near the Forum Copenhagen and the old Radio house in the hip Fredericksburg neighborhood. Chef Jesper was formerly the sous chef at Noma and wanted to create a menu using unique ancient grains and legumes sourced from organic farms just outside of Copenhagen paired with local seafood and meats. Veteran restaurateur and owner Claus Meyer plans to bring the fresh flavors of Nordic cuisine stateside with the Nordic Food Hall & Brasserie opening Spring 2016 in the Grand Central Vanderbilt Hall in NYC.
Radio Julius Thomsensgade 12
A visit to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without stopping in the magical Winter Wonderland of Tivoli Garden, which was the inspiration and precursor to Walt Disney’s Disneyland. Kähler restaurant combines the best of traditional Danish cuisine and design. The setting has a 70s post modern vibe where the architecture, furnishings and place settings were created by some of Denmark’s most renowned designers such as Verner Panton, Le Klint, and Arne Jacobsen as well as Kähler. Try the seasonal 3 course Christmas dinner with venison, pork loin and a Danish “snowball” to get into the holiday spirit.
Located behind in a picturesque courtyard behind Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen off of Copenhagen’s main shopping street is the Royal Smushi Café. If Eloise were to meet Alice in Wonderland this is the fairy tale setting they would create for their tea party- part fantasy yet pure elegance with angelic feather plumed lighting, large tables for sharing, and shelves full of curiosities for sale. The specialty is the selection of smushi- a smørrebrød which is the traditional Danish open faced sandwich inspired by sushi with Danish flavors presented in artistic delicate bite sized portions. Of course the Danish pastries and cakes are quite delectable as well.
Royal Smushi Café Amagertorv 6
Gourmet hot dogs, champagne and cocktails, need we say more? As hot dogs have gained popularity in Denmark, Foderbraettet has created elevated versions of this favorite fast food such as a Korean shrimp hot dog, a smoked bacon dog with Danish cheese, and wild boar sausage topped with marinated pumpkin. Set in the uber trendy Vestebro neighborhood, Foderbraettet is open until 2 on weekends and turns from a popular casual dining spot to a late night party lounge with refreshing seasonal cocktails and a DJ spinning the latest Euro EDM.
Foderbraettet Vesterbrogade 41
Just under 10 years ago, founder Mikkel Borg Bjergso was a physics teacher and beer geek experimenting with hops, malt and yeast in his kitchen to create uniquely flavored beers. Today he has a microbrewery that exports to over 40 countries with several outposts in Denmark as well as international locations in San Francisco, Tokyo and Bangkok. The Mikkeler bar in Vestebro is where it all started and serves as its microbrewery location serving over 100 varieties of rare and limited run brews.
Touted as one of the best bars in the world, Ruby’s feels more like hanging out at a wealthy friend’s luxe abode with that private club ambiance like Norwood or Soho House but without the membership hassle. Without any frontal signage, Ruby’s is located in a townhouse dating back to 1740 in the historical center of town. The resplendent setting has mahogany wood paneled walls, sumptuous Chesterfield leather chairs and banquettes with huge bay windows overlooking the canal, where the elegance is only matched by the throngs of beautiful people filling the space.
As the sister bar to Rubys, Lidkoeb is probably the best place to meet, er pick up a Dane. Set in a former pharmaceutical factory in Vestebro, the sprawling 3 floor space is located at the back of an open air courtyard that accommodates the overspilling crowd. The bottom two floors are warmly decorated in modern and luxurious Danish furnishings with large leather banquettes and a long bar conducive to making new friends and acquaintances at this packed hotspot. For a more intimate setting head to the third floor whiskey bar with exposed wood walls and beamed ceilings and sumptuous vintage leather seating. Serving only whiskey, get your drinks from the “Dispensing Chemists” labeled bar serving extremely rare vintages to mixed cocktails, and to ensure the cozy atmosphere this is the only floor with a bouncer to keep crowds at bay.
Lidkoeb Vesterbrogade 72B
Cocktail culture is alive and well at 1656. Set on the nightlife border of Vestebro and the Meatpacking district finding 1656 can be tricky. Designed as a consummate speakeasy, the entrance is behind a graffiti marked metal black door with an Old World ambiance created by dim lights, leather Chesterfield banquettes and dark wood paneled walls with a hidden sub speakeasy Tiki Bar hidden behind a velvet curtain. Talented mixologists create a new menu each season of potent concoctions with a modern take on classic cocktails with old world ingredients such as chartreuse, falernum, and absinthe mixed with seasonal ingredients. The cozy Polynesian themed Tiki bar serves elevated versions of potent rum based drinks such as Planters punch or Pina Colada that feels like a throwback to Trader Vics.
1656 Gasværksvej 33