The Nine Best Cocktail Bars in Copenhagen
This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
A transformation occurred in Copenhagen with the New Nordic cuisine movement, and what was once littered with tiki cocktails and beer bars has become an epicenter for innovative cocktails. Diners and drinkers were finally able to access creative food with local ingredients that opened their palates and go beyond pork, potatoes, and beer (not that there is anything wrong with that triumvirate). A dedication to playing with flavors, textures, and colors has not only changed the way that people dine but also they way they drink. Read on for nine must-try bars that are transforming the way Copenhagen drinks.
The Bird and The Churchkey
Step downstairs into this cavernous den for some of Copenhagen's best gin. With over 80 varieties and almost 60 beers on the menu, you can choose from expertly crafted drinks ranging from simple classics to complex modern takes. A must-drink is the Neoclassic G&T served with Hendricks, Fevertree tonic (which you pour over to your liking), frozen cucumber ice cubes, and rose petals. Or dive into something more adventurous with the Monkey Kong, made with Money 47 gin, rhubarb, vanilla, star anise, and Fentimans tonic. The bar gets busy so try to snag a table to one of the many tucked away rooms that are equipped with board games. The service is friendly and the place is lively on Friday and Saturdays and a heaven for gin lovers.
The ever popular, and seriously sexy Ruby is housed behind an unmarked door. Inside, the speakeasy provides multiple cozy areas to grab a seat and sip one of the expertly crafted cocktails made by hyper-knowledgeable, bearded bartenders. The menu features seasonal and classic drinks as well as Ruby signatures, alongside a perfectly curated wine and beer list. Although the descriptions on the menu are thorough, be sure to ask your server or bartender for recommendations. Champagne lovers try the Soave & Suave—champagne with pisco, lemon oil, and rosemary. If you are craving something totally different try the Beet Kiss: bright red, this apple brandy cocktail mixes beetroot, coconut cream, lemon juice, and ginger.
This cozy hole-in-the-wall is part of the Mikkeller brand, although you would never guess it. Down three steep stairs into what seems to be a basement, the low lit cocktail bar serves seriously creative drinks. To help you navigate the menu, there is a gauging system based on how adventurous your want to be and how boozy and dense the cocktail should taste. Many of their cocktails are premixed and on tap, but cocktail connoisseurs fear not, the bartender will let you try a taste to erase any speculation you may have. Try the Spotan Fiz with vodka, cardamom, lemon and spontan ale, shaken neatly to create a light foam and garnished with lingonberries. Or dive into something more rich with the Dr. Pepper—rum, cherries, stout, black pepper, and lemon.
Lidkoeb is one of those places that you need to come back multiple times to even get a taste of what it has to offer. Sister venue of Ruby and housed in a former 17th-century apothecary, Lidkoeb now offers libations for every type of cocktail drinker. The first floor has a bustling cocktail bar offering drinks like the Ostero Cola made with Pimm’s, Kettle One vodka, licorice, lemon juice, and a dash of peach or the Lille Fortun with Tanqueray gin, Chartreuse Verte, lemon, a bit of sugar, and some of their homemade pale ale all topped with a touch of sage. Head upstairs to be immersed in a dimly lit attic-like bar that primarily serves whiskey. Think deep leather chairs, walls filled with old pictures, an impressive collection of walking sticks all surrounded with over 200 bottles of whiskey, to make you feel right at home.
Located in Copenhagen’s Latin Quarter, this boutique hotel’s priority is to make you feel comfortable. The check-in is located at the bar when you first walk in, but whether you’re staying here or not, order a drink and then seat yourself in one of the many overstuffed lounge chairs. Try Denmark’s Geranium gin mixed with a rose lemonade for a fun take on gin and juice.
After you enjoy the lobby, step inside Cocks & Cows where a large selection of over-the-top burgers are paired with the restaurant’s homemade rum in a classic Dark and Stormy or their twist on the G&T with blueberry and thyme.
In the heart of Copenhagen’s Meatpacking district, Vesterbro, is some of the city’s best seafood. And in the center of this bustling, low-lit restaurant is the bright and busy wood-paneled and concrete-topped bar. Amongst the blue glow from the large cylinder tank of fish, sip on fresh, seasonal cocktails all made with local ingredients like the apple juice in the Lilleø Sour or cucumber in the Sure Henrik made with Hendrick’s Gin, lime, and egg whites.
Be sure to check out the eerie bathrooms that are a take on the history of the neighborhood, a cold room where carcasses were hung. Instead of music, there is an echoed recording of water dripping.
Beautiful decor and passionate bartenders are what you find at Umberto Marques’ Vesterbro lounge. Try to grab a seat at the blue-tiled bar and have one of the bartenders walk you through some of their cocktails. A wide selection of gin drinks and seasonal options, all using homemade shrubs and spirits, are for your choosing in the spacious but intimate speakeasy. To drink: Curfew’s popular Unfaithful is a mix of Hendrick’s gin, Cointreau, cucumber, lemon juice, honey with a touch of raw licorice. Or try the Queen Berengaria with housemade vanilla-infused Aquavit, blackberry and verbena shrub and ruby port wine. For those wanting a non-alcoholic drink, Curfew offers incredible concoctions like the Unfaithful with passion fruit, tarragon, lime juice, honey, ginger ale.
Michelin-starred creator of dining-musts Relae and Manfred’s, Christian Puglisi opened this organic, Italian-accented restaurant in Nørrebro last year. While the food, with dishes like expertly crafted pizzas and cured meats, is delicious, the cocktails standout as a creative force that echoes the respect for pure ingredients seen throughout Puglisi’s portfolio. Takes on classic drinks are given a twist like The Garden: vodka, lemon, honey, celery, cumin, tonic water. Or the Tommy with tequila, agave syrup, lemon and a kick of fresh chilis. Grab a seat at the bar, peruse the cocktail menu and order some fresh burrata.
This almost-hidden bar is clearly all about the cocktails. What truly represents the Danish hygge (loosely translated as ‘coziness’), the dimly lit interior and comfy couches let you slink back and soak in the warm atmosphere while sipping on a creative menu that change seasonally. Only in town a few days? Take note that 1105 is open Wednesday-Saturday.