After your first visit to Iceland, you’ll understand why Reykjavik’s nightlife is praised by tourist and travel magazines everywhere. Whether you’re an occasional drinker or a full-on party animal, everyone can enjoy Reykjavik’s nightlife!
What makes Icelandic nightlife so special?
When you think of a city with great nightlife, the first cities to come to your head are likely London or New York or another large metropolitan like that. But the appeal to Icelandic nightlife is in its simplicity– all the bars and clubs are all within walking distance to one another, everyone knows everyone, there’s rarely long lines and there’s no cover fees.
Icelandic bars and clubs tend to get over crowded and no one bats an eye if you get up on a table and start breaking out your best moves! It’s a very fun and open atmosphere where everyone simply just wants to laugh and have a good time.
Where are the bars in Iceland?
A majority of them are on the main shopping street, Laugavegur. You can bar hop all night if you want, as there’s no cover fees and the two furthest apart bars are about a 10 minute walk. That being said, there’s still well over 20 clubs/bars.
Icelandic people tend to have a handful of favourite bars and hop between them. Even in the coldest part of winter, it is extremely uncommon to stay in the same bar all night. If you’re too cold to keep up with all the bar-hopping them Icelandic folks are used to, then you probably need another shot of Brennivín to warm you up!
What is Brennivín?
Brennivín is a clear, unsweetened schnapps. It’s the original Icelandic schnapps and the most common alcohol in the country. It’s Iceland’s signature distilled beverage! In my opinion, it tastes somewhat like Sambuca. It’s cheaper than vodka or any other types of alcohol and it’s still got all the good stuff, at 40% ABV.
How much does alcohol cost in Iceland?
From the liquor store, the average import beer prices in at 325 ISK for a can. Domestic bottles of beer (half litres) are an average of 340 ISK. Wine is around 2400 ISK. A 700 mL bottle of Brennivin is around 4600 ISK.
Just like anywhere in the world, alcohol is significantly more expensive in restaurants and bars. In bars the average pint of beer is going to cost you around 1200 ISK.
What is the legal drinking age in Iceland? Do they check ID in Iceland?
20, however they often won’t ID. Liquor stores are far more likely to ID than bars and clubs. Sometimes when they ask for ID, they just briefly glance at it, but it all really depends on the bouncer.
What time are bars open in Iceland?
People in Iceland tend to go out extremely late. You often times won’t see bars start to get crowded until well after midnight. It’s not abnormal to pre-drink until 2 AM, then go out to the bars. All the bars are open until 5 AM.
What are the best bars in Iceland?
1. Kiki Club
Located where many queer bars have been, this exciting bar is always the wildest! This is the newest gay bar in Reykjavik and the music is all top charts and has disco-themed lights!
Also known as KB, this bar is by far the most well-known bar in town, being heavily featured in the movie 101 Reykjavík and co-owned by Damon Albarn! By day it’s a cool coffee shop, but Kaffibarinn gets fiendishly busy at night, when it turns into a bar.
3. Kex Hostel
This is more of an early-evening place that has a very cool atmosphere. You might go here for your first couple beers, before venturing off to more lively bars. Kex Hostel often puts on live events, such as jazz nights and bands. Being a hostel bar, it is full of travelers, but it also closes early, at around 11 PM.
This is for someone who appreciates the experience of trying new beers while abroad. This funky bar supports independent brewers from all over Iceland, and beyond!
Harlem is a very artsy type bar that generally supports a younger crowd. This place is two floors and can get really loud and wild! This is a great place if you want to party, dance and let loose!
This bar is conveniently located right below Club Kiki, so it tends to get quite packed, too. Great place to sit down and enjoy a beer.
Any old school hip hop lovers planning a trip to Iceland? Because this bar is dedicated to only playing old school hip hop. By day this place is a pub that serves delicious food, but by night it becomes a lively bar with a younger crowd.
Dillon is a great rock bar with fairly decent prices on beers and a fun atmosphere!
This brand new bar is located right by the Harbour and is home to Iceland’s first proper cocktail. With views of the northern lights, this delicious cocktail bar is almost always crowded, but you’ll see why!
Aimed to be a healthier alternative to the heavy additives in international beer, this place naturally attracts a more trendy crowd. The Kaldi Icelandic beer on tap is absolutely delicious and a huge favourite amongst the locals.