The capital of Iceland is small but don’t underestimate it. Reykjavik has an electric nightlife. There are many places to have a drink and party well into the early hours of the morning. There are great bars, nightclubs and live music venues to experience.
To find the clubs and bars in Reykjavik you need to go to the main nightlife area, Laugavegur. This is a street which has lots of bars in a short walking distance. You will also find bars and pubs just off the street of Laugavegur.
Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest times of the week. Nightclubs and bars are open until 5am so expect a late one when in Reykjavík!
The locals begin the night by meeting at someone’s house. Then they will head out and enjoy the night. The nightlife builds slowly and gets busy at around 2am. You will find that the cafes during the day turn into bars and clubs at night. If you want to meet people and go to the best places it is recommended to go on a bar crawl.
The legal drinking age in Iceland is 20 years old. You are likely to be asked if you look underage. If you are legal to drink then you might want to try the famous Icelandic schnapps. This shot is called Brennivin or as locals named it: “black death”. You will find that drink prices in most places are a bit higher than other places in Europe.
The dress code isn’t that strict, however some places won’t let you in if you are wearing jeans or trainers so it’s recommended to dress smart.
The ideal time to go to Reykjavik is between the months of May and September. Average temperature in these months is around 12°C. However, if you want to see the Northern lights, then you want to visit between September and mid-April. This is because these months are the darkest months and that’s when you are most likely to see the Northern Lights.
You will find many bars with live music acts. There are also music festivals; the largest one is Airwaves in November. Other live events can be experienced in the Harpa Concert Hall, The National Theatre and Iðnó.
When the night is finished or you’re on the way to an after party, stop by a hot dog stand. Hot dogs (pylsa) are Iceland’s most loved food. They won’t be hard to find as there are stands everywhere. One stand that is recommended to visit is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. The stand has been going since 1937 and has had Bill Clinton as a customer. These hot dogs are perfect after a night drinking in Reykjavik.
Nightclubs and Bars
There are plenty of nightclubs, bars and pubs to head to. One club that is enjoyed by many is Austur. This place gets very busy on Fridays and Saturdays so you might be queuing outside for a while. But once you’re in you can party all night on the dancefloor.
B5 is a great bar to visit. It’s another venue that gets very busy. It’s a stylish and popular place to go, especially when the main area turns into a dancefloor.
The English Pub is place that you probably wouldn’t have expected to find in Iceland. This place provides a wide range of beers and is popular when there is a football game on. The best thing about this place is that you have a chance to win a metres worth of beer. All you have to do is spin the Wheel-of-Fortune.
One of the most well known and stylish bars is Kaffibarinn. It’s always popular with locals and it frequently has a queue outside. The main man from Blur, Damon Albarn, used to own a stake of the Kaffibarinn bar.
Boston is a favourite bar for many people. The place mainly plays rock and has 3 areas to explore. It’s definitely worth going to for a drink or two. Bar 11 is another rock bar which is getting a better reputation everyday. When you step inside this place you will find that it is very dark and has skulls as decorations. Another bar that likes to play rock music is Dillon.
Lebowski Bar is a place that is liked by many. It’s an American bar and is inspired by the film The Big Lebowski by the Coen brothers. There are 4 areas to roam. One area you should definitely head to is the massive dancefloor. When night comes this place is the perfect place to go as it is liked by locals and tourists.
For a cocktail, visit Slippbarinn. It’s located by the harbour and on the first floor of Icelandair’s hotel Reykjavik Marina. This is a stylish bar and has many great drinks on the menu. Its well worth a visit! Another cocktail bar to check out is Loftið Cocktail Lounge.
Cafe Rósenberg is a venue that mainly plays jazz. They often have live acts so if you want to experience this you might have to pay an entry fee.
There are many more great bars and clubs, they include: Thorvaldsen, Vegamót, Húrra, Micro Bar, Kaldi Bar, Skúli Craft, Olstofan, Íslenski Barinn, Bravó, The Dubliner and Club Kiki.
Things to Do
During the day, Reykjavik has plenty of things to do. A place that many tourists go to is the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon temperatures average around 37–39 °C. This place is one of the most visited places in Iceland and is open day and night. Other places to visit include the Golden Circle, the Hallgrímskirkja Church and the Harpa Concert Hall.
There are many more great activities and things to do. They include quad biking, riding snow mobiles, whale watching and white water rafting!
Airport name: Keflavík International Airport
Transfer time to Reykjavik: 40 minutes