We have put together a complete guide to Reykjavik’s nightlife so you know what to expect before you arrive in the country.
Reykjavik has become one of the most popular European cities for tourists, with its unique environment attracting visitors from all over the world. In this exciting and unusual city, there is plenty to see and do during the day as well as the night! There is plenty of nightlife in the city with a wide range of bars and nightclubs for you to visit during your trip. Reykjavik is also a fairly small city, meaning walks between venues are short and sweet, so you can get right back into the party mood. We have put together a complete guide to Reykjavik’s nightlife so you know exactly how to spend your Iceland evenings.
Drinking in Iceland
One thing that you should be aware of before you travel to the country is that there are strict rules about the sale of alcohol and it isn’t readily available. Supermarkets in Iceland are not allowed to sell alcohol of any kind and can only be sold in restaurants and bars. If you want to buy alcohol outside of these establishments then you will need to go to one of the Vínbúðin stores, which are government-owned and regulated.
Vínbúðin stores have a special set of opening times so make sure you check before heading out to purchase your drinks. The alcohol buying age is 20, so If you are under this age of 20 then expect to be denied at Iceland’s alcohol stores.
Relaxed Bars in Reykjavik
If you are looking for somewhere to go for a drink and a chat, there are plenty of bars in Reykjavik with a great atmosphere to enjoy. If you’re looking for some recommendations, your accommodation should have some on hand - if not, here are a few of our favourite bars in the city.
- Ölstofan: Ölstofan is popular among locals if you are looking for somewhere to have a drink and chat with friends or meet new people, with music often played at low volume.
- The English Pub: The English Pub is great for those that are looking for a drink or two and is popular on weekdays. It is similar in style to a traditional English pub that you might be used to at home and they often have acoustic live music to create a great atmosphere. There is even a wheel of fortune behind the bar, where you can win a metre worth of beer if you’re lucky! Head there to try your luck.
- Kaldi Bar: Kaldi Bar is the most popular bar in Reykjavik for the locals and can get very busy, so it can be difficult to find a seat sometimes. They often stay open late and there are plenty of beers on tap, but be prepared to stand unless you get here early.
Lively Reykjavik Bars
If you are looking for somewhere a bit more lively, then there are plenty of bars in Reykjavik that also offer great music and somewhere to dance. Here are some of our favourite nightclubs in Reykjavik.
- Húrra: Húrra is a popular venue for those looking to party with a wide array of live music and DJs. Dance and electronic music are the main genres at Húrra.
- Bravó: Another quirky bar that is worth paying a visit to is Bravó. There is often a great atmosphere and it is a mix of people enjoying a drink and chat and those dancing and enjoying the music. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for a little more than just one drink, but don’t want to be partying all through the night!
- Bar Ananas: If you’re looking for summer vibes in the otherwise cold weather of Iceland, then why not head to Bar Ananas! You can enjoy a range of cocktails in this tropical-themed bar that even has sand on the floor to complete the island vibe. They have a different array of music each night depending on the DJ so check in advance before travelling.
- Pablo Discobar: Above the S-American restaurant, you will find a great place to dance the night away in Pablo Discobar. There is a range of cocktails on the menu for you to enjoy and the bar attracts a fun crowd. You’ll find everything that you need to have a great time and stay open until the early hours.
- Bar 11: If you are looking for a different type of music from the other bars playing dance and disco, then Bar 11 might be the perfect place for you. They play a wide variety of rock and metal and sometimes have live bands performing. An added bonus is that the bar often stays open later than many of the other venues, until around 5:30.
Many of the Reykjavik bars and clubs stay open until late and the lines are often blurred between bars and nightclubs.
- B5: But if you are looking for a more traditional clubbing vibe, then B5 might be the place for you. It is one of the only places in Reykjavik with a dress code and VIP areas, and you might need to queue to get in, but once there expect chart music and club vibes.
- Kaffibarinn: Kaffibarinn is probably the most popular bar/club in Reykjavik and is co-owned by the Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn. The venue is always packed with people and is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. The music is mainly alternative and electronic and it often attracts a “hipster” crowd.
- Paloma: Paloma is also one of the most popular clubs in Reykjavik and offers a nightclub experience. It is an essential venue for local DJs and plays a wide array of different music so check before attending. With a large capacity, it is the perfect place to party the night away. The club sits on top of the local bar, The Dubliner, so you can go from pub to club with your whole night sorted.
- Club Kiki: Reykjavik even offers a popular gay club too. Club Kiki is the biggest of the gay bars in the city and stays open until late on the weekends. There is a great atmosphere in the club and the music theme is chart pop, disco and Eurovision.
Reykjavik Bar Dresscode
Dress codes are pretty relaxed inside bars, so this is not something to worry about before setting foot inside. Remember that trainers, hiking clothes, and tracksuits are not generally permitted insight nightclubs, so avoid these when getting ready for your night. Even in summer, it’s probably a good idea to have a warm winter coat for the journey home. Late nights can get chilly in the streets of the capital.
Other Nightlife Rules
With all of this in mind, it is important to remember that in Iceland it is forbidden to drink alcohol in the street, so be sure to respect this rule during your trip. You will also find that nightclubs do not serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 20 and some bars may refuse to serve anyone under the age of 22.
When arranging your itinerary for your trip to Iceland and planning all the tourist hotspots that you want to visit, be sure to include some time to experience Reykjavik's nightlife.
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