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. There is plenty to see and do in the day with a wide range of natural wonders to take in during your visit as well as attractions such as museums and the Blue Lagoon. However, many people are unsure about the nightlife in the city and what they can expect during their visit. There is plenty of nightlife in the city with a wide range of bars and nightclubs for you to visit during your trip. We have put together a complete guide to Reykjavik’s nightlife so you know what to expect before you arrive in the country.
Alcohol 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 but restaurants and bars are allowed to sell alcohol. If you want to buy alcohol outside of these places then you will need to go to one of the Vínbúðin stores, which are owned by the government and regulated. These stores also have a special set of opening times so make sure you check before heading out. If you are under the age of 20 then you are not allowed to buy alcohol of any kind either.
However, if you are heading out to the bars and clubs, you might be pleased to know that there is rarely a dress code or queues to get into any of the cities venues. Many places offer a wide range of drinks so you can always be sure to find somewhere you like.
Drinking & Chatting
If you are looking for somewhere to go for a drink and a chat then there are plenty of bars with a great atmosphere that you will enjoy. Ölstofan is popular among locals if you are looking for somewhere to have a drink and a chat, with music often played at low volume.
The English Pub is also great for those that are just looking for a drink and is popular on weekdays. It is similar to a traditional pub in its style and they often have acoustic live music to set the atmosphere. There is even a wheel of fortune behind the bar where you can win a metre worth of beer if you’re lucky.
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.
But 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. Húrra is a popular venue for those looking to party with a wide array of live music and DJs but mainly play dance and electronic music.
Another quirky bar that is worth paying a visit to is Bravó. There is often a great atmosphere and it is a mix between people enjoying a drink and chat, as well as those dancing and enjoying the music. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for a little more than a drink, but don’t want to be partying all through the night.
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 really complete the vibe. They have a different array of music each night depending on the DJ so check in advance before travelling.
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. The stylish bar offers everything that you need to have a great time and stays open until the early hours.
If you are looking for a different type of music to 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. But if you are looking for a more traditional clubbing vide, 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 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 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.
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.