A couple of weeks ago Drinking Buddy (now on his way to being Drinking Hubby) and I flew out to Reykjavik to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine to visit the real Land of Ice and Fire. This isn’t a travel blog so I won’t speak too much about the country itself, other than to say that if you’ve ever thought about going to Iceland: don’t delay, book now! It was genuinely the best holiday we’ve ever had; beautiful scenery, friendly people and delicious food. And yes, it was expensive, but for a short break it didn’t bankrupt us (she says eating beans for dinner).
We always do a bit of beer tourism wherever we go and Reykjavik was no exception. Here are a few places you might want to check out if you’re planning a trip:
If you’re a big beer nerd who wants to poke around in the machinery and talk about different yeast strains then this tour might not be for you. If you’re a beer nerd who just wants to drink a lot of beer then you’re set. We only left the bar once to visit the ‘microbrewery’ (yes, I know I’m cynical, but when you stick a tiny microbrewery on the side of a huge commercial brewery it’s not really a microbrewery is it); other than that it was a history of beer in Iceland, relayed entertainingly by Sylvia and accompanied by endless refills. Don’t do what we did and drink beforehand, you might get silly.
Taste the Saga brewery tour can be booked through Grayline Tours: Approx £35pp including transport.
Kaldi Bar is very cool in the way that most of Reykjavik is very cool, but also unassuming in the way that most of Reykjavik is unassuming. It’s essentially like they transported a bar out of Shoreditch and removed the wank. However, the best thing about it is their excellent selection of beers with enough choice to keep you there for the whole evening. That said, make sure you get in for their happy ‘hour’ between 16:00 and 19:00. We visited outside of these hours and ended up paying £14 for 2 pints (well, 0.5L). Ouch.
Kaldi Bar. Laugavegur 20b, 101 Reykjavik.
Micro Bar is actually part of a hotel in the centre of Reykjavik. What this means is that it’s only open from 16:00, as the rest of the time it’s being used as a dining area. However, it’s definitely worth seeking out as while the decor isn’t particularly enticing the beer list certainly is.
If you fancy a BrewDog then you’re going to be parting with most of your krona, but it’s probably best to go native and get a Gæðingur on draught instead. Gæðingur, roughly translated, means ‘a man’s best horse’ (yes, that made me laugh too), but it’s also the name of the microbrewery owned by Árni Hafstað who also happens to own Micro Bar.
Micro Bar. Austurstræti 6, Reykjavik Centre.
[Mikkeller & Friends]
Mikkeller & Friends is just a few minutes walk from the harbour in a historic part of the city.There’s a small bar area with an excellent selection of beers (20 taps!), cocktails and a terrible selection of taxidermy. It’s also a pizzeria and, although I didn’t eat there, I can say that they looked amazing (yeah, I was that woman leering over your pizza). The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is very relaxed, which is just how I like my bars to be.
Mikkeller & Friends. Hverfisgata 12, Reykjavik.
[Frederiksen Ale House]
Frederiken Ale House might have been my favourite pub of all and I enjoyed nothing more than popping in for a cold jug of Einstock White Ale in the morning/afternoon/evening (slice of orange optional). The beer selection is certainly smaller than the other bars I’ve mentioned, but the staff are knowledgeable, friendly and, this is a bit of a theme in Iceland, so relaxed. Also if you go in at happy hour you can grab a half litre for approx £2.50 so quids in, eh?
Frederiksen Ale House. Hafnarstraeti 5, 101 Reykjavik.