Where to go out in Stockholm
Stockholm does away with its social democratic heritage when it comes to nightlife: the city is famous for its expensive bars, elite VIP rooms and fickle doormen. But don’t let all this snootiness put you off – there’s still plenty of variety on the Stockholm nightlife scene, and most of the best bars are still accessible if you know when to arrive, what to wear and how to behave.
There isn’t always a clear demarcation between bars and clubs in Stockholm, with many bar-cum-restaurants morphing into dance venues come midnight. The two key nightlife zones are Södermalm and Östermalm, though Gamla Stan, Norrmalm and Vasastan also boast plenty of good watering holes. Le Bar Rouge, decorated with plush red-velvet drapes, is one of the more stylish places in Gamla Stan. If you’re looking for a clean-cut nighttime spot in Norrmalm or Vasastan, try Kåken or Tranan.
Södermalm is the area to head to if you’re after understated style and indie music: at the northern end of the island is long-standing beer hall Kvarnen, while at the southern side of SoFo is Pet Sounds Bar, known for its intimate indie-rock gigs. Morfar Ginko and its neighbour Papa Ray Ray, both located just behind Mariatorget square, are fun joints with widespread appeal. A solid Hornstull bet is Judit & Bertil, which comes complete with a beautiful blue-tiled bar. For rock, hip hop and reggae nights, try Debaser Medis, on Hornstulls Strand.
Most of the doormen likely to test your patience work at the bars and clubs around Stureplan in Östermalm. Although some locals shun this area on account of its rep as a playground for bankers and local celebrities, its status as the number one party destination in Stockholm remains unchallenged, with bar-clubs such as East and Hotellet still attracting long queues. For a slightly more down-to-earth option in the neighbourhood, try bar-restaurant Riche, favoured by Stockholm’s media set.
When spending time in a city with such awe-inspiring geography, it pays to hunt down spots from which to enjoy the views with a sundowner – Mälarpaviljongen on Kungsholmen’s waterfront is perfect for alfresco imbibing, while the terrace bar at the Södra Teatern cultural centre provides panoramic views from its northern Södermalm location.
Kvarnen Tjärhovsgatan 4, +46 8 643 03 80.
Pet Sounds Bar Skånegatan 80, +46 8 643 82 25.
Morfar Ginko & Papa Ray Ray Swedenborgsgatan 13, +46 8 641 13 40.
Judit & Bertil Bergsundsstrand 38, +46 8 669 31 31.
Debaser Medis Medborgarplatsen 8, +46 8 694 79 00.
East Stureplan 13, +46 8 611 49 59.
Hotellet Linnégatan 18, +46 8 442 89 00.
Riche Birger Jarlsgatan 4, +46 8 54 50 35 60.
Le Bar Rouge Österlånggatan 17, +46 8 505 244 60.
Kåken Regeringsgatan 66, +46 8 20 60 10.
Tranan Karlbergsvägen 14, +46 8 52 72 81 00.
Mälarpaviljongen Norr Mälarstrand 64, +46 8 650 87 01.
Södra Teatern Mosebacketorg 1-3, +46 8 53 19 94 00.