Photograph: Slowburn

The best bars in Copenhagen right now

From riverside sipping to arcade game nostalgia, the best bars in Copenhagen will see you through the night

Miriam Gradel

Here for beer, wine, cocktails or spirits, Copenhagen will pack a punch. As a former professional bartender, I’ve sipped my way through some of Europe’s biggest cocktail capitals, and I’m continuously baffled by how many cool, independently owned and genuinely brilliant bars this small city has to offer. Luckily, with fairly lenient alcohol rules and good support for entrepreneurship, more are popping up all the time.

For cocktails, Copenhagen is a frontrunner, with bars like K-Bar and Ruby pushing it onto the global map, but you’ll find some seriously innovative craft beer and natural wines getting slung out here too. Copenhagen can be expensive, owing to the high tax rate, but it all gets fed back into society, so the quality of life (and drinks) stays high. The venues on this list are bars I keep returning to  some have inspired me to think differently as a bartender, others have helped me beat midnight deadlines, and more than a few have welcomed me as a regular. Here are the best bars in Copenhagen right now. 

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This article was written by Miriam Gradel, a journalist and bartender based in Copenhagen. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best bars in Copenhagen

1. Jojo

Cocktails on tap may sound rugged, but drinks at this modern, minimalist cocktail bar are every bit as elegant as a classic stirred up Martini. Not only does the method result in less wasted produce, it also frees up important time for the staff during service hours. At Jojo, all cocktails are created and prepared on-site in their own kitchen and served fresh from the tap at the bar. But don’t expect pint-size negronis – each serve is exactly as refined as one would expect from more traditional cocktail bars.

And if you were wondering, yes, the advantage is that what’s on offer here is much more affordable than your typical Copenhagen cocktail, coming in around the 85 DKK mark (£8-9), rather than 100 DKK (£11-12). And if that’s not your thing, Jojo’s got a ton of local craft beers, natural wines and good softies too. Jojo is becoming very popular with Vesterbro’s local crowd of students, artists and creatives for this reason. 

Best for: Affordable quality cocktails and chill atmosphere.

2. Bird

After many years of contributing to the expansion of cocktail culture in Copenhagen, Peter Altenburg decided to close his establishment GILT in Nørrebro and embark on a new endeavour in Frederiksberg. This became Bird, a bar centred around live DJs spinning vinyls, where the first thing you’ll notice when you enter is the DJ stand leaning against an in-house library of old and new records. The entire venue is constructed to maximise the musical experience, from soundproofing the walls to hand building the speakers. In fact get this they take sound so seriously, the cocktails are crafted to be easily poured (rather than shaken with ice) to eliminate noise from the bar. 

The menu changes regularly, featuring cocktails full of flavour, depth and complexity, but a staple is the sweet and spicy Bonfire Manhattan, with Danish whisky, mezcal, amaro and coffee vermouth. And sure, it feels sophisticated in there, but don't sweat: there is no dress code, and the bartenders still wear t-shirts. Our top tip? Bird actually has another much more intimate bar hidden away in the back, but it’s only open on weekends. 

Best for: Vinyls and late-night cocktails.


3. Bar Poldo

After years of catering to thirsty crowds at Danish and UK establishments, Marco and Davide made a bold move and opened their own wine bar right in the middle of a global pandemic. Within a short time, Denmark’s most notorious food critic, journalist Søren Frank, had visited the place and fallen madly in love. Bar Poldo wins on its high level of professional but friendly service, and a well-curated selection of wines from Italy, France, Greece and beyond.

These guys know their wine, and have even started importing it themselves. And if all that drinking makes you hungry, don’t fret: Poldo’s seasonal bar menu ranges from light snacks and charcuterie to upscaled small plates, like Danish foraged asparagus or handmade arancini. Being a small space, Poldo can get rammed, so book ahead or show up before 6pm (when most Danes go for dinner) to secure yourself a spot at the bar.

Best for: Wine explorations and food pairing.

4. Rosforth & Rosforth

One of the most enjoyable experiences one can have in Copenhagen on a sunny day is sipping a glass of natural wine by the canal. Luckily, under Knibbelsbro bridge connecting Inner City Copenhagen with Christianshavn lies Rosforth & Rosforth, where you can do just that. Rosforth & Rosforth is a blissful kind of place, where you can choose from a glorious selection of wine, sake and more and drink it right by the canal side before heading in for a swim. Most of the collection comes from the Loire Valley in France, but these guys were also one of the first to bring organic and natural wines to the Denmark drinking scene.

They really know their stuff, and are happy to talk and taste you through what’s on offer before you buy. At least 12 different kinds of white, red, orange, rosé or sparkling wines are kept cool for serving Monday to Saturday, and a glass can be bought for 75 DKK (£8), with bottles available from 225 DKK (£3). If you want to have the best day ever, the harbour ferry stops right outside, which will take you to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue in 20 minutes. 

Best for: A glass of chilled orange wine in the sun.


5. Cafe Intime

What the pub is to Britons, the bodega is to the Danes. What precisely a bodega entails and how Danes enjoy hygge (a feeling of coziness, comfort and conviviality) over drinks can be experienced at Cafe Intime (Cafe Intimate) in Frederiksberg. From students and expats to locals and pensioners, Cafe Intime has been welcoming everyone in their small, intimate space for close to 100 years. When jazz singer Monika Pallesen took ownership of the venue in the late 80s, Cafe Intime got a more bohemian, jazz-centric vibe, and to this day you can find live music there most nights in the week.

But mark my words, the best nights are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, for the open mic. The bread and butter of Cafe Intime, regulars belt out tunes and locals try their hand at performing, all with live piano. If you’re lucky, you might catch a performance from the one of the Royal Opera Ensemble on their night off. This is a fun, inclusive space, with decently priced drinks, and lots of nice touches (namely, sparkling wines served in a champagne coupe, so you can feel like something out of the Great Gatsby). Cafe Intime is a magical place in a fairytale kingdom, and a must see in the city. 

Best for: Live music and true hygge.

6. Gensyn

As a bartender working in the upcoming cocktail scene of Copenhagen, Terkel Kleist almost always ended his shift by kicking it back with a beer at a bodega. While rough around the edges, bodega culture is very hygge, and that’s what Kleist wanted to bring to Copenhagen, with his bar Gensyn in 2017. There’s a second location in Amager, but this is the OG spot for a Tommy’s Marg on a Sunday, with outdoor seating, good vibes and a pool table. 

In Danish, ‘på gensyn’ roughly translates to ‘see you again soon’, and for several years, the venue has given both locals and visitors plenty of reasons to come back for seconds. Serving arguably some of the city’s most well-balanced cocktails to what seems to be a never-ending and diverse list of smashing tunes, Gensyn is a place well worth starting, ending or, you know, spending your whole night in. Whilst you enjoy a game of pool and make new friends with the neighbouring table, make sure to try out the award winning walnut brown cocktail; roasted rye bread infused in Bourbon and balanced with Drambuie and coffee bitterness.

Best for: Chilled vibes, quality drinks and pool.


7. Bip Bip Bar

Fans of pre-internet retro gaming will love Bip Bip Bar. Its founder, Christian, spent many years tracking down and repairing old video games, before he opened this ode to big pixels and arcade nostalgia. But even if gaming ain’t your thing, Bip Bip is a good time, with two stories of arcade games, great drinks and weekly events to get stuck into. 

All machines are cash free, so buy a 5DKK (50p) ‘playcard’, add credits and choose your favourite game, or opt for a three-hour ticket. There’s decent cocktails and a ton of beers, which are divided into levels 1, 2 and 3, depending on price and how experimental you’re feeling (from classic Tuborg and G&T to local craft brews and Punch-out Coladas!). While you won’t have many snack options to choose from (literally just nuts and popcorn), the liquorice-heavy shots list will make you forget all about it. 

Best for: Beers and retro games on a Sunday.

8. Balderdash

If a chef and bartender had a lovechild, it would be Balderdash. Taking a culinary approach to cocktails, owner Geoffrey Canilao and his team seem to abide by the mantra ‘if it tastes good as food it must taste good in a drink’. Using slow-infusion where ingredients are steeped in liquid and heated slowly over a long period of time, Balderdash has managed to incorporate everything from deer heart to baklava into their drinks, as well as making a pizza spray, made from basil and tomato aromas. 

On the side of the bar you’ll find the most hardworking team member, the slushie machine, turning espresso martinis and more into seriously fun slushies. The team here like to put on a bit of a show (yes, they will occasionally set your drinks on fire), and there’s a tucked away backroom and extra downstairs seating for more chilled out drinking. But if you ask me, a seat at the bar is a must the bartenders are a laugh, and they might just make your night. 

Best for: Showstopper drinks and atmosphere.


9. Duck and Cover

If you think beetroot is a bad idea in cocktails, you haven’t been to Duck and Cover. Loved and respected by industry peers, the venue just entered its 10th year of cocktail shenanigans and creativity. Inspired by his grandfather’s living room, owner Kasper Riewe-Høgh chose to fill the venue with Danish design furniture - and the results are true hygge. The cocktails are centred around local and seasonal ingredients, and you’ll be shocked to discover how good celeriac root can taste in a drink. Yes, really. 

The menu caters to all needs, and there is never an off-balance drink to be had. Duck and Cover also played a central role in promoting aquavit (a Scandinavian grain spirit similar to gin, but distilled with cumin or dill), which is the true spirit of the Nordics, but once regarded as a lukewarm shot at lunch. This is one of the best spots to give aquavit a go in the city, either as an A&T (aquavit and tonic) or mixed in a drink. The business is also set to expand next door with an additional venue and production site for naturally fermented canned drinks, but when it will happen and what it will look like is yet to be known.

Best for: Wild cocktails and Danish spirits.

10. Paloma

Inspired by the cafes and laid back lifestyle of the Mediterranean, Paloma aims to be open to locals first and foremost. In fact, this was the main criteria by the former owner when he decided to sell the space, which was then a butcher shop. The current owners turned the site into a day-time cafe and kept their promise. Now, it’s a well-loved, children-friendly Vermouth bar, with a high focus on everything low and no-ABV from mainly local and independent breweries. But don’t fret, there’s plenty of tequila and mezcal if you’re looking for something stronger.

The menu changes monthly with various local craft producers coming and going, but what remains a staple is Paloma’s own house vermouths, infused with things like toasted coconut and coffee. Slightly secluded, Paloma has the vibe of a chilled-out, residential space, with a pretty international clientele. On any given day, it is not unusual to see local parents sitting with a beer and a stroller while older kids tuck into a basket of popcorn. Paloma also stores a changing table with wipes and female sanitary items inside, which is a nice touch, and still pretty rare in Copenhagen. The food menu is decadent but affordable, with things like local sourdough, seafood tins, homemade pickles and hummus. A perfect spot for Sunday Palomas, weekday drinks or afternoon coffee in the sun.

Best for: Family fun, daytime drinking and savoury tapas.


11. Blue Raven

Less known than its big sister Black Swan, Blue Raven is one of Copenhagen’s cosiest craft beer bars. The playlist centres around rock and metal, but the music quiz taking place the last Tuesday of every month will challenge you on everything from 80s pop and hip hop to the latest line up for Copenhell, the city’s annual Rock and Metal festival. Blue Raven is devoted to supporting independent craft brewers, so you’ll only find a curated selection of delicious brews that frequently changes according to season, style or country of focus.

A couple of the taps are dedicated to their in-house cocktails, and there’s a small but decent selection of spirits, including mezcal and local whisky. With three levels and outdoor seating to choose from, the space is ideal for first dates, catching up with friends after work and bigger parties. Blue Raven is also only a short bicycle ride from the beach and on the route of 5A, Copenhagen’s main bus route, which takes you all the way from the northern city suburbs through the city centre, past the Central Station and to the airport. Better book a late return, eh?

Best for: Craft beers, drinks and music quiz.

12. Dispensary

You heard it here first: this is the best place in town for whiskey. Found in Nørrebro between a Turkish eatery and a local hairdresser, Dispensary is often overlooked by locals and bypassers, as there’s not much to indicate that the former pharmacy now houses an absolutely brilliant whiskey and craft beer bar. Dispensary likes to keep it that way, ensuring that the atmosphere is always open and inclusive for date nights, drinking with pals or working at your laptop with a cold one. 

Dispensary tends to have a bigger focus on Scotch and Irish whisky, but with more than 300 bottles, you won’t be short of international and local options. There’s also a carefully curated selection of beers which rotates frequently, making every visit full of surprises (boilermakers, i.e. a pint and a shot of whisky, come in endless combinations). The place is definitely rock ‘n’ roll, but they like a good 80s classic from time to time. Definitely check out their Facebook page before you go: Dispensary hosts some pretty cool movie nights and events.

Best for: Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey. 


13. Slowburn Taproom

Slowburn is a worker-owned, cooperative brewery with a banging selection of craft beers. Founded by Danish-Italian couple Amalie and Stefano, Slowburn has grown exponentially in just a few years, fuelled by the couple's shared passion for great beer. But perhaps its main sell is its collaborations with local eateries, including Michelin-star restaurant Sanchez, where the teams create beers that are complex and crafted to pair well with food. Food selection at the taproom is less extravagant, but savoury nonetheless. There’s tinned fish and cured meats, and you’re likely to only be disappointed if you’re vegan. 

The goal of Slowburn was always to be more than just a brewery. Since moving to a new location, this year, Slowburn finally launched its own taproom that doubles up as an event space. Situated in a former prison just outside Copenhagen, Slowburn is determined to make the space open and inclusive for everyone, including wheelchair users and fluffy best friends. Roughly ten beers are always on tap, with plenty more cans, bottles and alcohol-free beverages available in the fridge. When it comes to events, everything from October Fest and food workshops to art installations and talks on feminist economics are already upcoming in the schedule with plenty more to follow throughout the year.

Best for: Craft beer and community.

14. Peders Craft Beer

A craft beer bar situated in the latin quarter of Inner Copenhagen, Peders tends to slip under the radar, even of locals. A shame (or not, depending on how you look at it), since it is arguably one of the most welcoming and friendly venues the city has to offer. Staff are always keen to share their knowledge, and to be helpful with recommendations regardless of how familiar you are with craft beer. Most of the drops on tap are from Danish microbreweries, but international craft producers also make their way to the list.

Situated in the basement of a nearly 230-year-old building, Peders is consistently cosy AF: the music is never so loud that it drowns out conversation, and the interior is decorated with old vinyls (we’ll say it again: hygge). It’s also near metro stations, restaurants like plant-based Ferment and Nordic Vækst, and some of ‘the sights’, so it’s the perfect place to fold into your day out itinerary.

Best for: Craft beer and local neighbourhood vibes.


15. La Banchina

This is Copenhagen’s ultimate hidden gem for natural wine. Housed in a small gatehouse, this 14-seater walk-in restaurant and café provides rustic sourdough breakfast as well as vegetarian and pescatarian lunch and dinner with an Italian flair. Situated right by the water and with a vast selection of natural wines, beers and coffee to choose from, La Banchina has quickly become a favourite spot for Copenhageners.

During the summer, the restaurant’s tiny boardwalk is the ideal place for taking a dip, tanning semi-nude or enjoying a bottle of wine, plus there’s an on-site sauna that can be used to dry off after a swim or get warm and cosy during the winter season. Sessions last 1 hour and 45 minutes, and can be booked two weeks in advance from 08:00 am until closing time. The best part is that you are free to bring a bottle (or two) along with you inside the sauna, and you can jump straight into the cold ocean when it all gets a bit much.

Best for: The holy trinity of natural wine, sourdough and a sauna, duh.

16. Pulp

Having opened in 2021, Pulp (Parlour Unites Local People) is one of the newer additions to the Copenhagen cocktail scene. Founded in the pandemic, Pulp has quickly grown to become a favourite with locals, bartenders and the likes. The team here are very passionate about what they do, but the vibe is still light and fun; think comic book toilet wallpaper, menu puns and a kitsch collection of teapots and cups - the bartenders often take shots from one of the teacups on display at the bar. 

The actual drinks, however, are very grown up: your shot might be a selected mezcal or a generous pour of Fernet Branca. Sundays are cute here, and especially during the warmer months, the outdoor tables are front row seats to take in Nørrebro.

Best for: Party vibes and tea time cocktails.


17. H.J. Hansen Vine

When you arrive at Kongens Nytorv metro station, the route to get out takes you past the basement of a 130-year-old Magasin Du Nord department store. Instead of exiting to the street, head left up the small escalator and look out for H.J. Hansen. The original shop opened in Odense in 1829, but has since expanded across the country, and is now a go-to name for conventional wine enthusiasts in Copenhagen.

The shop in Magasin might just be the best of the bunch, as it includes a small bar. Here, visitors and shoppers can enjoy a glass of any of the six wines chosen for the day, or pick a bottle from one of the many fridges or shelves. Their local selection is what to look out for, as you’re unlikely to find the same selection in the airport, and the staff also tend to keep a stash of open bottles ready for sampling. There’s a delicatessen and bakery on the same floor, and you’re welcome to pick up bread and snacks and enjoy them alongside your drink at the bar. Heaven. 

Best for: Shopping and sippin’.

18. Tjili Pop

Indie cafe and bar Tjili Pop is popular with locals for a number of reasons, but it’s especially popular with students, as it’s laptop friendly, has decent internet connection and cracking student discounts. But it’s not just students who hang out here the impressive beer collection and homely vibe attracts locals of all ages. Tjili Pop embodies the spirit of Nørrebro, and could just as easily have made its debut in Neukolln, Berlin’s coolest neighbourhood

A more modern type of bodega, Tjili Pop also has a food menu that lands somewhere between pub grub and café, serving both avocado on sourdough rye and the home-made patty burger with fries. The venue hosts live music events where up and coming artists, song writers and everyone in-between get a chance to play their stuff to a crowd. If you’re looking to make friends in Copenhagen or get recommendations for the night out, the friendly vibes at Tjili Pop is a sound place to start.

Best for: Wifi-seekers and students.

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