When thinking about the best bars in Stockholm, locals often split the city into three parts, with Södermalm in the south offering more creative venues, central areas including Östermalm putting forward fancier locales and the Old Town (Gamla Stan) sandwiched in the middle, known as a hotbed of tourist traps (check out our top travel tips to avoid more of these). As our list of hotspots suggests, the reality is more nuanced, and since Stockholm is such a compact city, you can easily hop between the best bars and restaurants in different neighbourhoods on a single night out, either on foot or by going a few stops on the subway.
Stockholmers adore spending time outdoors and many of our favourite venues spill out onto the city’s cobbled streets and waterfront terraces the moment the snow melts in springtime. While some spots have heaters, you’ll be able to make the most of the eye-catching views scattered with fabulous attractions regardless if you’ve remembered your gloves and a warm scarf. Of course, the alcohol will help warm you up too, although thanks to Sweden’s high taxes it will also burn a hole in your wallet.
Best bars in Stockholm
This sophisticated venue inside a former eighteenth century prison offers inventive seasonal cocktails in the main bar area, while artisanal locally-sourced beers are the top draw in the more industrial buzzing back room (Ölbaren), tucked behind Häktet’s restaurant and kitchen areas. There’s also a giant inner courtyard which comes to life during warmer months. A separate, sporadically-open vintage-clad Speakeasy (Häktet Vänster) is accessible via an unmarked door. It keeps among the latest hours in the neighbourhood, open until 3am Thursday to Saturday.
This jetty bar is packed with blooming plants and flowers, string lights popping with primary colours and an unpretentious gay-friendly crowd. Floating on the water next to one of the city’s most stunning tree-lined footpaths, Norr Mälarstrand, Mälarpaviljongen also boasts incredible views towards Södermalm island (ook out for the iconic red-brick former brewery, Munchenbryggeriet).
You probably won’t be able to nap on the giant double bed or homey sofas inside Laika, a loud industrial-vintage venue with a focus on live acts and DJs. Offering everything from techno and indie to spoken word and stand-up comedy, it’s one of creative Södermalm’s most sociable spots, pulling in twenty and thirty-somethings from across the capital.
Cosy nostalgia envelopes this intimate spot named after it’s owner’s grandparents, who lived in the bar’s formerly working class neighbourhood, Hornstull, back in the 1930s. Their names beam out from art deco neon lights on the building’s facade, while inside you’ll find the food and drink menu crafted from magnetic white letters stuck on a retro black letter board.
Tak's skybar interior is an impressive combination of Swedish and Japanese minimalism dipped in a layer of opulence; its pièce de résistance is its outdoor terrace, the largest in the city and one which boasts 14th floor views that include Stockholm’s impressive City Hall, the iconic Gröna Lund theme park and the Royal Palace. The bar’s specialty beverages have a Eurasian twist, with cocktails designed by acclaimed local mixologist Charlotte Halzius. A place to see and be seen, this is one of the few spots in Stockholm where it feels almost compulsory to get your best glad rags on.
Overlooking the cobblestones of Stortorget, Stockholm’s oldest square, this polished craft cocktail bar was once home to the city’s first pharmacy. In a nod to its medieval roots, the dark wooden walls are designed to look like a pantry of medicine drawers, each labelled with Latin words for traditional apothecary ingredients.
An unassuming 1960s former office block (that’s also currently home to student accommodation and a shopping centre) is the somewhat improbable location for one of Stockholm’s best-loved high-altitude drinking spots. Himlen is on the 26th floor of a skyscraper slap-bang in the middle of the artsy Södermalm district.
A staple of Stockholm’s nightlife scene, this buttercup-yellow theatre has been around since the 1800s and is now home to a complex of buzzing bars apt for different occasions. For the very best views, head up to the champagne sky bar and terrace on the seventh floor. During summertime, Södra Teatern also opens up a giant beer garden, Mosebacke, with space for 1,000 people. It’s teeming with modish young Stockholmers between April and September.
Glowing pastel-coloured neon signs, exposed giant silver pipes and walls lined with chaffed white square tiles set the tone for this industrial-chic bar. Located in the on-trend Mariatorget district—packed with art galleries, thrift shops and up-and-coming Scandinavian fashion labels—it draws in edgy locals as well as creative types priced out of this increasingly gentrified former working class heartland.
Swedes have a penchant for hotel bars and The Grand Hotel is, as its name suggests, a classic high-end choice for those after a decadent tipple. It’s a waterfront landmark, looking out towards Stockholm’s Royal Palace, so grab the perfectly-plumped oversized sofas by the windows in the light and airy front lounge section to get the best view.