From medieval cobbled streets to picnic-blanketed park corners and waterfront terraces, Stockholm’s nightlife moves outdoors as the sun comes out and lakes defrost. The range of drinking holes in the Swedish capital is carved up by its island structure: Södermalm is the social epicentre for many locals, while Östermalm’s champagne and seafood bars attract Stockholm’s sort-of rich and famous. And on Gamla Stan, the Old Town island opposite the central station, there’s a host of tourist traps, but for a few little-known side-street gems.
Our list covers bars in Stockholm stretching from the central islands to nearby suburbs, but this compact and well-connected city lends itself to hopping easily between them by boat, footbridge or train, as our public transport guide explains. Be wary, though: with some of Europe’s highest alcohol taxes here, drinking in Stockholm get pretty expensive after a couple of craft pints. But then again, when you can tipple in the company of those breathtaking views, who’s to complain?
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Best bars in Stockholm
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 offers incredible views over Södermalm island (look out for iconic red-brick former brewery Münchenbryggeriet).
Tak’s sky bar interior is an impressive combination of Swedish and Japanese minimalism dipped in a layer of opulence. Its outdoor terrace, the largest in the city, boasts 14th-floor views over Stockholm’s City Hall, the Gröna Lund theme park and the Royal Palace. In summertime, Stockholm Under the Stars opens up next door with cinema on Sunday nights, DJ sets and a barbecue menu of contemporary Stockholm favourites like halloumi burgers and sweet potato fries.
As well as ice hockey and shuffleboard, Swedes love a game of boule, which will get your muscles moving on a mild, long Stockholm summer’s night. Most of Boulebar’s locations in the Swedish capital come with a waterside view, opening up just as spring lumbers into summer. Boulebar Rålambshov, tucked in a corner of the park of the same name, looks out from Kungsholmen island onto Lake Mälaren. The staff serve up excellent French food while you wait for an available pitch.
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 best views, head up to the champagne sky bar and terrace on the seventh floor. During summer, Södra Teatern also opens up a giant beer garden, Mosebacketerrassen, with space for 1,000. In the theatre itself, you’ll find a range of events from indie concerts to champagne jazz brunches on Sundays.
Award-winning local brewers Omnipollo made their name with Omnipollos Hatt, whose craft beers and artisan pizza have proven a Södermalm hit. Now drinkers are flocking to their summer outpost Flora, which has created a buzzing corner in the otherwise serene Humlegården, opulent Östermalm’s central green space. This address swaps pizza for burgers, fries and beer ice cream, and serves some of their best-loved craft brews, plus seasonal renditions like mango lassi and tropical pale ales.
This sophisticated venue inside an 18th-century prison building offers inventive seasonal cocktails in the main bar area, while local artisanal beers are the top draw in the more industrial back room (Ölbaren), tucked behind Häktet’s restaurant and kitchen. There’s also a giant inner courtyard which comes to life during the warmer months. A separate, sporadically-open vintage-clad speakeasy (Häktet Vänster) is accessible via an unmarked door. It’s one of few places open until 3am (from Thursday to Saturday).
In a particularly buzzing area of Södermalm you’ll find Katarina Bangata, a lush pedestrianised avenue that cuts diagonally through SoFo (the area ‘south of Folkungagatan’). One of a cluster of tip-top bars along the strip, ‘nano-restaurant’ Katarina Ölkafé stands out for its excellent Swedish take on North American grub, from vegan kimchi sandwiches to mini Philly cheesesteaks, and a very extensive craft beer selection.
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 envelops this intimate spot named after its 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 façade, while inside you’ll find the food and drink menu crafted from magnetic white letters stuck on a retro black letter board.
Overlooking the cobbles 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.
A recent addition to Götgatan, Södermalm’s high street, the small, smart and colourful Indigo keeps it simple with a select menu of both local and imported ales, ciders, cocktails and tapas-style bar snacks. The laid-back atmosphere, helped along by a lilting Swedish indie pop soundtrack, can be taken outside in the sunnier months (and hopefully last long into those light summer evenings).
An unassuming 1960s former office block (which also contains 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 artsy Södermalm.
A 15-minute metro from Stockholm’s central station, Telefonplan is an increasingly popular neighbourhood that’s also home to Sweden’s largest design college, Konstfack. A flurry of gorgeous Swedish cottages surround its brutalist centre, where you’ll find this laid-back drinking hole. Upstairs, Landet hosts gigs and open-mic poetry nights (sometimes in English), while downstairs has a Nordic-global fusion menu that takes in everything from mussels to sesame-fried tofu. Drinks are an international selection of wines and beer.
Pastel-hued neon signs, giant exposed silver pipes and walls lined with white square tiles set the tone at this industrial-chic bar. Tucked away in the on-trend Mariatorget district – packed with art galleries, vintage shops and up-and-coming fashion labels – it draws a predictable mix of edgy locals and creative types from across the city.