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Himlen
Photograph: Courtesy HimlenHimlen

The 14 absolute best bars in Stockholm

Drinking in Sweden isn't cheap, but you only live once. These are the best bars in Stockholm that you simply must try

Written by
Maddy Savage
&
Madeleine Hyde
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We’re all about the positives here, but sometimes you have to face the elephant in the room head-on. Yes, going out in Stockholm is an expensive business, but this is common knowledge at this point. After all, you pay for what you get, and what you get on a night out in Stockholm is caught up in the excitement of one of Europe’s most magnificent cities.

The medieval cobbled streets and waterfront terraces of Stockholm are home to a litany of beautiful attractions and delicious restaurants, but the Swedish capital more than holds its own when it comes to the party as well. From the central islands to nearby suburbs, finding somewhere for a tipple or three isn’t hard in Stockholm. So yes, it is pricey, but we’d happily pay more to drink with these breathtaking views. The best bars in Stockholm? Let’s go.

Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars.

Best bars in Stockholm

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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 3 of 4

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 the summertime, Stockholm Under the Stars opens up next door with a cinema on Sunday nights, DJ sets and a barbecue menu of contemporary Stockholm favourites like halloumi burgers and sweet potato fries.

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  • Theatre
  • Performing arts space
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
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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 backroom (Ölbaren), tucked behind Häktet’s restaurant and kitchen. There’s also a giant inner courtyard that 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). 

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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. 

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. Closed over the winter. 

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 2 of 4

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.

Judit and Bertil
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • price 1 of 4

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.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 2 of 4

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). Mälarpaviljongen is only open in the summer, obviously, otherwise the punters would be mighty uncomfortable, not to mention cold. 

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 surrounds 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. 

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Indigo
Photograph: Arild VĂ„gen

13. Indigo

A fine 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). 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

Don’t know where to eat in this foodie capital?

The 12 best restaurants in Stockholm
  • Restaurants

Trying traditional Swedish dishes, having ‘fika’ (afternoon tea, but with coffee and cinnamon buns) and splurging on minimalist New Nordic cuisine are high on many a tourist’s list of things to do in Stockholm. But the Swedish capital actually has a lot more to offer than that – here’s why.

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