Copenhagen city guide

Forget the mermaid - you're here for beer

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PUBS & BARS:

LIDKOEB (Whisky and Cocktails)

Lidkoeb is located in a beautiful three-story building in a courtyard just off Copenhagen's famous Vesterbrogade. The house was built in 1886 by pharmacist H.P. Madsen, and for more than 100 years housed the production facility of Vesterbro pharmacy. The entire third floor is now a whisky connoisseur’s cave, though this is currently only open at the weekends. 

PHOTO: Lidkoeb

BALDERDASH (Cocktails)

Balderdash is a cosy cocktail bar nestled in the centre of the oldest neighbourhood in Copenhagen, serving whimsical but innovative classic cocktails with a ‘hyggelig’ (the celebrated Danish term, without English translation, for cosiness) atmosphere. The history goes that in 1732 a Jewish goldsmith migrated to Copenhagen and, since he needed a home and a place to work, built a beautiful house in the centre of the city. Since then, a motley crew of Copenhageners have called Valkendorfsgade nr. 11 home; from tailors, to shoemakers to barbers. Today, the building is home to Balderdash, serving modern cocktails, Danish delicacies and delectable beers to thirsty Copenhageners and visitors alike.

PHOTO: Balderdash

BRUS (Brewpub)

BRUS is a legendary brewery, bar, bottle shop and restaurant in Nørrebro, where To Øl originally started its brewing adventures. In an old iron foundry and locomotive factory in Copenhagen, BRUS made the engines start running again. Brand new brewing facilities, speciality products, bar buzz and a kitchen team led by former Michelin starred chef Christian Gadient is breathing new life into the old warehouse; a 750m2 raw building with activities ranging from brewing and kegging to cooking, shopping, dining and drinking. 

PHOTO: BRUS

WHERE TO EAT:

FLEISCH (Meat) 

To say the menu at Fleisch is simple, would be to do it an injustice; fresh, locally sourced meat features in every corner of the menu; all without frills but bursting with flavour. Its interior possesses all the character you would expect of a restaurant in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking district; rustic furniture tastefully clashes with white tiles that cover the walls and call to mind the interior of the butcher’s shop it once was. For a casual £47 or thereabouts, you can book a full five course butcher’s menu meal here, or add wine pairings for a £30 addition (Danish Kr equivalent, obviously).

PHOTO: Fleisch

FISKEBAREN (Fish)

Now an impressive thirteen years old, Fiskebaren is the perfect destination for those who value high quality, omnivorous dining, but are less enthralled with the idea of meat. No sooner had Fiskebaren opened its doors, back in 2009, than the restaurant was awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide Nordic Countries, for its “good quality, good value” cooking. It’s been awarded a new Bib Gourmand every year since. If this wasn’t enough of a selling point, the restaurant’s captain and co-founder, Anders Selmer, carries with him years of experience working as a manager and sommelier at the world-famous Noma. In terms of what features on the menu itself, Fiskebaren has got you covered from mouthfuls of cod roe to sea urchin, turbot, monkfish, lobster and a variety of oysters.

PHOTO: Fiskebaren

GAZA GRILL (Vegan)

With the emphasis on quality meat and cheese being such an integral part of cuisine in Copenhagen, you may be hard pressed to find a restaurant that exclusively caters to vegans. Gaza Grill, however, takes an interesting approach to plant based cooking - one that the ethical vegan would be hard pressed to argue with. This restaurant specialises in Palestinian cuisine so is bursting with Middle Eastern flavours. The menu doesn’t cut out meat and cheese completely, but actively encourages diners to try something from the vegan menu. All dishes containing meat and other animal products come with the guarantee that the animal’s welfare was prioritised and maintained during its life. Everything is 90-100% organic, local, traditional, home-made and freshly made as much as possible; they even use sustainable Danish flour from the rolling mill to make their bread. 

PHOTO: Gaza Grill

WHAT TO DO IN COPENHAGEN:

GLYPTOTEK

We’ve all seen photos of Copenhagen’s iconic Little Mermaid statue in Langelinie, but if time or energy prevents you from visiting the outskirts of the city, you can take in Carl Jacobsen’s imprint on the city of Copenhagen by visiting the Glyptotek; a gallery and museum that houses a world class collection of art, architecture, artefacts and antiques from all corners of the world, some of which date back 6,000 years. The museum’s full name, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, nods in the direction of Jacobsen’s brewing empire, marking him not only as the father of Carlsberg beer, but the single greatest collector of art Denmark has ever seen. The collection includes but is not limited to Danish and French art and sculpture, Greek and Roman sculpture, and artefacts from Egypt and the Ancient Mediterranean.

PHOTO: Glyptotek

BIKE TOURS

Come 2023, Copenhagen will assume the title of UNESCO World Capital of Architecture, an honour only afforded to cities whose urban planning, architecture and emphasis on sustainability shaped the identity of its residents, and influences the attitudes of those who visit. Copenhagen is a famously bike-friendly city with cycle paths covering its centre, free city bike rental schemes, and marked routes through green and scenic parts of the urban landscape making cycling an activity that visitors and residents can partake in at their leisure. If you’re interested in exploring the city by bike, tour companies like beCopenhagen are currently running Urbanism & Architecture Bike Tours in celebrations of the city’s soon-to-be-title of UNESCO World Capital of Architecture. 

PHOTO: Bike tours © Febiyan

ROSENBORG CASTLE 

Built in 1606/07 as a summerhouse by order of King Christian IV, Rosenborg Castle now houses the Danish crown jewels and other precious objects, gathered over 400 years as symbols of Danish power and prominence. Ordinarily such opulence would be a little too fancy, even for our tastes, but with the Rosenborg Wine Collection housing enough wine to (at the present rate of annual consumption) last another 

300 years, we had to include Rosenborg Castle in our list of must-see destinations in Copenhagen. The wine was traditionally stored in wooden wine barrels, the oldest of which from 1598, 1599 and 1615, once belonged to King Christian IV’s mother. The barrels have been stolen by Swedes and recaptured by Danes, transported between Copenhagen Castle and Rosenborg for safekeeping, and, over several hundred years, topped up with other sugar-free wine to ensure new wine came to have the character of the old. It was only transferred to bottles and tanks in 1982 - due to the barrels’ decay.

PHOTO: Rosenborg Castle © Javier Rincon

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