Stockholm’s nocturnal tapestry is a vibrant melange of eclectic bars. As the city’s skyline is painted with twilight hues, venues of every persuasion beckon. Whether your penchant is for meticulously crafted cocktails, aromatic wines, robust ales or intriguing brews, this city caters to all. This isn’t merely a list; it’s a journey across bars of every kind, capturing the essence of Stockholm’s diverse drink culture. As each establishment opens its doors, stories of passion, tradition and innovation unfold. Dive into our curated selection and raise a glass to the multifaceted world of Stockholm’s best bars. Skål!
Stockholm’s distinctive bar culture didn’t emerge overnight. Rooted in its history, societal norms and even governmental policies, the city’s bar scene has grown in response to an interplay of diverse factors. But how did Stockholm evolve into the bar haven it is today?
Historically, Sweden’s relationship with alcohol has been multifaceted, which has, in many ways, shaped the contemporary drinking scene. The nation’s past bouts with heavy drinking led to strict alcohol policies, exemplified by Systembolaget, a government-owned chain of liquor stores with a monopoly on sales of drinks above 3.5% ABV. These limitations prompted bars in Stockholm to be inventive, ensuring that their offerings were both unique and high-quality to attract discerning patrons.
Over the decades, as societal perspectives towards drinking have evolved, Stockholm’s bars have transitioned from simple drinking venues to places of social congregation and experience. The emergence of hybrid establishments, which serve as cafes or restaurants by day and transform into lively bars by night, attests to this evolution. Such venues epitomise Stockholm’s knack for blending functionality with pleasure.
Swedes, especially those in Stockholm, tend to favour quality over quantity. As a visitor, it’s not uncommon to find locals engrossed in animated conversations over carefully crafted cocktails or meticulously brewed craft beers. The craft beer movement, in particular, has seen a surge in Stockholm, reflecting the city’s and its people’s appreciation for artisanal, locally-produced beverages.
Timing is essential to understanding when Swedes typically frequent bars. While weekends are predictably popular, many Stockholmers also enjoy after-work drinks, locally termed ‘After Work’ or ‘AW’, which start as early as 16:00 on weekdays. This ritual is a way for locals to unwind, socialise and transition from work mode, often done over shared platters and discounted drinks.
Situated in the cellar of a downtown 20th-century building, Lucy’s Flower Shop epitomises Stockholm’s allure. A cocktail hotspot, it dominates the city’s cocktail landscape. With its lavish purple and red hues and meticulously designed illumination, it evokes scenes from vintage espionage tales. Under the watchful eye of Bar Manager Linn Sterling, patrons experience discreet yet prompt service. The drinks, crafted with no more than four ingredients, promise an unexpected synergy. The Vodka Soda stands out, revealing unexpected depths upon tasting. Meanwhile, the Rye & Apple, with its complex sweet, sour and spicy notes, aspires to become a contemporary classic.
Photography courtesy of Tjoget
In the urban core of Stockholm stands Röda Huset (‘the red house’ in English), an eye-catching tri-level establishment donning its namesake hue. At the helm of the bar is the distinguished Hampus Thunholm, whose ingredient-driven cocktails are a tribute to Swedish gems, from luscious elderberries to ripe plums. The Carrot cocktail seamlessly blends akvavit with cold-pressed carrots, while Frozen Herbs is a refreshing concoction of gin, tonic and herbs. Yet, the true marvel is Kolagräs. Deceptively simple with its minimalist appearance, it combines Absolut Elyx infused with bisongrass, Galliano and sweet woodruff with cream, offset by tart Swedish green apples. The result? A crystal-clear cocktail evoking the taste of a sweet-sour apple pie drizzled in vanilla sauce. Its reputation is no hyperbole; within a year of its introduction, Kolagräs has achieved cult status, offering one of the most unique drinking experiences.
Photography courtesy of Tak Bar
Photography courtesy of Petter Bäcklund, Fredrik Rollman and Brännerian
Cadierbaren, housed within Grand Hôtel, is a harmonious blend of Swedish charm and French sophistication. Established by the visionary Frenchman, Régis Cadier, its legacy is a fusion of Parisian grandeur with Stockholm’s spirit. Chief mixologist Anton Windmar orchestrates a symphony of flavours, from the zesty Whiplash infused with Eminente rum and champagne, to the entrancing Starry Night that pays homage to Van Gogh’s masterpiece. Each sip tells a tale, reflecting the hotel’s rich tapestry of influences. With an ambience heightened by its evocative decor, Cadierbaren epitomises the art of fine drinking in a setting of timeless elegance.
Photography courtesy of Marks Salman and Cadierbaren
Riche Fenix, the dynamic sibling of century-old Riche, lights up Södermalm’s scene. Positioned in Stockholm’s vibrant quarter once tagged as a seventeenth-century slum, Riche Fenix is the brainchild of Matilda Jackson, PG Nilsson’s heir, redefining hip urban bars. With tantalising finger-foods like caviar-topped steak tartare on waffles crafted by Chef William Carlström, the place hums with style. The drink to sip? The fiery Habanera Margarita. A canvas of contemporary art and a clientele epitomising city chic, this spot merges history with innovation, making it a magnet for the modish of Stockholm.
Read the full article on Riche Fenix.
Since 1859, Södra Teatern in Mosebacke has epitomised Stockholm’s nightlife. Today, it’s a multifaceted haven for drink enthusiasts. The illustrious Södra Bar, adorned with opulent chandeliers, is not just a space but an experience, offering an array of beverages fit for eclectic tastes. Adjacently, Kristallen presents a more intimate setting, ideal for sipping curated cocktails whilst overlooking Stockholm’s Old Town. For those seeking elevation, the seventh-floor champagne bar offers effervescent selections complemented by panoramic views. Summertime sees the bustling Mosebacke beer garden, drawing in locals with its wide beer variety. Each space in Södra Teatern promises a unique drink-centric encounter.
Photography courtesy of Erlands
Photography courtesy of Niklas Nyman and Coquetel Social
Ascend to Bank Hotel’s apex and discover Le Hibou, an elegant cocktail haven offering sweeping views over Stockholm’s lush Djurgården and sparkling Nybroviken. Inside, the ambience mirrors an opulent Parisian flat, with handcrafted wooden panels, muted tones, and plush seating bathed in bespoke lighting. The terrace wraps the space, revealing unmatched vistas of Strandvägen rooftops. Expert mixologists artfully curate an array of cocktails, with an impressive range of alcohol-free concoctions, including a unique non-alcoholic spirit that reimagines classic drinks. Fun fact: Le Hibou translates to ’owl’ in French, a nod to the owl motif in Bank Hotel’s emblem, a legacy from its banking days. Just take the lift – no reservations needed.
At Gemla Vinbar, craftsmanship meets sustainability, echoing respect for the Earth and the environment. Anchored in tradition, Swedish brand Gemla’s furniture is forged from certified wood, natural fillings, wool, and vegetable-tanned leather. Handcrafted wines, cultivated in pesticide-free vineyards, dominate the menu, each bottle reflecting its origin, free of additives. This wine bar, an anticipated venture by sommelier Anna Mellfors, boasts an aesthetic of Nordic industrial chic – airy spaces, sleek wooden furnishings and expansive windows. The dishes, crafted from seasonal local produce, complement the wine impeccably. Signature pairing? Try the Greek orange wine, Savatiano Black Label, with buttered anchovies and sourdough.
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