Paloma Vermuteria.

Paloma Vermuteria.
© Pablo HTG

Copenhagen’s top 5 cocktail bars

In Copenhagen, cocktail culture thrives with an array of unique bars tucked into every nook. Here are five standout spots where exceptional cocktails are served with distinct flair.

The drinking scene in Denmark has always been a little something extra in the capital Copenhagen. With everything from the more traditional pubs and bodegas to the recent trend of natural wine bars and unique cocktail bars popping up on a frequent basis.

The modern cocktail bar scene however does not date back very long ago. What is regarded as the spark igniting the new scene was K-Bar, opened by Kirsten Holm back in 2002. Ever since then the cocktail scene in Copenhagen has been flourishing with new concepts and ideas served in atmospheres designed for different preferences, audiences and moods. No matter if you prefer a low-key cocktail experience or a high-end one there is literally a place for everyone to explore. As a matter of fact, a multitude of them! Who knows, perhaps below you will even find one of your new all-time favourites. Let’s dive into it.

Photo provided

Ruby – The polished diamond

Ruby is not only one of the best cocktail bars in Denmark, it even counts as one of the best in the world when it comes to the 50 Best list of cocktail bars (with an 87’th placement at the time of writing). This Copenhagen gem located next to the canals of Nybrogade has been polished for years, just like their cocktails, since it opened back in 2007.

Set in an old town house from 1740 it was the same location where Det Danske Spiritus was founded in 1882; you could literally say the spirits live not only on the walls at Ruby, but also inside them. And spirits on the wall, you definitely will find. Both in the moody lit inner room styled with Chesterfield furniture to the more Scandinavian styled main bar that greets you at the entrance with, wooden interior and decor together with carrara marble. With a great overall ambience, attention to detail and friendly service, Ruby is a simply must-visit experience while in Copenhagen, and even more so for the masterpieces that are their cocktails.

Nybrogade 10
1203 Copenhagen

Duck & Cover – The one you easily miss

Hiding in a basement location in a quiet street in Vesterbro, Duck & Cover run by bartender Kasper Reiwe Henriksen, is not the cocktail bar you simply stumble upon by mistake. It’s the one you find through research and word of mouth. Even so for bartenders as a place to hang out and unwind when they're not busy mixing cocktails themselves.

Once you do locate Duck & Cover however, and this is by no means a speakeasy bar, enjoy a scandinavian styled interior with a penchant for wood, dark colours, retro furniture and moody ambient lighting. All this with a relaxed and easy-going approach where hours literally can fly by while exploring their selection cocktails. With a rotating cocktail menu based on the season and with ingredients and inspiration from the Scandinavian area, you will never get bored of the cocktail selection at Duck and Cover. But if you by any chance get to try them all out, there is still room for creativity or a classic by demand.

Dannebrogsgade 6
1660 Copenhagen

Curfew – the speakeasy

Do you like speakeasy bars? Then you are simply going to love Curfew! Run by bartender Humberto Saraviva Marque, this prize-awarded spot located in Vesterbro encapsulates the 1920s to 1930s USA prohibition era bars in a new modern day take. Residing in what used to be a bookstore, there is still a flirt with the past when you are about to enter the bar, which is hiding behind a wall of books. Just wait for the signal and the wall will open up to let you enter.

While the interior at Curfew is dark, moody and with a lot of fun details, the ambience is suffused with jazzy tunes, vintage finds such as cocktail shakers and ice grinders and of course immaculate cocktails served either at the table or at the massive bar. When it comes to exploring the menu, there are a lot of choices to be had, inspired by Scandinavia with a dash of Portuguese (due to Humbertos background). Your best bet is simply to let the mixologists know your preferences and deep dive right into it.

Vesterbrogade 20
1620 Copenhagen

Bird – The one with the tunes

Being a small location doesn’t mean you can’t pack a punch. And when it comes to the tiny cocktail bar that goes by the name Bird, nesting in the Frederiksberg area, there are a lot of details to appreciate once you enter the door. From the staff composing drinks while at the same time spinning vinyls with jazzy tunes and occasional electronic beats, to the clean minimalistic presentation of the cocktails where a focus on having pronounced flavour profiles is key. At Bird you will find classic cocktails served in a modern style with a menu rotated on a monthly basis, always with a focus on high quality spirits – all in a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for socializing with friends or perhaps even a date.

Love their cocktails as much as we do? Why don’t you grab one under your wing and let them fly back home with you! In their shop you can buy a select range of pre-made cocktails they have mixed up in bottles for your convenience.

Bird, is literally, the word.

Gl. Kongevej 102
1850 Frederiksberg

Balderdash – The one with hygge

Run by mixologist Geoffrey Canilao together with his attentive and friendly line-up of bartenders, Balderdash has one primary focus each and every evening – serving whimsical but innovative classic cocktails and a hyggelig atmosphere, as they say themselves. And Hygge it is, even so much so that you will find keep it hygge printed on top of the coaster resting under your cocktail.

At Balderdash, you can expect both the classics and nothing but. Balderdash lines up everything from a signature Slush Ice Espresso Martini with bacon salt to even more experimental ones with for example reindeer heart. In the end it’s simply up to you how bold you desire to be when choosing from the menu, one that’s changing on a constant basis. Even so often that you will have to scan a QR code on your phone to find the latest ones offered for the evening.

Expect a warm and welcoming atmosphere with lots of fun, laughs and perhaps even some wild fire shows going on from the bar. This is a prime example of excellent hospitality where even the team will remember your name from the second you arrive, making the solo cocktail explorer feel right at home and as a regular from day one.

Valkendorfsgade 11
1151 Copenhagen

Want to squeeze in one more? Here’s a last wild card to add on the list.

Paloma Vermuteria – The one for the Vermut-lovers 

What used to be primarily a café back in the days has more recently turned into a no-fuss vermuteria that draws a wide audience from it’s previous past.  This is the place where you will be able to sip a few glasses of vermut with your friends while people at the same time bring their kids to have a cup of coffee next to you. The prices are more than reasonable for around 60-65 DKK for a glass of vermut, such as their house, coffee and coconut vermut. Already tried them all? Just ask, they've got more stuff behind the bar and much the same goes for their cocktails section.  There are also wines, craft beers and easy going dishes to order for snacking on with your drinks.

Paloma Vermuteria is simply a relaxed, down to earth, atmosphere hiding in the side streets of Nørrebro. This hidden gem on the scene adds a dash of relaxed bar experience while also being a must-visit spot for all the Vermut aficionados out there.

Guldbergsgade 51A
2200 København

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Pierre Orsander
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