13 Bars and Clubs to Check Out In Reykjavik
Reykjavik comes alive at night. At the weekend, some of the clubs will stay open until 5:30 am, with people dancing right until kick-out time. But if you’d rather sip a good beer in a cosy booth, there are plenty of great microbars serving local brews to check out too.
This article will tell you about 13 of the most popular bars and clubs to check out in Reykjavik. Whether you want to head to a fabulous drag show or seek out some live jazz, there’s bound to be something you’d like to check on your next trip to Iceland.
1. Kaldi Bar
Kaldi is a lovely bar on Laugavegur street. This is the main shopping street in Reykjavik, with plenty of other bars close by for you to check out around the same time. You’ll be able to try lots of local craft beers and gins, and there’s a piano available which often gets a lovely crowd together enjoying music. The ambience is friendly and laid back, and there are plenty of cosy corners for you to install yourself in and have a good catch up with your friends.
People particularly like the service at Kaldi bar. The bartenders are kind and knowledgeable, and they go out of their way to put you at ease. On Fridays and Saturdays, closing times are around 3 am. The bar is also open on Sundays and Mondays, but Kaldi will close at around 1 am on these days.
2. Skuli Craft Bar
Skuli Craft Bar is another cosy and chilled out spot. It’s quite tucked away, on Aðalstræti, so you probably wouldn’t find it unless you already know it exists!
The bar has 14 beer taps that frequently rotate, so regulars can taste over 130 different types of quality and local beer. This bar is not in the most touristy area, so you’ve got a good chance of meeting some friendly locals while you are there.
There is a food truck in the outside space where you can grab a bite to eat, or you can order some food inside. Many people love that this bar is out of the beaten track and quiet. Some people find the atmosphere a little too chilled out and prefer to be in the more vibrant Laugavegur street.
Skuli closes at 11 pm Sunday to Thursday, and 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bravó bar and restaurant has great community vibes, with a nice balance between tourists and locals. Found on Laugavegur, there is often some live music playing, so don’t hesitate to check out what music events are lined up during your visit.
There is a tiny dance floor, where there is nearly always someone dancing! But it’s more of a bar than a club, with lots of small tables for friends to get around. The venue gets pretty busy around happy hour, and there is a warm welcome for people who look and dress out of the mainstream. (But you don’t have to dress a certain way to be welcome here, of course!)
If you’re missing your canine pal, there’s a good chance you’ll see some local dogs at Bravó! And if that wasn’t enough, the pizzas are tasty, and the beer prices are reasonable.
4. Microbar Reykjavik
Microbar is yet another warm and friendly bar that offers great quality local beers. Are you noticing a theme here? Reykjavik is full of small bars that serve craft beer, so we highly recommend a pub crawl if you’re up for a big night out.
But watch out! Reykjavik Microbar is temporarily closed because they couldn’t extend the lease on their building. They are currently organising a new venue in the city, so make sure you check their official website to see if they’re up and running when you’re in town.
It’s worth including in this list all the same because it racked up some of the most positive reviews for local beer in the whole of Iceland, and many locals are eagerly awaiting for it to reopen.
5. Gamli Gaukurinn
Gamli Gaukurinn is a safe place for all people of all genders and sexualities. In their own words, “we welcome everyone, except for assholes”. They have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism, and homophobia. Bathrooms are all-gender, and they are famous for serving the first legal draft beer after prohibition! There are regular live music events, and drag shows and karaoke are offered a couple of times a month. If you’re looking for a place where you can be yourself in good company, then this is the place for you! You’ll find plenty of vegan food, and the bar staff are very friendly and efficient. Prices are great at happy hour.
You’ll find this wonderful place on Tryggvagta. It closes around 3 am on Friday and Saturday, and 1 am on other days of the week.
6. Pablo Discobar
If you want to go out dancing, then Pablo Discobar is one of the better-known clubs in Reykjavik. If you like eclectic decorations and an explosion of colour, you’re going to be right at home. “So tacky that it’s chic” according to many of its regulars, you can sip on a margarita under a neon flamingo while bopping along to 1970s tunes.
Even though the dress code is officially smart-casual, the bouncers are a bit hit and miss with who they let in according to the dress code. So, to be on the safe side, don’t wear trainers. At the weekend, the club operates an over 25 policy.
Pablo Discobar closes at 3 am on a Friday and Saturday, and 1 am for the rest of the week. You’ll find it on Veltusund.
7. The Smokin Puffin
The Smokin Puffin is a really fun venue near Reykjavik harbour. Honestly, the owner is probably everyone’s favourite thing about this bar! You can hide from the rain and wind with a beer and enjoy playing darts or table football with your friends. But if you aren’t with friends, the kind and welcoming service will make up for it.
People particularly rave about the Choco Puffin drink, so don’t hesitate to order it while you are here. Opening times are typically from 10 am to 10 pm.
8. The Secret Cellar
If dancing isn’t your thing, then you can head to The Secret Cellar comedy club to watch an evening show. It’s the only comedy club in Reykjavik. There is typically an English-speaking show on every night, preceded by a happy hour at 8 pm and followed by karaoke.
The consensus amongst visitors is it’s a nice place to spend an evening and have a laugh. But it’s a small venue, and the performances can be a little hit and miss. You won’t know what to expect until you get there, so just go with the flow and drink plenty of beer!
Húrra is a bar and concert venue near the harbour. It’s also the name of a nearby clothing store, so make sure you’re heading to the right place.
On a Monday, you can enjoy a jazz concert and DJs play at the weekends. Keep an eye on their events because local bands will often play there during the week. The prices are really reasonable for Reykjavik, and Happy Hour continues until 10 pm. This brings in quite a few locals, so prepare to stay up late and have a good dance!
The venue is open until 4:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays, but closes at 1 am on other days of the week.
10. Dillon Whiskey Bar
A good whiskey will help warm you up in the cold Icelandic winters. Dillon Whiskey Bar serves over 150 different types of whiskey, and the bartenders will help you choose the right one for you if you feel a bit lost with all the choices. We highly recommend checking their happy hour because those whiskey cocktails can get expensive in normal times.
Entry to the live music events at this bar is typically free, and it will get pretty crowded (and even rowdy) at the weekends. So if you’re looking for a buzz, this could be a good choice. But if you prefer to chat to your friends in a more relaxed environment, you’d be better off with one of the more chilled out bars like Smokin Puffin or Kaldi.
You’ll find Dillon Whiskey Bar on Laugavegur, and it typically closes around 1 am.
Kaffibarin is a coffee shop by day and dance bar by night. Despite its small dimensions, you get a surprisingly big crowd in at the weekend. The DJs have a good reputation for reading the crowd’s vibes, though the bar staff have had some pretty scathing reviews recently. So if you’re looking for really friendly service, you want to go to Smokin Puffin where pretty much every review raves about the kind and bearded owner who will make you feel right at ease.
If you’re not that fussed about how friendly the staff is and prefer to listen to good music, then Kaffibarin is a good one to check out. Kaffibarin has a preference for no photographs to be taken inside the venue, to respect the privacy of the other patrons. While this is a breath of fresh air in the digital world, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to put your camera away. It’s no wonder they do things a bit old school; this is one of the oldest bars in town!
12. Kiki Queer Bar
Kiki Queer Bar is small, but it still attracts a good crowd. For queer people looking for a safe haven, Gamli Gaukurinn may be the better choice. Although Kiki has generally good reviews, it can get packed with tourists looking for a good time and doesn’t have the same total inclusivity vibes. Honestly, you aren’t likely to meet many queer locals here in high tourist season. But if you’re looking to meet fellow travellers, then you may be very happy here. Drag shows and karaoke are on offer, and they are popular.
Late at night, the whole place will be singing and dancing. So, if you don’t mind being squished up to a lot of strangers as you dance the night away, why not check it out.
13. The Irishman Pub
The Irishman Pub is one of the newer venues in Reykjavik, but it’s got an excellent reputation for a friendly atmosphere and surprisingly long happy hours, from 12 noon to 7 pm most days. There’s a small, private Karaoke room that you can hire for a party, and there is regular live music to enjoy. The booths and beautiful wooden décor make for a cosy evening with a pint of Guinness.
The Irishman is slightly tucked away on Klapparsti
What time do people head out in Reykjavik?
People head out quite late in Reykjavik, with a tendency to pre-drink (or pregame) at home with friends. It’s normal to stay out until 5 am or 6 am at the weekends, so you’re probably going to find that the clubs are pretty dead before 2 am.
Which is the best area for nightlife in Reykjavik?
Laugavegur is one of the busiest streets for bars and clubs in Reykjavik. There are plenty of hidden gems closer to the harbour or off on a side street, but if you’re in any doubt, you’re going to find plenty going on at Laugavegur.
How much does it cost to go out in Reykjavik?
Going out in Iceland is expensive, primarily because of the high taxes on alcohol. You’re easily looking at 2600 ISK (Around 20 dollars) per cocktail outside of happy hour. Most bars and clubs don’t have an entry fee, though. So, if you have a few drinks with your friends in your hotel room and stick to one or two drinks when you’re out, you shouldn’t blow through too much money!
Where to buy alcohol in Reykjavik?
You cannot buy alcohol in the supermarket in Reykjavik. Instead, you must go to the government licensed liquor stores called Vínbúðin. Alcohol is much more affordable at the airport, so don’t hesitate to pick some up at the duty-free on your way into the country.
What times do bars open in Reykjavik?
It depends on the bar! Some will open around noon, but these tend to close earlier in the evening. Most clubs in Reykjavik are small and double as bars or coffee shops earlier in the day, so it’s unlikely that you are going to arrive too early to be let in. (But there is a good chance the dance floor will be dead until the early hours of the morning!)
What time is happy hour in Reykjavik?
Most bars will have happy hour at some point in the day or evening. But it’s up to them when this will be. It’s a good idea to download the app called Appy Hour. This will tell you which bars have reasonable prices when you want to go out, and you can filter it by location to find somewhere close to you. If you don’t aim for happy hours, you could end up spending a bomb.
We hope you found this article helpful. Don’t hesitate to explore the Play Iceland site for more travel tips and some hand-picked tours. We look forward to welcoming you to Iceland soon!