A Gent’s Weekend Guide to Copenhagen
As much as we love our wonderful town of Northampton, a true gent is well travelled. It was Saint Augustine who said “the World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Well if that is the case, then we want to read every volume possible. Travelling opens up new worlds, introduces us to new experiences and shows us different cultures. But true travelling requires you to tread off the beaten path and to find the true aspects of a place that make it unique. Just as it is the small, hidden gems of Northampton that really form what is wonderful about it, each town and city each has it’s own hidden gems.
That is where we come in. This is going to be the first of our weekend guides away to give you an idea of what you could do in the space of 72 hours and we thought of no better place to start off with than the wonderful capital of Denmark, Copenhagen. Soaked in Scandinavian cool, our guide is aimed at keeping you busy from the second you land.
The Gent’s Guide to Copenhagen
Return flights to Copenhagen are available on easyjet at low prices if booked relatively early in advance and fly from a range of London airports including London Gatwick, Luton and Stansted.
Gent tip: Ensure to book a early flight on the Friday and book a late return on the Sunday to maximise the amount of time of time you have to take in the city.
Where to stay?
You’ve found the flights so time to answer the next question; where are you going to stay? One answer springs to our mind; Vesterbro. Formerly Copenhagen’s red light district, Vesterbro has undergone a complete change and is now one of the most sophisticated and modern areas of the city. Close to central station, the district is full of niche shops, cool coffee shops and cobbled streets and is a great base for a weekend of exploring and fun.
Gent tip: Do not just look at hotels in the area; there are some brilliant and affordable apartments that can be rented for the weekend that provide far more space and facilities.
A direct train (the København H) is available from Kastrup Airport to Copenhagen Central Station which takes 15 minutes and costs around £3.00.
Whilst Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, it is also a very small capital city. This means that a plethora of wonders are all within walking distance and for those gems further away, the bus and train systems are extremely easy to use and great value for money.Taxi drivers are another alternative, however taxi drivers at the airport and the central station will often refuse to take you to your destination if they do not feel the fare is high enough.
It is the first day in a strange, new land. You have just arrived into Copenhagen early Friday and you have the day ahead of you, ready to begin the adventure. What you need now is something to fill the daytime before a night of Scandinavian partying.
Daytime: Vesterbro & Carlsberg
Our first suggestion is to get a lay of the land. Vesterbro is known for its cool bars, restaurants, shops and cafes and was known for being a seedier area of the city in the past.
Area known for:
- Shopping (Small, niche designer stores)
- Cafes (Artisan, gourmet coffees and traditional Danish snacks and food)
- Bars (A variety of cocktail bars, wine bars and relaxed bars)
- Restaurants (Traditional Danish cuisine as well as mixture of world cuisine)
Værnedamsvej is one of Copenhagen’s most wonderful streets and a major one for foodies and those looking to enjoy the finer aspects of Danish life.
Places of distinction:
Falernum (no 16) : wine bar and tapas
Les Trois Cochons (no 10) : restaurant
Playtype (no. 6) : concept shop
Central hotel and cafe (no. 5) : a local institution and one of the best cafes in Vesterbro. Worthy of particular mention is their “sweet breakfast platter” (£10) with cinnamon toast & tea or the famous pancake breakfast (45DKK/£5)
Viktoriagade is home to Mikkeller and friends. Now gents, by now we are sure you are aware have a weakness for a fine craft beer and therefore, Mikkeller and friends is one spot we feel the need to rave about. The pub has turned the area into a trendy spot for craft beer and interesting food. If you visit Copenhagen then Mikkeller is a must.
Mikkeller : The world famous Mikkeller craft beer pub with 15 different beers on tap from the world’s best breweries, as well as cheese, snacks and a fabulous specialized beer bottle selection in Viktoriagade.
Øl & Brød : They specialise in traditional Smørrebrød, the Danish open faced rye bread sandwich with a modern touch, using interesting ingredients and new techniques. Øl & Brød, which literally means “beer & bread”, offers beer pairings to all dishes and is the perfect place for lunch and is next door to the ultra hip Mikkeller.
Istedgade, 1650 København
Just off from Viktoriagade is Istedgade. For those in the group looking to pick up the coolest and most obscure designer gear, this street is a veritable paradise. Unique and lively, Istedgade for years was overrun with porn, drugs and prostitution but has now evolved into a haven of cafes, shops and bars. It is Vesterbro’s shopping artery and has little gems on many of the little side streets off it as well.
It’s also worth exploring off the main road for little gem. Sort Kaffe & Vinyl (Skydebanegade 4) sells vintage and new records in a shop that doubles as a café.
Kyoto : Launched in 2001, Kyoto resides on Istedgade and is geared up towards selling exclusive brands and selections to men. Obscure and unique brands for men include Red Wing, Selected Homme and Rascals.
Kaffe & Vinyl : Is it a cafe? Is it a vinyl store? Well it is a hybrid. Selling vintage records as well as new records, as well as serving high quality, gourmet coffee makes for an interesting and cool place to sit and people watch.
Vesterbro’s Original Burger Restaurant : Gents, you know we are burger addicts. There quite literally is nothing better than a good burger in this world, so when the opportunity for an amazing burger makes itself known, it would be rude not to include it in this plan and inform you about Vesterbro’s Original Burger restaurant. Step aside Honest Burger and Byron. The restaurant is located on the first floor and serves 10 different types of burgers, including the strong one with homemade chilli relish and cheddar and the ‘almighty’; 400 gram steak, fried onions, fried egg, bacon and cheddar.
As important, downstairs from the restaurant is a basement bar, Die Strafbar. During weekend, drinks and home brewed brewskis are served as DJ’s play the night away!
Gent tip: If you like your burgers, be sure to go. We had ‘The Popular One’ and can say the burger is named this for a reason!
OK gentlemen of Northampton, we hear the skepticism at our suggestion. “Why do we want to visit a Carlsberg factory, we have our own in Northampton?” Well, this Carlsberg factory is a little different. Firstly, because this former factory is now a museum that was essential into making Copenhagen the city it is today. Secondly, Carlsberg’s craft beer operations are located here and these beers are only available in Scandinavia. Thirdly, the beer tasting is bot educational and delicious. We could carry on but it would just simply be a lot easier if you went.
Carlsberg Breweries A/S, Ny Carlsberg Vej 100, 1799 Copenhagen V
Carlsberg Microcity : As far as museums go, this is not one of the best in the world, however what is being done with the space is extremely interesting. Carlsberg’s enormous former brewing plant is being turned into a “microcity”, made up of the Carslberg museum, a few bars, a restaurant, a pop-up market and their urban beach.
Gent tip: Do both the brewery tour and the beer tasting; both are extremely interesting and great value for money.
Evening & Nightlife: The Meatpacking District: Kodbyen
Friday nights in Copenhagen are special. After spending the day exploring Vesterbro and the Carlsberg tour, take some downtime, relax, get suited and booted and prepare for the evening ahead in the world famous meatpacking district.
Gent tip: Be sure to book a table at any of the below restaurants either early Friday or even earlier in the week due to the areas popularity. A early evening meal at around 7pm allows you the luxury of taking your time to enjoy your meal, then try out some of the great bars before heading off to clubs.
Flæsketorvet 22, 1711 København V
What is the meatpacking district? A little trivia gentlemen. The Meatpacking District, called Kodbyen, which translates literally into ‘Meat City’ is made up of three districts; White meat city, Brown meat city and Grey meat city. It is one of the only authentic meatpacking districts left in the world and in the daytime you will see butchers busily at work. However, the Danes have also turned this area into one of the trendiest part of Copenhagen, with creatives working there, numerous galleries and the hippest bars and clubs all under the massive roof.
KUL : KUL is one of the trendiest restaurants to open in the Meatpacking District. All dishes are prepared on the grill and the cuisine is multinational. The restaurants concept is to take gourmet cuisine and make it accessible to all at a lower price with it’s ultra sleek, dark interior. The menu operates a range of sharing dishes and smaller starts so you create your own meal. The restaurant also does great cocktails and has a good range of beer and wine. Be sure to book early if you choose to go.
Mother : This Italian restaurant in the meatpacking district is the perfect ‘meal-before-partying’ spot, and is a hangout for locals wanting great Italian food. The pizza is created from the restaurant’s own delicious sourdough whilst the pasta dishes and bruschettas are all very tasty. The food is very reasonably priced and all authentic Italian cuisine made by Mother’s Italian-born chef.
Bars & Bodegas
Kodbyen boasts a bar, cocktail room and bodega around every corner. What this means is you can play this by ear and use your own judgement to decide which places look the best to frequent. That being said, here are some destinations of particular mention which are worth checking out.
Mesteren & Lærlingen : One of the oldest bodegas that the Meatpacking District has to offer, this bar offers cheap drinks, a relaxed atmosphere and great music, with an eclectic mix ranging from electronica to hip hop. The crowd is completely mixed – a combination of butchers who have just finished working from the day to locals and students preparing for a big night out. Also, it’s one of the only places that allows cigarettes to be smoked both inside and outside – this can be both a plus or negative for some.
Jolene Bar : A bar that could very easily be picked up and dropped in Shoreditch; Jolene bar is a hipster paradise. Expect very loud music and whatever you do, do not expect cocktails. They make it clear that they are not a cocktail bar and very proud of it. Expect beer from the bottle, shabby, industrial chic decor and DJs playing the loudest music in Kodbyen.
So to end the first day in Copenhagen, why not try out Copenhagen’s clubbing scene and partying the night away until the early hours. Kodbyen has 2 amazing clubs which are worth popping into.
Gent tip: “Will we get in to these places wearing jeans, tshirts and trainers?” Disregard such a sentence; the Meatpacking District is surrounded with cool, trendy hipster types. Trousers and shirts is the wrong look. Think hipster. Think skinny jeans. Think long t-shirts.
KB3 : KB3 is Copenhagen’s giant nightclub. It is 850 m2 and has a 13 metre long bar, with a capacity of 800 people and an entrance price of 60DKK (about £6). Great music, great space and good times guaranteed, with the club having recently undergone a complete refurbishment.
Bakken Kbh : Bakken is the oldest and most famous of the clubs in the Meatpacking District. How famous? Well, when VICE, the hipster music magazine/bible hold their parties in Denmark, they hold it at Bakken. Amazing music into the early hours, reasonably priced drinks and a brilliant crowd ensure that Bakken is an awesome night out.
Let us pray that your hangovers are not too bad, as another fun filled day awaits.
Daytime: Visit Christiania and Tivoli Gardens
The first day consisted of exploring Vesterbro, the previously run down, seedy area of Copenhagen now known for being cool, hip and trendy. Copenhagen’s Shoreditch if you will. On the Saturday however, there is more of a focus on the snazzier, upper scale side of Copenhagen, Indre Byen, for the evening and nightlife. In the daytime however, let us introduce you to Christiania and Tivoli Gardens. Both great locations for sight seeing and also a good chance to catch your breath from the Friday.
Christiania is the ideal place to wander down to on Saturday. Also known as Christiana Freetown, the town has an interesting past. Announcing itself as a ‘free town’ and being formed as a city within a city back in ’71, the city sits on old military barracks as an alternative to mainstream culture. It is known for its hippy aura and open use and sale of soft drugs such as marijuana in the renowned ‘Green Light District’, which the government has recently cracked down on. The town is car-free and many houses have been hand built. The area even has its own special currency.
Area known for:
- Unique architecture and street art (murals, graffiti)
- The Green Light District (‘Pusher Street’: photography not allowed)
- The Church of our Saviour (Spiral tower which can be climbed to give extensive views of Copenhagen)
Christiania is an extremely unique area of Denmark and is somewhat of a cultural gem with a society, history and architecture absolutely unlike anything else seen in the world. What is there to see and do once we get into this Free Town then I hear you ask? The thing about Christiania is to experience it. Walk around, talk to the people and soak up its uniqueness. There are some particulars worthy of mention…
Gent tip: More of a gent warning; the area is known for its lax stance on sale and use of soft drugs and has the potential to be uncomfortable for some. Whilst a well known tourist destination, it is important to consider if areas and in particular ‘pusher street’ is the right environment for you.
Pusher Street : The clue really is in the name. The sale of cannabis is done openly however it is still illegal in Denmark. After numerous raids and sting operations recently, the street has become more cautious in how it operates. There are specific rules when it comes to the street. Simply, no photography, no shouting and no running. A lot of tourist footfall comes through this area and like any area with a high turnover of tourists, it is advisable to keep hold of your possessions.
Café Nemoland : Offering a outdoor beer garden, part concert venue, part indoor cafe with a different and varied crowd found at the end of pusher street.
Sunshine Bakery : The combination of a corner shop and a bakery, the bakery offers bread, cakes, sandwiches, coffee, tea, soft drinks and cigarettes.
Church of Our Saviour : Built in the baroque style of architecture, the Church is most famous for its corkscrew spire which has an external winding staircase which can be climbed, offering the best views of Central Copenhagen.Our suggestion is to make the trip up if you are not afriad of heights. The panoramic view is perfect for photos and offers spectacular, far off sights of the entire city thanks to Copenhagen being so flat.
What is this magical looking place we hear you say? Well, it is time for some more trivia. Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843, 171 years ago, and is one of the oldest theme parks in the world. In 1951, the park was visited by Walt Disney. He wanted to build a giant playground for the children and families of America, and decided to go to Tivoli Gardens for inspiration. As he walked around, he was amazed by the cleanliness, lush flowers and rides. 4 years after Disney walked around, frantically scribbling notes on every aspect of the park, Disneyland California opened. If that is not enough of a pop culture reference for you, then after performing in the park, Michael Jackson tried to buy it but was unsuccessful.
So after such a sparkling review from Walt and Michael, the gardens are a must visit spot. The entrance fee is minuscule and to go on rides is a pay as you go system.
Area known for:
- Landscape and setting
- Food & Drink (restaurants and cafes)
Gent tip: At night, Tivoli Gardens is one of the most romantic areas in Copenhagen thanks to lighting, architecture, settings and restaurants. Worth bearing in mind if you are sharing this experience with your better half.
Tivoli Gardens, Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København
The Park : Tivoli is more than simply a theme park. It is a tremendous 21 acre park, wonderfully landscaped with the gardens being full of green areas, lakes, fountains, a man made waterfall and over 400,000 beautiful flowers.
Architecture : The park boasts some varied and imaginative buildings, such as the Nimb palace Hotel with its minarets and towers; the Chinese Tower built in 1900 near the central lake and the Glass Hall Theatre just to mention a few.
Rides : The park is home to some amazing rides, including Rutschebanen, the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster still in use. For those seeking thrills, The Demon, Vertigo and Aquila all offer some stomach churning fun. Tivoli also houses The Star Flyer, the world’s tallest carousel, which offers panoramic views of the city.
Theatre : Tivoli gardens has many an act on in its open air theatre showing live music, pantomimes and more.
Evening & Nightime: Indre By: Latin Quarter
So after a fun filled day surrounded by hippies and thrill rides, the evening will be approaching and with it another night of fine dining, cocktails and partying.
Indre By & the Latin Quarter
Some of Copenhagen’s coolest streets, wine bars, restaurants and cocktail joints are to be found in Indre By. Translated literally as the inner city, the centre of Copenhagen offers . The main artery of the city centre is the street Strøget that splits the district in half. The Latin Quarter is based towards the Nort and the university. This is the area our guide focuses on for Saturday evening, where some of Copenhagen’s finest restaurants, bars and clubs can be found.
Peder Oxe : The Nordic and French inspired restaurant opened in December 1975 on the beautiful Gråbrødretorv. Burgers, steak, fish, they really do have a great selection and all the menu is updated to ensure that everything is seasonally relevant and fresh. Wonderful food and one we would most certainly recommend Check out the menu here.
Bøf & Ost : Inspired from Mediterranean dishes with a Danish twist, Bøf & Ost focuses on offering an informal dining space that removes all the fuss and focuses on offering great, seasonal dishes.
As the night begins in earnest, understanding where to go for cocktails, music and fun is of the utmost importance. See some of our suggestions of where to go for some fine cocktails by Copenhagen’s picturesque canals.
Cocktails, cocktails, cocktails…
Ruby : This is one of the most unique cocktail bars in the city. Located by the canal, Ruby looks far more exclusive than it is and the bar tries to do away with all pretentiousness. The cocktails are great and the atmosphere is relaxed and homely.
Madam Chu’s : The decor is of a Chinese influence and it is located a short walk from Ruby. Another of Copenhagen’s interesting and rather incredible cocktail bars. The cocktails are strong, the music is soft and it is a place definitely worthy of a visit.
There are a long list of viable, interesting clubs all deserving your time and attention, however with only a weekend, there is only so much a gent can do. It is with a lot of difficulty that we managed to narrow down the selections to these two very different yet equally spectacular clubs.
Zen : Part of the world’s finest clubs and one of the most exclusive clubs in Copenhagen, Zen is the place where Copenhagen’s rich and famous can be found partying the weekend away. Celebrities are not an uncommon sight and expect to see gold confetti falling down on the busy dancefloor of revellers as some of the city’s best DJ’s keep the energy high.
Gent tip: Be dressed to impress. Whereas Friday night was a hipster affair, the dress codes in the clubs in central Copenhagen are far stricter.
Culture box : If you like your music electronic and very loud, then Culture Box will become your mecca. The nightclub attracts local artists and international DJs to bring some of the best of house and electro to Denmark. Culture Box is divided into three compartments. White Box is the pre-clubbing bar, Red Box is the intimate lower floor, and Black Box where the biggest names play on the massive sound system. Less sophistication, more hardcore rave.
By Sunday, we would not be surprised if you are not slightly exhausted. A weekend full of hardcore partying, sight seeing and good food would be enough to sap even the most energetic of gents of their energy. But all is not over; there is still a day left before a late flight home and we know just how you can fill it.
Thorvaldsen Museum : Opening over 150 years ago, this grand museum is one of the oldest and most magnificent in Copenhagen. The museum is home to the works of art by Bertel Thorvaldsen, one of Denmark’s most famous neo-classical sculptures and is free to explore.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek : Carlsberg and fine art; not a sentence we hear often. This museum houses a large collection of Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of the Carlsberg factories who had a penchant for art. The museum houses an incredible collection of sculptures which are a must see.
The Blue Planet: National Aquarium : The Blue Planet is Northern Europe’s largest aquarium. Architecturally, the aquarium is incredible and inside is just as impressive. Water surrounds visitors on all sides, giving guests the illusion of being submerged underwater. The Ocean tank holds more than four million litres of sea water and also has a Coral Reef holding some of the worlds most exotic fish. The Aquarium is also very close to Kastrup Airport, making it an ideal last stop before flying home.
And there you have it gents, a non-stop weekend guide to Copenhagen guaranteed to have you thoroughly well fed and partied out before coming back home. Our final gent tip is simple; book a flight and pay Denmark a visit.
Have you visited Copenhagen and have any gems that other gents should know about?
Have you frequented any of our suggestions and did you agree with our suggestions?
Let us know in the comments below.