by Danielle Robles
Upon retrospect, I will say that traveling to Copenhagen during the dead of winter was perhaps not the brightest of ideas. But I had booked a trip to Iceland with girlfriends, and the fare and the timing were too perfect not to jet over to Denmark, so I decided to do it anyway. As expected, the weather was pretty much shit--cold, wet, and dark--for most of my trip but I managed to make the best of it. What I discovered, coincidentally, was that though Copenhagen is better known for its delectable choices of restaurants and chic boutiques, Copenhagen after dark was far more enticing. What does one do when the thirst for trouble is strong and the weather is shitty? They party.
We started off fairly early on Thursday, before the sun went down, as we were warned not to stay too long in Christiania after dark. What was once former abandoned navy barracks is now an autonomous neighborhood that is both self-governed and economically self-sustaining. I will dive into the fascinating history of the town at a later time, but what you need to know now is that it is basically like Dolores Park in San Francisco, but on a larger, more epic scale. A plethora of good food (and even better “goodies”) were consumed in what I now call “Wonderland”--getting our evening off to the right start.
I was told by several American friends to check this place out as it has some of the best BBQ in town. To be honest, I’m not much of a BBQ fan, but the beers were great and the music blaring from the speakers served up a healthy heaping of rock & roll. It was a great spot to chill at before embarking on a final destination.
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jo-leeeeene...You stole my heart. A dark, divey discoteque with badass bartenders, and quite possibly the best DJ I experienced my entire trip, are what this spot is about. Upon entrance you are greeted with a large painted sign that reads: “This is not a fucking cocktail bar” -- translation: you are home. On this particular Thursday night the DJ blessed us with hours of funk, soul, and disco. If you’re itching to show off your latest moves (and when am I not?) this is the place to go. We ended up dancing our pants off until the wee hours of the morning.
A local friend I had made at Jolene the night before invited me to listen to music at church. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little skeptical about the entire ordeal, but it turned out to be so much cooler than we had expected. A slew of people laid sprawled out across the floor, while a live DJ played ambient techno tunes, and LED lights lit up the space. I pondered if something like this would ever fly in the U.S., or if people would freak the f*ck out--and decided that this was just more evidence that the Danish are that much cooler than we are.
The Library Bar
My friend Jakob and I agreed that the bars were far too expensive for us to pre-game at before hitting the club, so we decided to turn the city into our very own bar. Lucky for us, the rules are much more lax about galavanting around with a bottle of whiskey, so we decided to grab a seat by the river and soak up the cityscapes and sounds of the night. We decided to name this The Library Bar 1) because it also happens to be the name of one of one of my favorite watering holes in NYC, and 2) because we were next to the public library, so, duh.
Probably the largest, and most well-known club in Copenhagen, Culture Box almost always hosts the best DJs in town. On this night we split our time between two floors--one boasting deep house (which Jakob dubbed “Berlin music”) and the other more dance-y. Both DJs were equally amazing, so obviously we had to dance until dawn.
Less than an hour outside the city aboard a super chill train, lies one of Scandinavia’s best modern art museums. Okay, I’ll admit that this was a day trip and has no business being in an “After Dark” guide, but we did get to see Yayoi Kusama’s Gleaming Lights of Souls masterpiece (it’s a permanent installation there!) and it was bad ass, and SHE is bad ass, so I decided to include it. Deal with it.
This super quaint, cozy bar is what I assume hygge is all about. This spot is all vibez. Patrons sitting snugly together, sipping rum toddies with almonds and craisins, while soft folk music hums in the background. I cannot say that I was mad about any of this.
Located on the 3rd floor in the back of Huset-KBH, one of Denmark's first and largest cultural institutions, lies a little music venue perfect for intimate shows. On this particular evening we were swooned by the eargasmic sounds of two ridiculously talented local bands. Ida Kudo's haunting voice lit our fire, before AyOwA brought the whole damn thing home by seductively soothing us into a meditative state. It was the perfect way to end an epic Copenhagen weekend.