In spite of Reykjavik's cold temperatures, the nightlife scene in Iceland's capital city is sizzling. Because Reykjavik is small in size, each bar and club are little more than a 10-second walk away. Most of the venues are incredibly laid-back and yet distinctly trendy, free of cover charges and dress codes - that's all except one swanky cocktail bar. Exploring Reykjavik's nightlife, you'll be confronted with Iceland's lively craft beer scene, serving brews that come from around the country and further corners of the world. You'd never have guessed beer was only legalised here in 1989.
Micro Bar is your go-to for craft beer, hearty in flavour and rich in colour. It was established just as craft beer was starting to get onto the scene in Reykjavik a few years ago, as until then, it wasn't widely consumed. Now it's part of a craft beer scene whose other bars include Skuli and Mikkeller & Friends.
Micro Bar feels more like a canteen than a dimly-lit bar, but people don't come for the ambience – they're here for the beer, and there's plenty of it. There are 10 beers available on tap plus an even further array in bottles, brewed in Iceland and around the world. Micro Bar's owner also owns the local brewery Gaedingur, so expect to try some of their brews while here.
You'll feel a little at home in Kaffibarinn, mostly because this bar's outdoor sign is modelled after the British underground signs. Kaffibarinn is one of the trendiest bars in town, and arguably the most popular.
Inside, you'll find candlelit tables, a dancefloor and a seated lounge upstairs for the more leisurely-inclined. During the week it moonlights as a cafe, but on weekend evenings DJ visits pump up the energy. In terms of music, you can expect everything from indie to electro-house, plus the odd oldie.
While most bars in Reykjavik are laid-back, Loftid is the only one with a dress code. This swanky bar has a certain element of class to it, though not in a way that makes it stiff. Think 1920's speak-easy vibes, where everyone dressed to impress.
Pulling away from Iceland's newfound love affair with beer, Loftid is more cocktail-oriented, mixing up drinks with high end spirits, though you'll still find wine and beer on the menu, too. There's a daily cocktail happy hour on offer here, which means more cocktails in your hand and krona in your pocket.
Austur has been Reykavik's most popular club since it first opened in 2009, and can be found right in the heart of the city's downtown area. It boasts of attracting only Reykavik's finest and most fashionable, but in reality even those enjoying cheap Iceland holidays can have fun here dancing to the DJ-led dance nights. Cocktails, wine and beer are on the menu here, along with occasional live music from local musicians.
Slippbarinn is rumoured as being the city's first cocktail bar, tucked away in the Icelandair Reykjavik Hotel Marina. Not just any hotel bar, Slippbarin is frequented by both locals and hotel guests, so you'll get a healthy mixture of people to socialise with while sipping cocktails at the sleek bar. The drinks are made with fresh, local ingredients too, so you know you're getting an authentic experience during your next Iceland holiday.