Iceland Nightclubs: An Essential Guide to a Good Time
Reykjavik may seem like a small and quaint city, but that doesn’t mean people don’t know how to have a good time. There are endless entertainment options available, from world-class dining establishments to art house cinemas. You’re guaranteed to find a good time, no matter what your thing is.
However, what sets Reykjavik apart is its legendary nightlife, often described as one of the wildest in the world. The locals love to party, and it shows. Reykjavik features numerous bars and dance venues that range from dive bars to high-end clubs that are always packed into the early morning hours.
If you’re planning to hit the bars in Reykjavik, here’s everything you need to know about Iceland nightlife and why it’s worth reserving a night (or two!) to experience it.
What’s Unique About Iceland Clubs?
The nightlife in Reykjavik is unique because Reykjavik is a relatively small city. Bar hopping is easy when every bar and club is within easy reach of each other. Naturally, Icelanders are all about their bar crawls – they rarely stay in one place all night.
As is common in European nightlife, the locals don’t go out on the town till quite late, often past midnight. Traditionally, an Iceland party starts by drinking at someone’s home (because, of course, overpriced drinks in bars is universal). This pre-game routine lasts until 11 PM at the earliest, so don’t make the mistake of going to Iceland clubs early!
Where is the Best Nightlife in Iceland?
Most of the Reykjavik nightlife staples are packed together on Laugavegur Street, right in the heart of the city.
A quaint shopping street by day, Laugavegur transforms into a lively and loud affair by night. It’s lined with bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, and food stalls, so you have everything you need in one convenient location.
However, if you’re looking for massive nightclubs, you won’t find them here – at least, not the three-story dance venues you’re used to.
Instead, most dance venues double as bars or restaurants. In fact, many of them are cafes in the morning. It’s easy to find these dance venues – just follow the loud music!
Best Bars in Reykjavik
Bars are the centerpiece of Iceland nightlife, where locals converge to hang out. As such, you’ll find no shortage of bars in the city, covering every taste and preference. To help you narrow your search, here are a few the locals frequent.
If you’re into beer, Reykjavik is a dream destination. Drop by Mikkeller and Friends, serving exciting and innovative (and sometimes quite strange) beers from the Danish craft beer brewery. For some local Icelandic beers, go to Kaldi, an exceptionally popular beer bar with the locals.
Craving a taste of summer in the middle of wintry Iceland? Reykjavik nightlife has got you covered with Bar Ananas, the city’s own tropical paradise serving up beach-inspired cocktails and drinks.
For something a little more laid back, try Olstofa Kormaks og Skjaldar. While it caters to an older crowd, it’s a quieter place to enjoy a warm ambiance and engaging conversations over a few drinks.
Dress Code and Age Limits for Reykjavik Clubs
The age limit and legal drinking age for Icelanders is 20 years old. We recommend you bring a form of identification that indicates your birthday, especially if you’re lucky enough to look younger than you are.
While most bars and establishments don’t enforce a dress code, Icelanders tend to dress up when going out. If you want to blend in, we advise doing the same. However, practicality is prioritized during colder weather, so you’ll see more people in thick jackets and snow boots.
If you happen to be in Reykjavik during a festival, you’re in for a treat. The already boisterous nightlife of the city takes an even livelier turn, making for an even more memorable experience.
Some of the main events to watch out for include Sonar Reykjavik and Secret Solstice, held in Laugardalur on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Both feature performances from local names to big international acts. While these two festivals are the headliners of Icelandic festivals, don’t forget to check out the many smaller events happening year-round.
Iceland Clubs and COVID-19
Thanks to strict quarantine rules and border screening, it’s relatively safe to move around Reykjavik so long as you observe health precautions like social distancing and wearing a mask.
Unfortunately, because the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, many bars and clubs are still closed in Reykjavik to limit infection.
Despite these restrictions, you can still enjoy a great night out in Reykjavik. Restaurants and cafes are open for you to enjoy drinks with limited occupancy. Concerts and festivals are also allowed, but with additional rules and restrictions.
Experience Reykjavik Nightlife from Your Own Campervan
Reykjavik offers a lively nightlife that’s as friendly as it is exciting. The array of bars and clubs alone make it worth adding to your itinerary. If you’re going to Iceland for the iconic natural beauty (as you certainly should!), take a night in town to experience the welcoming nightlife in Reykjavik. And it’s incredibly easy to do that if you have the freedom of traveling around in an Iceland campervan.
Rent.is offers the unique opportunity to experience Iceland on your own time aboard one of our comfortable and roomy campervans. Contact us today, and let’s make your next Iceland trip one for the books.