- What Makes Iceland's Nightlife Special?
- Does Reykjavik Have Good Nightlife?
- Is Reykjavik Safe at Night?
- What Time Do Bars and Clubs Open in Reykjavik?
- Pre-party in Reykjavik
- What Time Do Bars and Clubs Close in Reykjavik?
- After-party in Reykjavik
- Reykjavik Nightlife Dress Code and Age Limit
- Special Events in Reykjavik's Nightlife
- Does Reykjavik Have Gay Nightlife?
- Best Nightclubs in Reykjavik
- Pablo Discobar
- Kiki Queer Bar*
- Best Bars in Reykjavik
- Olstofa Kormaks og Skjaldar
- The Irishman Pub
- The English Pub
- Kaldi Bar
- Bryggjan Brewery
- Prikid Kaffihus
- Lebowski Bar
- How To Get Around Reykjavik at Night
- Where To Stay Near Reykjavik Nightlife
- Other Things To Do in Reykjavik at Night
- Watch a Local Live Show
- KEX Hostel
- Catch a Local Flick at Bio Paradis
- Take a Night Tour
- Where To Grab a Late Night Snack After a Night Out in Reykjavik?
- Baejarins Beztu Pylsur
- Islenski Barinn
- The American Bar
- Top 10 Tips for Navigating Reykjavik Nightlife
Learn all about Reykjavik nightlife in our in-depth guide. What makes Iceland's nightlife different from anywhere else in the world? When does nightlife in Reykjavik start, and what are the best bars and clubs to visit? Read on to discover the best places to go, what to wear, and the best tips for enjoying the nightlife in Reykjavik.
Reykjavik is known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, clubs, and other entertainment venues. Reykjavik has something to offer everyone, whether looking for a wild night out or a more relaxed evening.
The city's bar scene is trendy, with many bars offering live music and DJs playing all kinds of music. There are also many pubs and clubs to choose from, with a wide variety of music and drinks.
Reykjavik also has various cafes and restaurants that stay open late for those looking for something a bit more low-key. Many of these places offer traditional Icelandic food, as well as international cuisine.
Travelers can sample some of the city's best drinks on a locally-hosted Reykjavik beer and food tour. Other Reykjavik options include this guided 2.5-hour beer and schnapps walking tour and this lively four-hour brewery walking tour with free drinks.
What Makes Iceland's Nightlife Special?
The Iceland party scene surprises many when they first arrive. Reykjavik is the crown jewel of nightlife in Iceland, with local and international clubs, bars, and craft breweries to suit every taste.
Reykjavik's great nightlife might not compare to big cities like London and New York. But there's a unique charm to Icelandic nightlife with good company, security, and plentiful drink options. If you're wondering if that counts as good nightlife, read on.
Does Reykjavik Have Good Nightlife?
There's a lot to do in Reykjavik, and the nightlife is no exception. One of the best things about Reykjavik's nightlife is that all the popular spots are in one area.
You'll mostly find venues that are hybrids of bars, dance clubs, cafes, and restaurants. Bars in Iceland tend to have intimate atmospheres, and there are rarely queues to get into them or buy drinks.
The nightlife in Reykjavik centers around the main shopping street: Laugavegur. As you descend the main road, you'll see that Laugavegur becomes Bankastraeti, then Austurstraeti. You'll find bars all along this strip, but most of the action happens on Laugavegur.
There are few lines (small lines at most), and you can choose between quiet cafes and jam-packed party venues, all within a bottle cap's throw of each other. Nightlife in Iceland is fun and inclusive, with few constraints on the party atmosphere.
Photo from Guided 3-Hour Bar Crawl & Nightlife Tour
None of the bars charge entrance fees unless they have scheduled a specific performance for that night, at which point you should be pleased with the live entertainment. Thankfully, the lack of entry fees means you can casually stroll from one bar to another as you see fit; this can be a pleasant experience.
People fill the streets, and if you're a local or long-time resident, you're bound to bump into someone you know (a positive or a negative, depending on the person, of course).
And that's just on an average weekend downtown. During festivals and cultural events (particularly New Year's Eve), the city's partiers put on crazy outfits, crowd into the best bars in Iceland, drink even more alcohol, and start singing in celebration.
Is Reykjavik Safe at Night?
Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world and enjoys the lowest crime rate in Europe, including the capital. Reykjavik is a very friendly city, and the risk of being robbed or assaulted is very low.
But, like anywhere that sells alcohol, there'll always be some rowdy behavior. Any threatening behavior is usually quickly dealt with by Iceland's police, and offenders are heavily fined.
What Time Do Bars and Clubs Open in Reykjavik?
Most Iceland bars and pubs open in the afternoon. Thursday and Sunday nights have become known as "little Fridays," with more people hitting the bars. This increase has helped fuel Iceland's reputation as an excellent place for partying.
But, as in most countries, it's Friday and Saturday when the nightlife fully kicks in. Although most bars are open from the early afternoon, they're typically busiest between midnight and 2 a.m.
Pre-party in Reykjavik
Icelandic people tend to avoid the high bar prices by pre-partying. Nightlife in Reykjavik is relatively pricey, so you should make the most of the duty-free alcohol when you land at the airport. It's one of the best ways to save money in Iceland.
A pre-party in Iceland is usually a get-together at a friend's house for drinks between 6 p.m. and midnight. Of course, it's not as easy for visitors, so you should either join a bar crawl or have a list of top bars to hit for their happy hours.
What Time Do Bars and Clubs Close in Reykjavik?
The Reykjavik bars and nightclubs stop serving drinks at 1 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday, but most won't kick you out until around 2 a.m. On weekends, you can stay out even later (4:30 a.m. or even 5:30 a.m.)
Note that the Reykjavik party scene ends later than the rest of Iceland. Outside of the capital, most Iceland nightclubs and bars tend to close around midnight.
After-party in Reykjavik
There are no official after-parties in Reykjavik, but if you're lucky, you might find one with new friends you make. The festivities usually continue to someone's house, but with the small size of Reykjavik, you never know who you're going to meet.
Alternatively, all you might want to do is to find something to eat. Check out the best restaurants in Reykjavik and these top recommendations for pizza in the capital city.
Reykjavik Nightlife Dress Code and Age Limit
The great news is that most places don't have a dress code in Reykjavik. Clubbing in Iceland is generally quite relaxed outside of significant festivals and events. That said, you're welcome to dress up for a night out, as many of the locals do.
In the wintertime, warmth is more important than fashion. Remember to bring plenty of warm layers, including a jacket, gloves, and a hat.
The legal age limit for entry to bars and drinking is 20. Be sure to bring an ID that shows your birth date and a photograph (e.g., a passport or driver's license). If you look younger than 20, you will likely get asked to show an ID.
Special Events in Reykjavik's Nightlife
Many events spread throughout the year elevate the nightlife in Reykjavik. Major holidays, festivals, and national events are all occasions for celebrations. Partying in Iceland during these times is a different experience, so it's worth timing your visit to coincide with one.
There are many festivals in Iceland, and Reykjavik is home to several major music festivals, most notably:
- Dark Music Days - this takes place every January at Reykjavik's Concert Hall, Harpa.
- Secret Solstice Festival - this takes place in June in Reykjavik's spacious recreational area, Laugardalur.
- Iceland Airwaves - this takes place in November all over town (even at the Blue Lagoon).
Besides the array of festivals and underground events, certain days of the year have Icelanders flocking downtown:
- New Year's Eve in Iceland is a big deal. People will dress up and bar-hop around Reykjavik to celebrate the coming of the new year!
- March 1 is Icelandic Beer Day, which celebrates the end of Iceland's prohibition on beer in 1989.
- The First Day of Summer. It falls on a Thursday in late April and marks the start of summer in the old Icelandic calendar.
- In May, college and university graduations take place. Hundreds of college students dressed in silly costumes celebrate the year's academic achievements. These same kids head into the streets in their white caps and gowns.
- The Eurovision Song Contest in Iceland is another big night in May. Almost 99 percent of Icelanders watch this international song competition. It runs from 7 p.m. to around 10 p.m. on a Saturday. The show leaves the city center deadly quiet until they announce the results. Shortly after, the town will fill with people in glittery outfits and outrageous make-up. Almost all of them will end the night singing along to Eurovision classics in the city's bars.
- The Gay Pride Festival in early August is also a staple in the city, celebrating the LGBT community and their contribution to life and love in Iceland.
- Culture Night takes place on the third Saturday of August. On this day, Reykjavik is full of free artistic activities and attractions, and a gorgeous fireworks display completes the night.
Does Reykjavik Have Gay Nightlife?
As mentioned above, Reykjavik hosts the Gay Pride Festival yearly in Reykjavik in early August to celebrate the LGBT community in Iceland. With marriage, adoption, and IVF rights equal for all, every bar and club in Iceland is gay-friendly.
But you can still find nightlife venues more geared towards the LGBT community. Scroll down to see our list of top gay bars and clubs in Reykjavik - we've marked them with an asterisk.
Best Nightclubs in Reykjavik
There are not many venues that would call themselves clubs in Iceland. At least, not how you might describe nightclubs in the rest of the world.
Many of Reykjavik's clubs (and Iceland's clubs) are a blend of a bar, pub, and club. Most of the nightclubs in Iceland (though more frequently bars) are also cafes during the day.
Unfortunately, it seems some of the institutional Iceland clubs have closed down. But fear not; the capital is still home to the best clubs in Iceland:
One of a few proper nightclubs in Iceland, drawing its name from the location in a re-purposed basement parking garage, turned into a glitzy and vibrant dance haven. To enter the club, you need to walk down a flight of stairs, meaning there are no windows, only shimmering lights, and a big shiny dancefloor.
The perfect place to forget about everything and just dance.
- Friday - Saturday: 11 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Address: Laekjargata 2a, 101 Reykjavik
One of the most popular nightclubs in Reykjavik, Paloma, was founded in 2013 and is renowned for playing good music. Its other draw is the basement dance floor with wooden beams reminiscent of a Viking ship. Paloma is popular with locals and visitors, with a great atmosphere and a local and international DJ lineup.
- Friday - Saturday: 11 p.m. - 4:30 a.m.
Address: 1-3 Naustin, 101 Reykjavik
Pablo Discobar is on the top floor above the South American restaurant Burro. Here you'll find delicious but pricey cocktails, a stylish but fun crowd, and funky decor. It's the perfect spot to go if you're in the mood for dancing. However, you should note that they occasionally have a minimum age of 25 to enter.
- Monday - Thursday: 4 p.m. - 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 4 p.m. - 3 a.m.
Address: Veltusund 1, 101 Reykjavik
Kiki Queer Bar*
Kiki is the hottest gay club in town. It's located at Laugavegur 22, an address synonymous with many of Reykjavik's past gay bars. The music is mainly chart-topping pop, Eurovision songs, and disco anthems. It's a colorful place to dance the night away, and you can't miss its rainbow-color facade.
- Thursday: 8 p.m. - 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 8 p.m. - 4:30 a.m.
Address: Laugavegur 22, 101 Reykjavik
Best Bars in Reykjavik
When it comes to finding the best bars in Reykjavik, well, it's all very subjective. It could be wherever has the cheapest beer or a bar that plays your favorite music. It's rare that people go out and stay in the same venue for the entire night.
The best thing to do is follow a bar crawl, make new friends, listen to different music genres, and maybe even stumble into that special person.
Reykjavik visitors should know about the best bars for craft beer. Or, if you're more into cocktail bars, check out this guided cocktail bar tour with complimentary drinks.
Don't panic if you lose your friends; the Iceland bars and nightlife scene is small, and you're bound to find them again quickly.
Here are some of our picks for the best bars in Reykjavik.
Hurra has established itself as an excellent bar for live music and great DJs and continually does new things (such as movie nights).
On Monday nights, their fantastic house band plays jazz with free entry. They play all kinds of music but mainly have live artists or electro DJs.
- Sunday - Thursday: 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 6 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.
Address: Tryggvagata 22 101, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Gaukurinn is a fun and inclusive dive bar. This spot is the home of Iceland's drag scene and frequently hosts stand-up comedy nights in English. It's an alternative, artsy underground venue with regular movie nights and live music. The lineup is available on their website's main page.
They have gender-neutral bathrooms and serve juicy, grubby, all-vegan food. The music here varies, but rock or metal nights are typical, as well as local electronic artists displaying their latest dance grooves.
- Tuesday - Thursday: 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 5 p.m. - 3 a.m.
Address: Tryggvagata 22, 101 Reykjavik
Olstofa Kormaks og Skjaldar
Olstofa Kormaks og Skjaldar is a great place to sit down, have a beer, and talk to your friends. They serve craft beer on tap, including the Brio beer by local microbrewery Borg. Typically, music is played at low volume or not at all. This bar is a trendy venue with the locals and worth visiting to see its old-timey decor.
- Monday - Thursday: 3 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 3 p.m. – 4 a.m.
- Sunday: 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Address: Vegamotastigur, 101 Reykjavik
The Irishman Pub
The Irishman Pub is a go-to Irish pub in Reykjavik with a great selection of beer on draft and a friendly atmosphere. The venue's feel is casual, and a lot of thought has been put into the decor. It's the place to be on St Paddy's Day, and they have special drinks almost every day of the year.
It's a favorite place for football fans to watch a game. They also have a private karaoke room that you can book for parties.
- Monday - Thursday, Sunday: 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 12 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Address: Klapparstigur 27, 101 Reykjavik
Bravo is a fun bar with eclectic decor, which makes for a good stop at happy hour or later in the night when the bar gets packed. The crowd is usually a mix of people sitting down for a beer and dancers grooving on the small dance floor. Music genres vary, but it's guaranteed to cause a head bob. The bar is located right below Kiki, making it a convenient stop for a bar crawl.
- Daily: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Address: Laugavegur 22, 101, 101 Reykjavik
The English Pub
The English Pub is an excellent all-around pub. They have a giant wheel of fortune where you can win a meter of beer, and there are often acoustic guitar players around. The best atmosphere is in the early evening or on weekdays.
It's not a place to go dancing, but you can sing along with the troubadour. It also boasts a large selection of beer and whiskey in Iceland, with happy hour every day from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- Sunday - Thursday: 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 12 p.m. – 4 a.m.
Address: Austurstraeti 12a, 101 Reykjavik
Kaldi Bar is now very popular amongst tourists and locals alike. It's so popular that you'll struggle to find a free seat. Kaldi Bar is a sit-down and chat bar with multiple beers on tap. A place to see and be seen, but come early to grab a seat. They close at 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Sunday - Thursday: 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 12 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Address: Laugavegur 20b, 101 Reykjavik
Bryggjan Brewery is located a little out of the center of town but worth the short walk. It's located (and named after) Reykjavik's Old Harbor, with an appropriate nautical-themed interior and views of the harbored ships outside the windows. They brew their own beer on-site, and you can view the brewery through large window panes.
Bryggjan is a large bar that houses a restaurant with local ingredients and an emphasis on fish and lamb. The bar has a selection of house-brewed beers, local brews, and quirky cocktails. It has a relaxed atmosphere and frequently hosts jazz bands for live music.
- Monday - Thursday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
- Friday - Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Address: Grandagardur 8, Reykjavik
Prikid Kaffihus is a café by day and a popular pub by night. Its red facade, accompanied by bright red and green signs, gives it a very cheerful vibe. The music leans towards hip-hop, but it depends on the DJ of the night.
It gets rowdy past midnight, so if you want to enjoy some quieter moments, come before that and enjoy their happy hour prices. Founded in 1951, it's been a mainstay in downtown Reykjavik for a long time.
If you stay up late long enough, you can go back and enjoy their breakfast.
- Monday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.
- Saturday: 11 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.
- Sunday: 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Address: Bankastrati 12, 101 Reykjavik
Lebowski Bar is inspired by the movie "The Big Lebowski "and is an American-style diner with a movie-themed twist. The leather booths and the wood and black-and-white checkered floor cemented the all-American vibe.
Their happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and their specialty cocktail is the White Russian. The bar plays a movie at night except for Thursday, when you can test out your movie trivial knowledge at their movie quiz. The Dude abides.
- Daily: 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Address: Laugavegur 20a, 101 Reykjavik
How To Get Around Reykjavik at Night
Nightlife in Reykjavik is divided into two sections: above Laekjargata and below Laekjargata.
The best nightlife in Reykjavik is on Laugavegur and the continuing streets from Laugavegur: Bankastraeti and Austurstraeti. The rest of the bars are on side streets (and Hverfisgata), visible from the main roads.
A quick look at the map below may help you navigate the city's favorite drinking establishments:
Otherwise, Reykjavik has 24-hour taxi companies:
- Hreyfill taxi has been operating since 1943, and you can book a taxi by calling them at +354 588 5522 or downloading their app
- BRS taxi +354 561 0000
- Borgarbilastodin +354 552 2440
Before you get on any taxis you hail on the street, remember that all the taxis should have official taximeters. Ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft are not available in Iceland.
The nearest stops to the downtown area are Stjornarradid or Hlemmur. You can find out more about them and bus travel in Reykjavik in our Reykjavik bus guide or check the route on the official Strato website.
Where To Stay Near Reykjavik Nightlife
To be in the center of Reykjavik nightlife, the best place to stay is along the main street Laugavegur. The compromise is that the locations nearest to the bar can be noisy. You can look at our recommendations for where to stay in Reykjavik and find the best prices available when booking your accommodations in Reykjavik on our travel marketplace.
Other Things To Do in Reykjavik at Night
Not up for hitting up bars and clubs? There's the nightlife in Reykjavik not related to dancing and partying.
Watch a Local Live Show
These might not run as late as you'd like them, but venues across downtown Reykjavik host live shows led by local musicians, poets, and other artists. Some have a cover charge for specific events, so check their social media or website.
KEX Hostel hosts regular live music events. It's a nice bar to sit down and enjoy good music and food. Every Tuesday, they have live jazz with free entry. KEX is a hostel bar, so it doesn't stay open until late and closes around 11 p.m.
KEX Hostel is located in an old biscuit factory on the road next to Hverfisgata street (with the Icelandic word for biscuit being kex!). It's a block from the city's central bar activity hub and is a nice change of pace to the pub crawl.
Another hostel on the list, Loft Hostel, has a bar that often has live music at night to accompany their happy hour. It's centrally located and has a lovely balcony which is excellent for enjoying sunny days with a beverage.
Lucky Records is a vintage-style record store in downtown Reykjavik and the largest record store in Iceland, selling both new and old vinyl. They often host live music or DJs utilizing the extensive record collection for a set.
The Classical white facade of the Gamla Bio dates back to 1906, and the name means "old cinema" in Icelandic. It was the seat of the Icelandic Opera until they moved to Harpa Concert Hall in 2011. They have regular evening shows, including live music and musicals.
Catch a Local Flick at Bio Paradis
Are you interested in Icelandic films? Bio Paradis is the only proper art-house cinema in the country. Their latest showings start at around 10 p.m. You can also find some international movies.
Take a Night Tour
Where To Grab a Late Night Snack After a Night Out in Reykjavik?
Are you feeling hungry after a night of dancing and drinking? You're not alone. Luckily, some late-night Reykjavik eateries can satisfy your pre and post-party cravings.
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur
Dubbed the best hot dog stand in Iceland, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur has been visited by foreign dignitaries and world-famous celebrities. It's also one of the cheapest meals you'll find in Iceland. Unlike regular hot dogs, these are made with three types of meat: beef, pork, and lamb. The nearest one is on Tryggvagata, a short walk from the main street.
- Sunday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Address: Tryggvagata 1, 101 Reykjavik
Nothing quite hits the spot like Middle Eastern food late at night. Mandi is a family-run restaurant with late-night food staples like falafel, shawarma, salads, and burgers.
- Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.
- Saturday - Sunday: 11 a.m. - 5:30 a.m.
Address: Veltusund 3b, 101 Reykjavik
Islenski Barinn serves authentic Icelandic dishes if you prefer more local fare. The menu includes smoked lamb, fermented shark, and reindeer burgers. It's a popular place, so it's worth making a reservation.
Local tip: Try their Icelandic pancake!
- Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 a.m. - 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 11:30 a.m. - 3 a.m.
Address: 1a Ingolfsstraeti, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
The American Bar
The American Bar is a diner combined with a sports bar that provides a typical American nightlife experience with great burgers and music. They also have live music every night and a dance floor on the weekend. Plus, a wheel of fortune for those who are feeling lucky.
- Sunday: 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.
- Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.
- Friday - Saturday: 11 a.m. - 4:30 a.m.
Address: Austurstraeti 8-10, 101 Reykjavik
Top 10 Tips for Navigating Reykjavik Nightlife
We've covered a lot of ground on everything related to nightlife in Reykjavik.
To help you keep track, here's a summary:
- Friday and Saturday nights are when the nightlife in Reykjavik is at its peak, but Thursday and Sunday nights are increasingly buzzing.
- Bars and clubs close around 1 a.m. during weekdays and between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on weekends. In general, places start filling up around 1 a.m. on busy nights.
- Dress codes be damned! Bars are not demanding when it comes to your party attire, so you can dress as you like. However, Icelanders enjoy being stylish, so there's nothing wrong with putting in some effort.
- Most of Iceland's nightlife venues are a blend of bars, pubs, and clubs and do not have entrance fees.
- Tipping is unnecessary unless you're very impressed with the service.
- If you only have one night or want some local insight, consider joining a guided Reykjavik bar crawl and nightlife tour for the first part of the night - it's the fastest way to discover the best bars in Reykjavik in one go.
- Everything is walkable in downtown Reykjavik, so consider staying close by if you want to explore the nightlife or save the number of taxi companies.
- Partying isn't the only nightlife choice in Reykjavik. Check the live music and events on offer during your stay first to see if there's something you'd like to attend.
- Make the most of happy hours in these bars and clubs, as alcohol in Iceland can cost a pretty penny. Or become the darling of your friends and family by buying alcohol from the duty-free shop in the airport.
- Have the number of your hotel and embassy details with you if something happens (e.g., the US Embassy page). Add the emergency services number of Iceland 112 to your phone or memorize it. And have your travel insurance information ready in case of an accident.
As there is no entry fee to most of these bars, make sure you check out as many as possible before picking out your favorite ones! The nightlife in Reykjavik has the perfect variety to suit your preferences. Let us know your main haunts in Reykjavik below!
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