Bars in Oslo close at 3 a.m., and shuffleboards are EVERYWHERE.
The bar scene in Oslo spans from chic hotel lounges crafting innovative cocktails to noisy pubs serving excellent local microbrews next to shuffleboards, darts and Pac-Man Arcade Machines. In other words, there’s something for every type of traveler. Make sure to plan your nights well since bars in Oslo close at 3 a.m. meanwhile, alcohol can’t easily be purchased at grocery or convenient stores. So either start early or go strong!
Himkok – taste Norwegian culture through cocktails
Storgata 27, 0184 Oslo, Norway
Hailed as the number one cocktail bar in Scandinavia, Himkok is a refined speakeasy with an obscure entrance via a blue light above its mysterious door. Meaning “moonshine” in Norwegian, Himkok is a sustainable, multi-floor bar with 80% of the spirits produced in house. On the ground floor, there’s a cocktail bar along with a biergarten in the courtyard. Another floor up, there’s a barber shop and another cocktail bar aptly named: Taptails. Every concoction is delivered with local ingredients and botanicals, making Himkok an institution aimed to convey Norwegian culture through the science and art of mixology.
Svanen – inside a UNESCO world heritage site
Karl Johans gate 13, 0154 Oslo, Norway
Svanen is situated inside a 1896 building where Svaneapotheket pharmacy was formerly located. The interior of the bar has preserved much of its original edifice to exude an authentically historical elegance, including a worn out bar table with scratches from its pharmacy days. The vintage door knob at the entrance is in the shape of a swan, symbolizing the name of the bar in Norwegian. Created by Himkok’s co-owner, Yunus Yildiz, Svanen was another one of his projects to transmit Norwegian culture via magical cocktails. Adorned with glass vases and wooden drawers where ancient herbs were stored, the bar serves up a unique Old Fashioned combined with melted butter. Svanen is very much about innovation through experiments while maintaining a graceful sense of antiquity.
Bar *ISM – hedonistic menu
Stortingsgata 12, 0161 Oslo, Norway
*ISM is all about exploring hedonism alongside humanism. Created by Chris Grøtvedt who previously worked at Oslo’s renowned The Continental and THE THIEF hotels, Grøtvedt composed cocktail menus driven by the idea of seeking indulgence at the *ISM’s main bar, while exploring the ideologies of humanism at the brothel-themed speakeasy. Here, you’ll find cocktails named after social issues we’re currently facing: Racism, Factory Farming, and Global Warming (served in a plastic bag with an aquarium and a straw.)
Betolla – retro cocktail bar
Trondheimsveien 2, 0560 Oslo, Norway
If Italy and Berlin had a love child in the form of a cocktail bar, Bettola would be it. Its mid-century décor offers an old-school Italian 1950’s backdrop against an easygoing atmosphere, allowing visitors to sit back and relax with an espresso martini or even cocktails on tap. On the wall, you’ll spot a daily drink menu but many locals opt for Bettola’s homemade Pilsner or IPA. With a casual ambiance and quick service, this favorite hotspot is beloved by Norwegians looking for an afterwork drink.
Pier 42 – cocktails about inventions of the world
Jernbanetorget 2, 0154 Oslo, Norway
Not only is Amerikalinjen a trendy hotel next to Oslo’s Central Station, its main bar: Pier 42, is where young Norwegian professionals congregate to be a part of a cool scene while sipping down beautifully handcrafted cocktails. Flipping through the “Decade Of Our History” menu, you’ll discover cocktails named after remarkable events in both Norway and America between 1919-2019, including: Social Media, Man on the Moon, Emigration…etc. This New York-style bar is a fun place to be, whether you’re in the mood for a casual drink after a long flight or looking for a cool spot to kick off a night out.
THIEF BAR – artistic creations
Landgangen 1, 0252 Oslo, Norway
THIEF BAR may boast a certain taste of glamor but its intimate ambiance oozes as much exclusivity as the hotel itself does. There’s a balanced mix of global jetsetters and Oslo’s most swanky locals sinking into plush sofas by the snug fireplace. The hotel is embellished with original art pieces from the nearby Astrup Museum, hence the bar currently features a cocktail menu paying homage to contemporary art, including: Richard Prince’s “The Horse Thief,” and Anselm Kiefer’s bookshelf. Mmm…so art CAN taste this good.
Krongods – cocktails about the royal family
Nordre gate 2, 0551 Oslo, Norway
With “The Princess” and “The King” on the menu, Krongods’ cocktails relay the story of Norway’s royal family. Situated in the basement of Nedre Foss Gård, Krongods welcomes guests with 1960s designs, custom-made tiles, wooden walls, and mirrors on the ceiling. Although locals do not regard the Norwegian royal family as intensely the British royalists do with the British monarch, it’s still fun to explore a dynamic bar unveiling stories behind palace walls.
Crow Bar – Oslo’s largest microbrewery
Torggata 32, 0183 Oslo, Norway
Oslo’s craft beer scene is rising just as fast as the city itself. Crow is a crowd favorite, with its industrial interior and two floors serving a massive variety of beers brewed in house and by other top-notch manufacturers. If you’re hungry, the pub also has a kitchen on the first floor pumping out tasty pub food. At Crow, you’ll find both locals and travelers mingling and beer tasting at its best.
Beer Palace – beers and shuffleboards
Holmens gate 3, 0250 Oslo, Norway
Beer Palace is filled with Oslo’s young and hip locals, ready for a glass of cold brew in a happening spot. Opened in 1993, the bar is in the oldest building at Aker Brygge and offers a wide selection of local and international beers. Bottled and draught. The outdoor terrace is relaxing under the sun, while the Chesterifeld sofas inside provide cozy cuddlefests. A few hours of barhopping, you’ll soon realize that darts and shuffleboards are the coolest and latest trend amongst bars in Oslo. If you’re famished for a burger, Beer Palace also has a partnership with the restaurant Burger Joint downstairs to satisfy your cravings.
EIGHT – best rooftop bar
Karl Johans gate 31, 0159 Oslo, Norway
Grand Hotel Oslo is arguably the most iconic and legendary hotel in all of Oslo, it’s also the staycation of choice for international diplomats as well as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize every year. Next to the main entrance, there’s Karl Johans Gate 27 where you’ll discover Eight Rooftop Bar which belongs to the Grand. Imagine epic views overlooking the city, tasty cocktails, and DJs spinning on selected nights. Eight’s vibe is chic, posh, and most likely the most upscale of all the bars in Oslo.