Torshovgata 5, Oslo
An unpretentious underdog amidst far more distinguished cocktail bars, but a clear favorite in both the industry and the local community. Albatross, or Måka (The Seagull) according to locals, is a neighbourhood bar at Torshov in Oslo, with superb classic-ish drinks mixed by three buddies who learnt the trade at the godfather of all Oslo cocktail bars, Bar Boca.
Norwegian Soda Co. presents the list of Norway's Best Cocktail Bars, in collaboration with the indie food magazine Kabaret.
We compiled a list of 39 nominees, and asked these bars to vote for the favorites amongst their colleagues. The list is therefore decided by the folks who know the drinks scene the best – the top bartenders.
Torshovgata 5, Oslo
6. Pjolter og Punsj
Bakkegata 16, Stavanger
This bar in Norway’s oil capital Stavanger is an hommage to Nordic drinking customs, being named after the two most common drinks of the pre-cocktail era. The best cocktail joint in Western Norway opened in 2017, and two years later they won four out of nine awards for Norway in the Nordic competition Bartender’s Choice Awards. The converted petroleum engineer Truls Thomsen might compete with our own Stig Bareksten in being Norway’s biggest gin fan, having written a book about the spirit and named his second cocktail bar after the gin cocktail Gimlet.
5. Pier 42
Hotel Amerikalinjen, Jernbanetorget 2, Oslo
There’s something about that luxurious feeling of a perfect hotel bar! It feels like the original cocktail experience. At this sophisticated bar at Oslo’s boutique hotel Amerikalinjen, savvy professionals in checkered blazers and ties serve you drinks that tell a story about Norwegian and American history – drinks are inspired by the discovery of oil, the Norwegian emigration and the moon landing. The man in chief, Slavomir Kytka, was named Norway’s best bartender in 2020.
Trondheimsveien 2, Oslo
It’s time we all appropriate the aperitivo culture of the Italians! Cocktails and snacks before late dinners – what a lovely concept. We have an unquenchable appetite for classic drinks that flirt with Italy, albeit with small twists that provide distinctiveness. Whether it’s a frothing espresso martini, a fresh Limoncello Spritz or their sublime hazelnut-flavoured old fashioned, Tomas Ricciardi and his team serves you top quality drinks in one of Oslo’s classiest venues.
Karl Johans gate 13, Oslo
Speaking of classy venues! Svanen probably has Oslo’s most gorgeous decor, with a glass ceiling hand-painted in 1895, neo-classical pharmacy furnishings in mahogany and maple wood, marble columns and a huge golden swan watching over this cultural heritage of a bar. In this old pharmacy, Himkok co-founder Yunus Tildiz and his crew prescribe you the medicine you need: Elegant creations like an aquavit negroni with a chili bite, the sassy Anita with sherry and grapefruit, and our own favorite – Smørbukk, an old-fashioned with brown butter and smoked whisky.
Københavngata 18, Oslo
It appears to be a hole in the wall, located in what a few years back was a run-down dry cleaner’s next door to a porn shop, in a neglected part of town. Now this row in the Dælenenga neighbourhood, with the bohemian Art Bar, the cocktail bar Dæl and the renowned restaurant Hot Shop, has become the coolest 20 metres in Oslo. Dæl is a tasteful and somewhat industrial bar boosting their own bartender’s table with water taps and wine coolers, and an eclectically decorated shelf behind the bar. Jonas Junge’s drink creations are clean and characteristic, like The Ashley Schaeffer Special with whisky, umeshu and fermented plums, named after an “Eastbound & Down” reference. Get it?
Storgata 27, Oslo
When it comes to cocktail culture in Norway, there’s a Before and an After the opening of Himkok in 2015. The bar by Youngstorget set a new standard that many have since followed. According to the bartenders who voted for this lift, they are still in the lead. The venue sports several bars – a huge lounge with taptails upstairs and a bar with cider on tap in the courtyard. However, it’s the speakeasy cocktail bar with table service in the first floor that is the biggest attraction. In this industrial room, white-blazered bartenders under the leadership of Odd Strandbakken serve you the best drinks Norway has to offer, with nordic flavours and their own distillates in the shakers. Himkok is actually 85 % self sustained with liquor. With such a control of the quality of ingredients, it’s no wonder they wind up at first place. This bar has had a huge influence internationally, and remains a true Oslo institution.