In Copenhagen, nothing's strange about the city's hippest and most forward-looking cocktail bar being housed in a listed townhouse from the 1700s. Ruby is exquisitely furnished with oriental rugs, chandeliers and chesterfield sofas, with added fresh flowers all making its guests feel like they've been invited for drinks at a private apartment - a very classy apartment, that is, and the drinks are even finer. The carefully constructed cocktail list is refreshed four times a year according to season and is both classic and innovative. Like a gourmet restaurant, the emphasis is on the best ingredients combined with great service: drinks are mixed with care and served with consideration.
Local Expert tip: Need a vitamin boost after a night on the town? Ruby offers an orange-colored "Bloody Sunday" made from carrot juice, cilantro and ginger.
Copenhagen's most informal cocktail bar can be found in this smoky basement on Sankt Peder Straede in the heart of the city's downtown Latin Quarter. Copenhagen Sankt P is a popular hang-out for students and other local drinkers, most of them in their twenties, who come for the down-to-earth atmosphere as much as they do the drinks and the music. This casual cocktail joint offers regular DJs, a tiny dancefloor, and a come-as-you-are vibe. Aside from the range of cocktails - the cocktail card is written on the blackboard by the bar - simpler drinks, like lager, are also available.
Local Expert tip: Try the Langelands Tea - a potent cocktail, the key ingredient being absinithe.
The name comes from the Danish word for dark or murky, and this gay-friendly, open-to-all nightclub exudes a shady, dark aura of living slightly dangerously more familiar to cities like Berlin and London than to Copenhagen. Don't be afraid, however: Hidden away a little north of Radhuspladsen on Vester Voldgade (just across from Hotel Fox), the small club Dunkel exudes a friendly atmosphere and the club crowd, both gay and straight, come for a good time and to hear some of the biggest names on the international club scene. Dunkel's dance floor is not particularly large, which is why clubbers often end up on the sidewalk outside. Music is prioritized over image, which is why Dunkel has been nominated as one of Copenhagen's best clubs by readers of a local Danish guide to Copenhagen.
Local Expert tip: If the night is going well, it won't stop just because the clocks turn 5am. Dunkel's parties can last well into the morning.
Multifunctional cocktail bar, restaurant, nightclub, art gallery, and hairdresser Gefahrlich, in the trendy end of the Norrebro district takes its name from the German term for living wild and dangerously ("Lebe Wild und Gefahrlich") and has been a fixture of Norrebro's party scene since it was opened by four young friends in 2004. Arranged over three floors, Gefahrlich offers the option to eat in the surprisingly elegant top-floor restaurant, with its French/Danish kitchen, before heading downstairs for casual cocktails or club nights (with the music mostly of the electronic variety). There are also occasional culture evenings with readings, etc. The atmosphere and dress code is informal and there is no door charge.
Local Expert tip: Happy hour most Thursdays between 10pm and 2am.
A favorite with visitors from outside Denmark thanks to its close proximity to the Central Station, the hotel district, and Tivoli as well as to its international crew of bar staff, nightclub and restaurant Rosie McGee's has two dancefloors and four bars spread across two floors. It's a little pricey and gets crowded with a diverse mix of tourists, youngsters and businessmen, especially at the weekends, but it's one of the few places open until 3am or later, even on Mondays and Tuesdays, and you certainly won't feel out of place speaking English here. Dress code is relaxed, but smart (there are doormen), and the music is mainstream. Should you feel like eating, the food is a rather generalized Mexican.
Local Expert tip: Mainstream and noisy, but familiar.
This small, gay-friendly nightclub is located on Norre Voldgade, close to Hotel Fox, and looks pretty closed up during the daytime. After midnight however, the club's small but much used dancefloor is enjoyed by a mixed crowd of music lovers, from flamboyant drag queens to more conservative gay couples; everyone, in fact, who likes to shake their thing to a Donna Summer classic or a Scissor Sisters track or two. Note that smoking is still allowed here. Never mind was recently renovated and prides itself on being a friendly, welcoming place for all types of guests.
Local Expert tip: A name that reflects a carefree attitude.
This fashionable after hours club, cocktail bar and restaurant reopened in late 2011 in new, larger premises on the street level of the Berlingske Media building, not far from Copenhagen's most exclusive shopping district. Open until 2am on Thursday and 4am at weekends, it's a trendy alternative to a packed and expensive nightclub with the Zoo Bar trademarks being glitter, glam, and cool DJs, and visitors to Zoo Bar's former location around the corner on Kronprinsensgade will be pleased to know the loyal crowd of regulars have not deserted the club after two years in limbo. The kitchen is reasonably-priced, and the burgers are especially popular.
Local Expert tip: Cool interior from trendy Brit lighting designer Tom Dixon.
The oldest cafe and bar at the end of "Pusher Street" in Copenhagen's alternative community Christiania, Woodstock is about as informal as it gets. This unique cafe is probably the only place in the city where you can be sharing a spot at the bar with intoxicated Greenlanders one minute and bumping into visiting pop stars the next, and the clientele span all nationalities and social levels. The place is rarely closed, open for a simple breakfast in the morning, to play backgammon on quiet afternoons, and for that last beer in the early hours, when most other places have emptied out.
Local Expert tip: Rather like an international living room.
The street level bar of popular Vesterbro nightclub VEGA, Ideal Bar is both part of VEGA and a separate entity with its own character. The small, intimate bar setting provides a framework for a series of events and club nights from Wednesday through Saturday, with small concerts showcasing upcoming artists a couple of times monthly. Popular events include Friday's Frankie Teardrop rockclub with four residents DJs as well as guest DJs. Admission is normally free. Club nights have an age restriction of 18 or over.
Local Expert tip: A great place to hang out on midweek Wednesday nights.
A tiny, long-running bar in Copenhagen's student-friendly Latin Quarter, the name says it all really: This place is cosy and open to all, both gay and straight. Despite its small size, Cosy Bar has a regular DJ and a dancefloor that attracts customers of all ages, many of whom show up when the other bars in the area have closed. Cosy Bar has been in existence since the '70s and hasn't changed much through the decades. Unconventional, local, generally smoky and open at weekends until breakfast time – make sure you've got the stamina to see it through.
Local Expert tip: Where the really late night crowd go.