On the outer fringes of Vesterbro lies Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District, called Kodbyen (literally: Meat City). Among the functioning meat processing facilities, wholesalers, butchers and refrigeration trucks you might spot stylishly clad Danes heading toward one of the city’s quirky new bars or trendy restaurants. That’s because in an effort to revitalize the drab neighborhood, Copenhagen leased abandoned facilities to creative business, art galleries and restaurants & bars starting in the early 2000s.
When I read on VisitCopenhagen’s website that the Meatpacking District was the cool place to hang out, I envisioned something similar to NYC’s: cobble stone streets, lines of stiletto-wearing club-goers clustered around velvet ropes and flashy limos and cars pulling up with their wanna-be-VIP passengers.
But Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District is nothing like its New York counterpart. When we first stumbled upon it, we were confused. It was literally a meatpacking district. In the daylight, you actually could not tell that there was anything remotely entertaining going on here.
But as we began to peer into the glass windows of each establishment, we realized that former meatpacking facilities had actually been transformed into bars (they were, at the moment, closed). We vowed to come back at night and see what the neighborhood had to offer, especially since it was so conveniently located near our stylish home away from home, the Andersen Hotel Copenhagen.
Another contrast from New York’s Meatpacking District, the bars here turned out to be pretty affordable compared to the rest of Copenhagen. And the atmosphere was surprisingly unpretentious: unless a place was at capacity, everyone was getting in – even those wearing sneakers. That’s right, in Copenhagen it’s chic to wear sneakers 24/7. After all, people are cycling to the club – and biking home with a buzz on is probably not too safe, especially in impractical shoes.
So where should you go in the Meatpacking District? There are actually three separate sections of this area: White, Grey and Brown, referring to the colors of the buildings. These are all located in the newer, 1930s-built White part:
BioMio – Located in a converted Bosch warehouse dating back to 1920, BioMio is an airy, open space restaurant serving 100% organic, sustainable cuisine. There is a large, open kitchen where you can see your food being prepared by the chef. The fashionable set flocks here for healthy and innovative food in a chic atmosphere, so make sure you have a reservation on weekend nights. This was one of my favorites, and I especially loved the fresh ginger mint lemonade!
Mother – On a Saturday night, this Italian-owned place was literally hopping, with patrons spilling out into the street and the staff running around in a frenzy trying to find seats for all those waiting for a table. Mother seemed to be particularly popular with foreigners, as everyone was speaking English (the staff even greeted everyone and took orders in English). Prepare to wait for a table here, but know that it’s worth it. Their famous pizza is *delicious.* I recommend the prosciutto pizza! It was a little chaotic and seemed understaffed, so don’t go here if you’re in a rush. But if you are killing time before a night out and don’t mind having a few drinks while you wait, this is a very conveniently located spot with good people watching.
Jolene Bar – A hipster mecca, Jolene Bar actually started in Norrebro but got shut down for excessive noise. Here in Kodbyen, they can be as loud as they want. No residents are around to complain! They have a very straightforward attitude, with a sign that says “this is not a f***ing cocktail bar.” The decor is shabby, tattered furniture and the atmosphere is relaxed yet upbeat. There is usually a DJ or live rock band.
Photo source: Jolene’s Facebook page
Mesteren & Lærlingen – This place stands out as the only place in Denmark I actually heard a beat. Seriously, Danish people love soft pop and electronic music. So kudos to this crazy place for playing some hip hop! Mesteren & Lærlingen had cheap drinks and was packed from wall to wall with people of all ages and walks of life. It definitely seemed like one of the most popular places in the Meatpacking District. It’s tiny, but since it was nice weather many people were standing outside or sitting at outdoor tables.
Karriere – On the weekends, DJs spin electronic music at Karriere, a bar-meets-gallery-meets-performance space. The crowd is a little older and more stylish and sophisticated than the rest of the local spots, making this a chic place to get your groove on away from the teenagers.
Photo source: Karriere’s Facebook page
So are you ready for a night out in Copenhagen? Have fun, but don’t be surprised when the butchers start showing up for work at 4AM when you’re stumbling home.
Read about more places to go out in the Vesterbro neighborhood in my last post.
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