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The cocktails served at Himkok in Oslo look good and taste good. Photo: Tom-Egil Jensen
The cocktails served at Himkok in Oslo look good and taste good. Photo: Tom-Egil Jensen

Food & Drink

The best cocktail bars in Oslo

Strong, sour, bitter and stylish. In the space of a few short years, Oslo has developed a fantastic cocktail scene that is well worth exploring. But where do you get the best taste and style for your money? We asked Anders Husa, one of the coolest food and drink bloggers in Norway, to take us on a tour of the bars and clubs.

Blogger Anders Husa is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to finding the best cocktails in Oslo.

Husa has turned his love of food into a career. His blog, andershusa.com, and his social media channels provide tips about where you should eat and give the latest news about restaurant openings in Norway and further afield. Everything is illustrated with beautiful photos and videos. It almost looks like an old-style cocktail hour has now been officially introduced.

“The emergence of this trend is something that we can thank both the industry and the people of Norway for. Norwegian bartenders have traveled around the world, gathering inspiration. Many of them have worked in bars overseas. They also have a totally different type of passion for their profession. They want to develop the industry and are inquisitive and innovative. Cocktail recipes can be as complicated as the recipe for a dish served at Maaemo. At the same time, the Norwegian people have had their eyes open to what a cocktail can be. They are traveling more than ever before and have other impulses,” says Husa to Scandinavian Traveler.

The cocktails served at Himkok in Oslo look good and taste good. Photo: Tom-Egil Jensen

Himkok

This cool bar on two floors is ranked at number 42 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list published by magazine Drinks International. “The drinks are fantastic and the staff pride themselves on offering excellent hospitality. You will see that they are exceptionally service-oriented,” says Husa to Scandinavian Traveler.

Himkok

Storgata 27, Oslo

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Torggata Botaniske

This bar is almost as much a greenhouse as it is a bar. They grow herbs for specialty cocktails. “At Torggata Botaniske, they are partially self-sufficient as far as herbs are concerned, and you can sample cocktails containing things such as basil and rosemary. The bar has an elegant design, with lots of climbing plants and fine marble tables. Torggata has been upgraded over the course of the past few years so that it shines. A number of bars, restaurants and shops have moved into the area, which is now well worth a visit.”

Torggata Botaniske

Torggata 17 b, Oslo

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Drinks and interiors that raise a smile at Abelone on Brugata in Oslo. Photo: Tom-Egil Jensen

Abelone

A recent addition to the Oslo cocktail scene is Abelone on Brugata. The bar is named after infamous brothel madam Abelone Kristensen. She herself was the daughter of a prostitute. After running away from home, she opened a grocery store in a building in the Vaterland neighborhood, with a hotel and brothel on the second floor. It was a place that, so the story goes, operated somewhat outside the law. However, her bar namesake complies with all official regulations and offers sour cocktails with humor and lots of ice. “They don’t make cocktails using a shaker, instead they have their own specialty sodas and slushes. It has the fresh taste of summer. The bar has a whimsical look, with lots rice paper lamps hanging from the ceiling, and is definitively Instagram-friendly,” writes Husa in his blog. The bar is run by Robin Sohrabi-Shiraz, Jacob Spangenberg, Veronica Vollund and Stian Vaagland, all well-known faces on the city’s cocktail scene. The team is completed by designer Adrian Fjell.

Abelone

Brugata 5, Oslo

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The drinks served up at The Thief in Oslo are also an experience for the eyes. Photo: Jens Bredberg

The Thief

With bartender Chris Grøtvedt at the helm, the bar in The Thief hotel in Tjuvholmen has brought together inspiration from several sources, including bars in London. In addition to making sure that the drinks served looking spectacular, he has gone out of his way to make drinks that appeal to people, not just industry insiders.

The Thief Bar

Landgangen 1, Oslo

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Fuglen

This bar on Universitetsgata is a coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar by night. “It is decorated with vintage furniture from the 1960s that you can buy to take home with you if you want.”

Fuglen

Universitetsgaten 2, Oslo

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Bettola bar

Next door to Trattoria Popolare on Schous-hjørnet in Grünerløkka is Bettola. “They serve delicious, classic cocktails. But they also serve drinks based on their own recipes, as well as barrel-aged cocktails, which are stored in vats in order to produce a particular flavor and aroma. The bar has made a significant name for itself in local industry circles.

Bettola bar

Trondheimsveien 2, Oslo

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Pigalle on Grønlandsleiret serves elegant cocktails. Photo: Nadine Martinuzzi

Pigalle

This bar is located on the second floor of the old Olympen restaurant and beer hall in Grønlandsleiret. It used to be regarded as one of the most booze-ridden areas of Oslo. The entire area was upgraded a few years ago, and Pigalle has been given a sober Art Deco suit. The drinks, on the other hand, are anything but sober. Flavorful classics prepared with skill are served in elegant glasses.

Pigalle

Grønlandsleiret 15, Oslo

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BA53

BA53 is a restaurant building in which the bar forms a dedicated section. You can enjoy a selection of light meals and sample a number of different cocktails.

BA53

Bygdøy allé 53, Oslo

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Brugata landhandleri

A new concept will soon be opening on Brugata, which crosses Storgata. “It’s name will be Brugata landhandleri. It will comprise a restaurant, coffee bar and cocktail bar. The reason for the concept being called “landhandleri” [country store] is that it will also feature a shop, giving an establishment with lots under one roof.” The backers of this country store project are the people behind Himkok. Brugata is not known for its style, but now there’s a lot going on in the area. “It’s great that new places are opening for the people here to enjoy. It will have a positive effect on the area,” says Husa.

Brugata landhandleri

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