A couple chat outside the bodega Bo Bi in Copenhagen, Denmark - a Danish version of a local pub

Introducing the bodega, Denmark's answer to the pub

Photo: @henriklarsen88

Wildly authentic and anything but fancy, the Danish bodega will welcome you with open arms and take you on trip through old-school Denmark. Where better to experience traditional Danish drinking culture?

What is a bodega?

It’s a musty and hazy, low-key and friendly, dim and relaxing hygge-filled place to drink. The overwhelming smell of beer, the heavy tobacco fog, the low ceilings, wooden walls, dark brown interior and old posters, as well as the dim yellow lighting sets the scene for a charming atmosphere. It’s perfect for grabbing a beer, chatting to friends and befriending a stranger.

The bodega is home to an diverse group of people, including elders, students, and local characters alike, all here with the same purpose – to have a good time, at all times of day. Challenge your drinking buddy to a game of pool, Meyer (a dice game), billiards or darts to the music you’ve picked from the bodega’s vintage jukebox.

The exterior of Havkatten, a classic bar or bodega in Copenhagen, Denmark


What should I drink in a Danish bodega?

Beer, beer, and more beer. Whether it’s locally brewed, a bottled Tuborg Green or beer on tap, as long as you don’t ask for a cocktail, you can’t put a foot wrong. It varies slightly from location to location: Copenhagen might offer more special edition beers as well as locally-brewed beers, while bodegas in Jutland may not even serve a Tuborg.

The good news is that it’s not likely to bankrupt you: for the same price of a bar’s entrance fee, you can actually buy eight big draft beers at a bodega. The downside of it is that it’s unbelievably hard just to stay for one. Don’t forget that it’s common curtesy to buy a round for everyone at your table.

Denmark’s most authentic bodegas

If you’re looking for a bodega in Copenhagen, you’re in luck: they can be found on almost every street corner in the Danish capital. Some of them are rich in history too - including Rosengården Bodega, where a bullet embedded in the wall behind the bar tells the story of when the Danish Resistance Movement assassinated a notorious Nazi snitch in 1944.

Some other popular bodegas to look out include Andy’s, Bo-Bi Bar, Diligencen, Halvvejen and Eiffel Bar.

Bodegas beyond the capital

Beyond Copenhagen, you’ll find plenty of welcoming and well-known places to enjoy Danish drinking culture. In Aarhus, the bodegas range from lively, like Café Guldhornene, a bodega with a festive atmosphere of dancing, gaming and drinking to Danish classics, to more laid back, like Peder Wessel. Other popular bodegas in Aarhus include Cirkuskroen, Hjorten and Kurts Mor.

If you find yourself working up a thirst in North Jutland, you could also try Susan Himmelblå, Munken or Smedekroen in Aalborg.

The exterior of Jernebane, a bodega or local bar in Copenhagen, Denmark


What’s the deal with the smoke?

At Danish bodegas, you’re allowed to smoke inside, as there is a rule that small bodegas and bars of less than 40 sqm that do not serve food can allow guests to smoke indoors. If the bodega is larger than 40 sqm, you’ll find they have smoking cabins, so smokers don’t have to go out in the cold. Just remember to leave your fancy threads at home, as the smell of smoke will almost certainly be a take away from the night.

Need to know about drinking in Denmark

  • Bodegas are often open until 5am.
  • Typically, they do not serve food.
  • To be served alcohol in Danish bars, clubs and restaurants, you must be 18 years old.

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