This week we’re in the hip Danish capital to chat with local in Copenhagen, Astrid Hjort Møller, over a cocktail and a plate of smushi.
So, you’ve brought me to your favourite cafe/bar – tell me about it.
It’s my favourite cocktail bar – Ruby. While the cocktails are good, it’s the atmosphere that sets this bar apart. Decorated like an apartment without flashy signs or advertising, you cannot help but feel at home at Ruby, and whether you’re 25 or 55, it doesn’t really matter – as long as you enjoy quality drinks. By word of mouth this unique cocktail bar has become one of the most talked about venues in Copenhagen. This is not surprising given its canal-side location, relaxed vibe and friendly expert bartenders that serve some of the most delicious cocktails in town.
Mmm… this is good, what are we drinking?
We are having Copenhagen’s very own signature cocktail and one of my personal favourites, the Copenhagen Cocktail. Denmark is a country generally associated with brewed beverages, such as Carlsberg and Tuborg, yet the last ten years have seen a change in style, and the introduction of a cocktail revolution. The Copenhagen Cocktail has a classic Scandinavian taste, inspired by Danish design’s streamlined features; it combines the modern and trendy with the historical and traditional and is made with Cherry Heering liqueur.
What are your favourite local dishes?
My all-time favourite local dish are the delicious smushis. Just a little larger than sushi, smushi revives the traditional Danish smørrebrød that dates back to the 19th century when, for many agricultural workers’, lunch was the main meal of the day. It began when bread was used to wipe the plates clean – eventually the food was placed on the bread instead as topping. If you want to be a true local in Copenhagen, then you’ll definitely have to try a smørrebrød – it has become really trendy, especially for young Copenhageners. The smushi concept has even reached Japan. With hundreds of combinations and variants, from herring, to raw beef, seafood and paté, the small scrumptious bites allows you to taste as many flavours as possible.
And where would you suggest I go to find these?
I suggest you visit The Royal Smushi Café on the main pedestrian street, Strøget. It has a café/shop-like environment and serves the most heavenly smushis, placed on elegant porcelain. The people behind The Royal Café are recognised as the inventors of smushi and the setting is a good example of classic Scandinavian design. The atmosphere is informal and cosy, and I always love going there after a day of shopping around Strøget’s many charming shops.
The sky is blue and the sun is shining, what’s the best thing to do on a day like today?
On a sunny day I recommend seeing the city from a different point of view on a guided sightseeing tour by kayak. Here you can feel the pulse of the city in a different way and explore the impressive buildings like the Black Diamond and the New Opera from the water. At the end of the tour, you’ll enjoy a drink in your kayak too.
Alternatively, be like a local in Copenhagen and explore the city on two wheels, on a guided bike tour. Copenhagen is one of the biking capitals of Europe, with 55% of Copenhageners travelling this way to work or school – one of the highest percentages in the world. Experience the unique bicycle culture of Copenhagen first hand, cycling through the charming old medieval town. You will get a wonderful feel for the city’s old history, contemporary architecture and modern living, as you wind around cobblestoned bends and stop at major points of interest.
And if it rains?
Take in some of the major sights of Copenhagen on a covered and heated canal tour with Copenhagen Canal Tours. From the river you’ll see stunning views of the new Opera House, The Little Mermaid and the Black Diamond, an impressive black marble addition to the Royal Library, leaning gracefully over the water. The tour also passes Parliament, the National Museum and the old Gammel Strand, where flea markets take place at the weekend.
Following the canal tour you should cosy up at Conditori La Glace with a hot chocolate and a piece (or two!) of their mouth-watering house speciality – ‘Sport’s Cake’. This is the oldest and probably best confectionary shop in Denmark. Founded in the middle of old Copenhagen on the 8th of October 1870, it has lived through six generations and has delivered joy and quality to Copenhagen and its visitors for many years.
If there’s one thing I should do while I’m here, what is it?
While in Copenhagen a visit to one of the world’s oldest and most magical amusement parks – the Tivoli Gardens – is a must. The gardens are not only teeming with rides and adventures, but also offer a calm and relaxed atmosphere with green areas, lakes, fountains and beautiful flowers.
Give me a local tip that other tourists wouldn’t usually know…
Assistens Cemetery in the area of Nørrebro is a peaceful resting place of many famous Danes, such as Hans Christian Andersen, Hans Scherfig, Søren Kirkegaard and Niels Bohr. The beautiful grounds are also enjoyed by the living, and you can even take a guided tour. After this make sure to check out the very hip street of Jægersborggade, just nearby.