There was a Royal Wedding in Stockholm last week, it was the country’s national day and the excitement and energy in the city was almost palpable. The harbour was packed with warships from friendly navies on goodwill visits and the world’s great and the good were there to celebrate and be seen at the festivities. Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time and so it was for Giffard’s Francois Philippot as he found himself touring some of Sweden’s greatest cocktail bars. According to Francois, Stockholm is one of the top five European cocktail centres, right up there with Berlin, Copenhagen, London and Paris and last week the city had to be number one for the buzzing atmosphere alone!
At this time of year it never really goes dark in Stockholm, a slightly disorientating experience for visiting southerners who can find that they happily and quite easily drift into a twighlight zone of hedonistic pleasure. Francois ‘Five to Try’ cocktail bars offer diverse cocktail menus, sharp reliefs of ambiance and richly contrasting patrons.
The Strandbryggan Sea Club, on Strandvägen, has a beautiful waterfront setting with many of its members arriving by boat and mooring alongside one of the club’s jetties. You can even take your cocktail out on the water by chartering the Strandbryggan’s 37ft boat and see Stockholm from the sea on their Under The Bridges Tour.
The club boasts three bars and a chill out lounge with some of Stockholm’s top DJs. The Rose Bar specialises in rosé brands and the Bistro Bar provides everything from great coffee to wonderful food. The cocktail bar is great fun and if you are into cocktails it is well worth a visit. A great view, chilled ambiance and perfect martini are a compelling combination.
Linje Tio means Line Ten in English and it was the number of the tramline linking the north to the south of Stockholm the bar is situated in the Hornsplan area which was once the bustling central hub on the line. Linje Tio is located in Hornsbruksgaten and is at the epicentre of the area’s revival offering a mix of rustic and urban themes. There are two bars, the Balcony and the Purple Room and Francois describes the whole venue as a unique mix of bar, restaurant, patisserie and a barber’s shop. If you know of any other barber shop serving world-class cocktails, please let us know!
The Balcony overlooks the old Line Ten and is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. The Purple Room opens on Fridays and Saturdays and is reached by a steel door. This is where some magical mixology takes place with outstanding bartenders expertly serving vintage and modern cocktails while experimenting with new ideas and flavours. Well worth a visit and not just for a haircut.
Häktet is just along the road from Linje Tio and is another example of the area’s up and coming vibe. Häktet means remand in Swedish and the present levels of service and hospitality are in stark contrast to the building’s former use as a prison. While the welcome is now warm and people queue to get in, the décor remains slightly Spartan with exposed light bulbs and a minimalist approach to furnishings conveying almost a speak-easy atmosphere.
Ola Carlson is the bar manager and is almost as big a fan of Menthe-Pastille as Francois is of his cocktails. The food menu blends modern European food with some Swedish classics and the same can be said of the cocktail list. Häktet is very much an evening venue, opening at 17:00 every day apart from Sunday and open from 17:00 to 03:00 on a Saturday. It is a must for a cocktail lover visiting Stockholm.
Little Quarter is the American Bar at Marie Laveau which is also on Hornsgatan. The bar has won many awards under the managership of Björn Kjellberg. He is another Menthe-Pastille fan and if you are visiting you should try one of his White Ladies. The love of cocktails extends right through the bar staff and Björn’s boss is so passionate that he has had the image of a cocktail shaker tattooed on his neck!
Little Quarter is very American in style and certainly revivals many New York bars for the quality and range of cocktails on offer. Little quarter is open from Wednesday to Saturday however it does close along with Marie Laveau and the ‘XXX’ basement club for July reopening on 1 August.
Concluding on a royal note we wish Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neil every happiness together and have taken the Royal wedding as inspiration. Our cocktail of the week is the Roussillon Bubble.
1 Sugar cube
3 Dashes of Jerry Thomas bitters
10ml Giffard Abricot du Roussillon
100ml Brut champagne
Serve in a flute glass and garnish with lemon and orange peel.