Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors


Copenhagen is indeed wonderful! I love how easy it is to get around between the great museums, galleries, music venues and restaurants, being able to swim in the harbour in the summer, the fact that everyone still cycles right through the snow-bound winter, the open-door policy of the beautiful City Hall (a familiar sight to anyone who saw the first series of The Killing), the sight of community-owned wind turbines off the coast, and the wonderful friends I have made there. Copenhagen also has a deserved reputation as a green city leader and it is that which has led me to become a regular visitor over the past five years. Here are a few of the places I love to go to when in town:


Lack of experience of the competitors prevents me from declaring that Loppen is Copenhagen’s best music venue, but the line-up here is usually good enough here to prevent me even looking anywhere else. The first floor venue is in the heart of Christiania, Copenhagen’s hippie, semi-autonomous ward where anything used to go – although there is a bit more law enforcement these days.

Mojo Blues Bar

Conveniently located right next to my regular hotel (see below), the main attraction of the Mojo Blues Bar is that it is guaranteed to have a live act on when I arrive from the last London flight of the night. The bar is wood panelled, comfortably shabby and liberally decorated with magazine clippings from past shows. A decent pint is usually accompanied by a chat with someone from the friendly crowd, but equally it is easy to find an anonymous corner if you just want to listen to the band, or have a read. Like many music bars in Copenhange, the only downside is that smoking in public places is still permitted and so the Mojo can be a bit of a test for people with sensitive lungs.

La Fontaine, jazz bar

La Fontaine only has live music at weekends, which was a bit of a disappointment on my first mid-week visit, but it turned out to serve an equally agreeable function as a friendly, cosy bar for the lone traveller to sit and have a read, accompanied by a good pint and the comforting buzz of students in animated discussion (the main topic I overheard on my last visit was whether or not the media really reports anything about real struggle and life). There is also a wonderful wall painting depicting the family-tree of American jazz. It is a short amble down a few cobblestone side-streets from Hotel 27.

Hotel 27

There’s only one place to stay in Copenhagen as far as I am concerned and that is Hotel27. It’s characteristically Danish in its clean, no-nonsese decor and easy-going ambience and the all-inclusive buffet dinner means you can grab a bite of something decent to eat whenever you arrive in the evening. The glass fronted dining room is a decent place to sit and work and there is always the Mojo Blues Bar next door, and City Hall across the road. It is about a fifteen minute walk to the harbour baths for a morning wake-up swim.

The Harbour Baths

How many other capital cities are there where you can safely go for a swim in the harbour? And who would have expected the exception to be in Scandanavia? It does actually get fairly hot in Copenhagen at the peak of summer, but the water is warm enough to extend the swimming season back into the late spring even for those of us whom nature has not endowed with substantial heat-retaining blubber!

nb the image above is nicked from JDS Architects

Maven, restaurant

According to my waiter (and since checked on the restuarant’s website), ‘Maven’ translates into English as ‘stomach’. It is a reference not just to the gastronomic delights on sale but also the area’s history the butchers’ district. Housed in a church that has been converted into an exhibitin centre, Maven serves robust good food in cheerfully noisy and laidback surroundings. My memory is getting hazy, but I think I enjoyed a great dinner here as part of the C40 Green Growth network’s inaugural meeting.

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