Arrive at Copenhagen Airport and the chances are you’ll be greeted by a giant poster saying: “Welcome to the world’s happiest nation!”. It’s signed by Carlsberg.
It’s true: Danes love their beer and the city’s many bars and bodegas give you the opportunity to find out for yourself if the bubbly stuff really is the key to happiness.
The cost of beer in Copenhagen
On average, bars in Copenhagen charge around 25 DKK for a bottle of Carlsberg or Tuborg beer (at the time of writing, that’s the equivalent of US $3.60, or £3). A bottle of Gold Tuborg, a stronger version of the pilsner, costs around 30 DKK. If you go for a pint of beer in a proper glass, you’ll end up paying around 50 DKK.
However, there are bars in Copenhagen where the nation’s favourite drink is served at much cheaper prices – and it isn’t just famous Danish brands like Carlsberg and Tuborg that you’ll have to choose from.
Whether you’re planning a pub crawl or just want to enjoy a cheeky half, these bars should definitely be on your list. They’re not always Copenhagen’s classiest watering holes, but the beer is cheap and the good times usually roll freely.
At this Vesterbro bodega you have the chance to try Maribo beer, which comes from the island of Lolland. At 16 DKK, it’s worth a try just for the lolz.
If you come early in the evening you’ll probably see just one local barfly, but the place eventually gets crowded and lively. There’s even an ashtray in the bathroom, for those who like multitasking.
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Billy Booze, at the name suggests (billy is an anglicism of billig, which means cheap), offers the cheapest drinks in town and is – quite understandably – rather proud of it. Drink here and you’ll pay just 20 DKK for a pint of Tuborg or Carlsberg, while a bottle of Budweiser or Corona will set you back just 10 DKK.
This bar is right off the main shopping street, Strøget, where most bars are usually pricey and posh. The atmosphere at Billy Booze is quite the opposite: red faux-leather couches, top-20 tunes and low-cut vests.
This popular bar in Christianshavn is inspired by Paris, but you won’t find any fancy wine or stinky cheeses here – just good old regular pilsner and a vaguely French-themed interior.
The bar opens at 9am, so you can even enjoy an Eiffel beer for breakfast for only 17 DKK. After 5pm, the price is 20 DKK. A bit of a local institution, the bar is always packed in the evenings, especially on the weekends. It’s a good spot to visit if you’re travelling alone and want to spark up a conversation with random strangers.
Another classic bar and the favourite destination for many penny-pinching drinkers is McKluud, on Istegade. This time the decor is Western-inspired, with sheriff stars, animal skulls and snug leather drinking booths with wooden tables.
Step inside and the chances are you’ll see people playing dice games or pool. The prices are average (25 DKK for a bottle of beer), but you also have the option to get an ale instead of plain old pilsner. Like most dive bars in Copenhagen, smoking is allowed inside.
Heidi’s Bier Bar
Heidi welcomes you with open arms at this German-inspired bar for a cosy ‘apres ski’-style drink: all of the beers on tap cost 29 DKK from Sunday to Thursday (until 10pm), while on Friday from 2pm–10pm the whole menu is half price. Heidi’s has a greater selection of international and local brews than most cheap bars in the city, so it’s definitely worth a look.
TOURS AND ACTIVITIES IN COPENHAGENMORE TOURS
Den Glade Gris
Lille Kannikestræde 3
Close to pretty much everything, this is a good place to go to as a group, especially if you plan on heading somewhere else later on. Before 11pm, you can get a pint of Tuborg, Carlsberg or Kronenbourg for only 29 DKK. Note: you have to be at least 20 years old to get in, and in winter they make you pay to leave your coat at the door.
This bar is a bit rough and ready – expect graffiti on the walls and a very smoky basement area, where things occasionally get quite boisterous. The low prices keep us coming back, though; for 30DKK you can get two bottles of Carlsberg or Tuborg, or two Gold Tuborgs for just 35 DKK.
Café Retro & Retro Nørrebro
Knabrostræde 26 & Jægersborggade 14
Popular with students, Café Retro has locations both in Nørrebro and right in the city centre. Run by volunteers, Retro has a relaxed atmosphere and comfortable chairs, but also regularly hosts various music nights and events. On presentation of a student card you’ll get a discount on the already cheap beer: 25 DKK instead of 35 DKK for a pint of organic pilsner. The staff assure us that this is valid for student IDs from all countries (and they usually turn a blind eye to the expiry date).
Din Nye Ven – Studiestræde
Skt Peders Stræde 34
If you’re looking for a small cosy place with affordable drinks, Din Nye Ven is going to be – as the name says in Danish – ‘your new friend’. Located in the boho Latin Quarter, it’s an intimate little café. A bottle of their house beer costs just 25 DKK and there’s a slightly pricier food menu. Definitely the classiest place on the list.
Too many cheap beers? Check out our guide to surviving a hangover in Copenhagen.