You probably all want to know where all the queer people in Iceland hang out. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Read all about our favourite hangouts and more.
Queer people in Iceland love to party and Reykjavík has become a travel destination for queer people from all over the world. Nonetheless there is only one truly queer bar in Iceland and that is Kíki Queer Bar, Laugavegur 22.
Kiki is open Thursdays from 20:00-1:00 and on Friday’s and Saturday’s 20:00-4:30. If you have your conference lanyard on you can jump the queue and get extended Happy Hour!
If you’re here on Thursday don’t miss out on the chance to see our very own Daníel (Samtökin ’78 Executive Director), as he hosts the Kiki karaoke night that starts at 21:00.
Please note that Kiki is on the second and third floor in an old house. The stairs are narrow and there is no wheelchair accessibility.
Despite Kiki being the only official queer bar there are many other bars and hangouts with gender neutral toilets and visible rainbow support that queers in Iceland frequent. Please note that not all of these places have wheelchair accessibility:
Loft Hostel in Bankastræti has a great view from their balconies. The atmosphere is relaxed and as it’s also a hostel you can find people from all over the world there.
Ölstofan has some good news for smokers! Ölstofan has a semi-outside smoking area that’s actually just a well heated tent. A little loud sometimes but you can often find queers hanging around.
Aldamót is usually a rather quiet wine bar that also serves beer and cocktails. It‘s a great place for a nice glass of wine and a good chat. It’s closed on Mondays.
Gaukurinn has been a queer hangout for a long time. It has a bit of a rock and grunge vibe and they host many queer and queer friendly events, such as drag shows and poetry evenings.
Röntgen is a bar in Hverfisgata. It has a disco ball and queers are often to be found there.
Dillon has a strong lesbian Saturday vibe as Andrea Jónsdóttir, known as the grandma of Rock and Roll DJ’s there almost every weekend. It’s not something to miss.
Kaffibarinn is the place to go on the weekend if you really want to party hard. It’s got a good smoking area.
Kaldi bar is right across the street from Kiki Queer Bar. It has a great (and I mean great) selection of gin and a cosy outside section in the back.
10 sopar/Vínstúkan is a very cute wine bar with good service and a queer vibe.
Bars queer people in Iceland frequent but do not have gender neutral toilets or visible rainbow flags:
Skúli Craft Bar
CAFÉ’S AND RESTAURANTS
Iða Zimsen is a cosy lesbian owned café in downtown Reykjavík. It offers great coffee, sandwiches and cakes, great atmosphere and books galore! Iða also has a liquor licence so you can have a glass of wine while meeting friends, reading a book or catching up on a little work.
Iða also offers a 10% discount to conference participants on everything they carry plus food, alcohol and books. Just show your lanyard and name tag.
Babalú is a gay owned café on Skólavörðustígur 22, in the centre of Reykjavík. It’s the yellow house with the blue roof close to the top of the rainbow street. You won’t miss it!
Pallett Café is by the harbour in Hafnarfjörður (just a 30 minutes ride on bus number 1 and so worth it). It’s owned by a gay couple who make the best English scones and clotted cream. It’s quirky and well worth the visit. They are closed on Mondays but any other day owners David and Pálmar welcome guests with a unique mix of dad jokes and gay sass.
Jómfrúin Reykjavík’s own smørrebrød restaurant with Danish smørrebrød and Danish and Scandinavian main courses. The restaurant was first opened 25 years ago by two men, one of whom is gay. The restaurant is now owned by the son of one of the original owners and remains very queer friendly.
Matur og drykkur is headed by the lesbian chef Helga Haraldsdóttir. Matur and drykkur are one of the few restaurants in Iceland with a Michelin recommendation. They only do a set course menu and you need to book a table in advance.
Bæjarins bestu is maybe not queer owned and not really a restaurant but it‘s definitely an important stop for any traveller. Go have a traditional Icelandic hot dog while standing in the rain and wind with the seagulls soaring overhead hoping you drop a piece of your yummy grub! Doesn‘t sound nice? Trust us: It‘s best not to miss out on this authentic Icelandic street food! Also, it’s a great way to really get to the core of straight aesthetics.
PLACES AND THINGS
The Rainbow Guide Are you a history buff or just really really into anything that has to do with queerness and queer life? Then we have just the thing for you. The National Museum of Iceland has for the past five years hosted a special pamphlet and audio guide through the museum’s permanent exhibition. The guide was written by queer historians and academics in cooperation with Samtökin ‘78.
The museum is open every day from 10:00-17:00. The entrance fee is 2500 ISK for adults but 1200 ISK for students, seniors and disabled people.
For accessibility information click here.
Skólavörðustígur/Rainbow street Ok, so it’s not a hangout as such but you can’t miss the opportunity for a selfie with the rainbow street and Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral in the background. Everyone is doing it!
Reykjavík Pride Magazine
For the past twenty years or so Reykjavík Pride has published a yearly magazine that has progressively become bigger every year. If you would like to read about queer life in Iceland, many of the articles are available in English on www.reykjavikpride.is
Queer themed books by Icelandic authors
Icelanders are known as the book nation, with a seriously odd ratio of authors to carpenters. Queerness has become more prominent in novels in the last few years and we are happy to recommend a few of our favourite books. Moonstone by Sjón is a beautiful novel about a boy in the early 20th century Reykjavík. The crime trilogy by Lilja Sigurðardóttir; Snare, Trap and Cage are a great read and the protagonist is a kick-ass lesbian. Both Moonstone and the trilogy might be available in other nordic languages.
If you plan on arriving early or prolonging your stay and travel outside of Reykjavík, let us know and we will do your best to provide you with any information you need.