10 top spots to drink natural wine in Copenhagen
By Lena Hunter
Copenhagen is one of the greatest cities in Europe to drink natural wine in. Thanks to new-Nordic dining, the popular consciousness in Denmark is already au-fait with ideas of sustainability, locality and seasonality when it comes to what’s on the plate. So, it’s no surprise that Danes have a particular taste for wine with the same philosophy. With that in mind, hop on a bike and explore Copenhagen’s top spots to drink natural.
Gården og Gaden
Nørrebrogade, the main street of Nørrebro, is head-spinningly vibrant. Packed with shops and cafés, and flanked by a picturesque 1700s graveyard home to the headstones of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen and the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, the neighbourhood was voted the ‘World’s Coolest’ by Time Out 2021. In the midst of it all is the all-day wine hangout, Gården og Gaden.
The bar is adorned with art, dried flowers, a muddle of cocktail gear and a metre-tall vessel of Negroni, but the piece-de-resistance is a glass cabinet in the centre of the room brimming with bottles. The cellar is large, the glass-list varied, and the simple menu of oysters, seasonal dishes and freakishly good bread has turned the little bar into a local obsession. The lively street-life, a calendar of off-beat jazz events and warm whatever-you-like attitude to hospitality make Gården og Gaden a must-visit.
Pompette is in the heart of the affectionately nicknamed ‘shawarma-belt’ – the slice of Nørrebro packed with small, curbside kebab-shops that give Berlin’s post-club takeout scene a run for its money.
Stripped-back Pompette has a somewhat Spartan vibe, with exposed brick walls, low lighting and a refined list of uncomplicated Mediterranean-style snacks. Tucked next to a bakery and coffeeshop, and a stone’s throw from a brewery, cinema and pizzeria, it’s an ideal spot for chopping and changing between venues. The glass-list is priced at a flat rate for ‘whatever’s open’ and, for a tiny bar, their cellar is full of treats from younger European producers at great prices. With an unpretentious bustle of outdoor seating and friendly staff, Pompette is all about simple charm.
On a side-street in Nørrebro, a non-descript window proclaims ‘GRAPES AGAINST THE MACHINE’ in scribbled white marker. Two long benches and a blackboard are the only other hints that Sabotøren, one of Copenhagen’s more off-piste wine spots, lives here. The name, from French, was adopted by Danish resistance fighters during the Second World War and, appropriately, the décor inside Sabotøren is anarchy-themed.
With a workman’s bench for a bar, a record player and handwritten signs, it has an intimate, round-the-kitchen-table atmosphere. Their wines, primarily from the South of France, arrive in Copenhagen via two of Europe’s only traditional sail-powered cargo ships, Nordlys and Tres Hombres. What you see is what you get here, with bottles stacked floor to ceiling and a simple, grazing-style kitchen. Though off the beaten track, Sabotøren’s seductive speakeasy ambience and reasonable prices make it well worth a visit.
Terroiristen is best described as a wine importer’s living room. On the list are primarily cleaner-style wines from small regions in Eastern Europe: the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia, and from lesser-known appellations and grape varieties in Italy. Their wines are terroir-driven – that is to say, shaped by variations in climate and method rather than the desire to reproduce the same flavours year on year.
The bar is in the middle of Jægersborggade, a narrow, cobbled street brimming with clothes stores, artisanal boutiques and cafes, that stretches between two of Copenhagen’s urban green oases. In the Summer, markets are frequent and the area is well-known as a gourmet destination. Terroiristen’s portfolio is exacting and unusual, so grab the opportunity to attend one of their tasting events if it arises.
When Friheden opened, in a curious spot with no address by Nørrebro Skatepark, it made natural wine street. Their varied, all-day menu includes diner-classics of hot soup, cheese melts and cheap beer, alongside dishes of locally-sourced greens, fresh fish and decadent snacks. Outside, beneath the pine trees, a sprawling rabble of café tables crowds a graffiti-splashed half-pipe. Inside, it’s garage-like, with vivid walls, booth seating and neat rows of tables-for-two.
While Friheden keeps the speakers warm with good tunes, you can dive into their broad and contemporary bottle selection. The glass-list is a crowd-pleaser and priced at a steal. This bar has become a badly kept local secret and a no-brainer for natural-wine enthusiasts looking to get under the skin of Copenhagen’s casual going-out scene.
Rosforth & Rosforth and Den Vandrette
Made up of ancient canals and islands, colourful houseboats, galleries, cafés and Michelin stars, Christianshavn is Copenhagen’s historic culture district. Alongside Freetown Christiania – the hippie-commune, and Refshaleøen – a shipyard turned foodie-hotspot, it’s also the home of wine-importer, Rosforth & Rosforth, and their sister bar, Den Vandrette. Discreetly sheltered under a bridge, Rosforth is one of the OG and biggest natural importers in the city, whose range of buzzword Loire producers, like Chateau Passavant and Marc Angeli, has expanded to a frankly incredible portfolio of bottles from all over the world.
Rosforth is worth a visit on a sunny afternoon: prices are low and the picnic-bench seating by the busy canal has a ramshackle charm that’s best enjoyed in good weather. Alternatively, across the water, Den Vandrette offers cosy dining tables, a terrace and excellent Georgian-inspired small plates to complement their portfolio of wines from the same region.
Ved Stranden and Lille Blå Vinbar
Perched on the banks of an inner-city canal, Ved Stranden 10 is something of a Copenhagen wine institution. Its parlour-like interior is polished and stately, strewn with tasteful art and furniture. Bottle-wise, their scope goes beyond natural wines, focusing more on great craftsmanship and regions with cultural and historical significance, like Bourgogne and the more prestigious Italian appellations.
With a spacious outdoor terrace and friendly, knowledgeable staff, this is a no-brainer if you’re in the area. Their other venue Lille Blå Vinbar, in an ex-paint store in Østerbro, is cut from the same cloth. Petite, elegantly furnished and painted deep, rich blue, it has a formidable range of Austrian wines from their neighbouring import and bottle shop Østerrich Vin.
Nr30 is a tiny bar with a hefty bottle list. Its home street Nansensgade is peppered with foodie haunts and is another of Copenhagen’s regular fleamarket spots. Inside, Nr30s interior is humble but comforting, with scrubbed wooden tables, white tiles on the walls, and a rabble of shelves bearing the empty bottles of nights past.
Their wine list is full of secret gems that draw off-duty sommeliers and chefs from around the city to crowd the little bistro to enjoy a few hours of gossip, vino and the quietly brilliant sharing menu. The constant flow of smiling friends and locals will attest that an afternoon intermission here is just as charming as a slow dinner.
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