KIKI queer bar.

Reykjavík’s Queer Bars Open Again

Renovated Kiki Queer Bar and Gaukurinn Welcome Guests Again.

Since the government-mandated closing of all bars in mid-March, many establishments have had their doors shuttered. When the gathering bans went into effect and social distancing became the new norm, bars and clubs were the first to close. After all, it is difficult to maintain the proper distance from strangers in confined spaces and we’re all more likely to forget hand washing after a few drinks.
As of now, bars and restaurants can only stay open until 23:00, which means most locals are starting their nights out downtown earlier and hosting afterparties away from Laugavegur. Deprived of any late-night dancing and in-person drag shows for the past three months, everyone is itching to get back out into audiences and onto the dancefloor.
Two establishments home to much of Iceland’s queer culture, Kiki Queer Bar and Gaukurinn, have both renovated and improved their spaces to welcome everyone home again. GayIceland chatted with the teams at both bars to get the inside scoop on what’s new.

KIKI

Árni Grétar, manager of KIKI.

Saturday night’s re-opening party at Kiki showed off everything from a freshly painted interior with stellar flamingo wallpaper to seven new, bright neon signs. “Kiki went a bit back to it’s campy, kitschy roots focusing on tropical fun, but in a more classy way. It’s mostly a cosmetic surgery that took place, giving Kiki a more vibrant feel to the place,” says Árni Grétar Jóhannsson, Kiki’s manager and one of its owners.

Each window of the bar’s main floor has been adorned with photo prints of Reykjavík’s best-known queens from Gloria Hole to Faye Knus. On the outside, each window has been painted a different color of the rainbow.

All night Saturday an open bar served Kiki-signature beer brewed and bottled by Ölvisholt Brugghús. Gin and tonics, Breezers, and the like were served up in new Kiki branded dance floor approved cups. The house itself got a shiny new roof and all the floors were cleaned and resurfaced.

“We were one of the first places to close when the pandemic was rising, we considered it to be the right thing to do since Kiki is a place of hardcore partying, so we could never fulfill the 2-meter rule properly,” says Árni.

“Kiki went a bit back to it’s campy, kitschy roots focusing on tropical fun, but in a more classy way.”

Even before COVID-19, business for Kiki was starting to change. “We have to face a new reality. People were already heading out earlier, which is a challenge for a late-night club like Kiki. Changes like these are just challenges we have to face and tackle. There are no rules that say you can’t sing, dance and party at 8 o’clock in the evening!

Our biggest enemy right now might just be the sun. Getting Icelanders inside if the weather is good might be a challenge, but we’ll just have to make our program even more fun!”

Next up on that program is classic Kiki parties during the next few months, from Kikioki on Thursdays and Drag Party on Fridays to Dance Party on Saturdays.

For Árni concepts like theme-nights, monthly Out of Control Drag Shows, and even a Christmas Party are in the cards …

GAUKURINN

Re-opening tomorrow, Friday, July 10th, Gaukurinn has it’s own renovations to show off. From 19:00 to 23:00 a free entry party will showcase a DJ set from Mighty Bear with free drinks from Víking Brugghús for some of the first guests. Manager Sólveig Johnsen (aka drag king Milo de Mix) says the re-opening will start with the party and a concert booked for July 11th, Pearl Jam vs. Nirvana tribute show.

Manager Sólveig Johnsen (aka drag king Milo de Mix).

Gaukurinn as a business was struggling pre-COVID with terrible storms in January and February wiping out crowds that would normally come out for shows. Closed for three months after that, Gaukurinn was nearly pushed to the edge of closing for good. “It’s the staff of Gaukurinn and the community we’ve built that are really bringing it back. The business is getting next to nothing in terms of support from the city. It’s very hard for us to get answers about government loans or other assistance, like we’re waiting in limbo. The city puts great ideas out there for discussion about financial aid, but the talks go nowhere,” says Sólveig.

Even without the aid, Gaukurinn has gotten a well-deserved makeover. The floors have been cleaned and resurfaced and the booth in the entry area has been taken out. A cozy couch area will replace the space just past it. “We’ve spent the last few weeks in our painting clothes just renovating as much as we can for next to 0 kr.,” says Sólveig.

“It’s the staff of Gaukurinn and the community we’ve built that are really bringing it back. The business is getting next to nothing in terms of support from the city.”

For now, the restaurant Veganæs will not be a part of the re-opening. Even though it’s within Gaukurinn’s building, their business is a separate entity that needs its own evaluation. Sólveig says “It’s a small businesses like Gaukurinn and Veganæs up against the large real estate companies that own many properties downtown. We’re not at the same table or even on the same playing field as our landlords. We’re a small business that can easily go under, while they own hundreds of properties.”

Gaukurinn has been the home of drag shows and all kind sof wonderful queer events. Photo courtesy of Lovísa Sigurjónsdóttir.

Gaukurinn remains one of the last vestiges for independent concerts and drag shows in Reykjavik. With places like Húrra closed and taken over by sports bars, the pickings are getting slim for venues of Gaukurinn’s size. Sólveig says: “Gaukurinn is one of a kind and we have our crew of regulars. We’re constantly making the space the way we want and really letting that shine.”

Acts coming back online in the next few weeks will include pub quizzes, karaoke, Soulflow Comedy, drag shows for pride and singer-songwriter nights. Gaukurinn will also be hosting Hinsegin Ladies Night on the 17th of July.

At the end of the day, Sólveig says “we could all just sit at home in a constant state of panic, but at some point, we just have to go for it and make the best of a bad situation. I’m more optimistic than most people. It’s also good to note you’re very much not invited if you’ve been feeling sick or showing COVID symptoms. None of us want another 20 person gathering ban.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Núðluskálin
          - noodle bar

          Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

          All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
          We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
          Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

          Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

          Seatours
          - adventure cruise

          Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
          and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

          The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

          600x400-seatours-tasting

          This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

          600x400-seatours

          The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

          Birds, possible to spot:
          -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
          -eider ducks
          -shags
          -kittiwakes
          -fulmars
          -white-tailed eagle

          The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
          Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

          Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

          Contact Us


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          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.