Photo / Kaspars Bekeris

Let’s Keep Having a Kiki!

Reykjavík’s famous queer bar is under new ownership. So what will that mean for this local hotspot?

Iceland’s only dedicated queer bar, “Kiki” has been a consistent attraction for queer locals and travellers alike since it officially opened under the name in 2014. The bar, situated upstairs at Laugavegur 22 has recently changed ownership which begs the question, what will that mean for the beloved venue? Well, GayIceland was lucky enough to sit down with one of the club’s new partners, Margrét Erla Maack to find out all the important information.

“My name is Margrét Erla Maack. I’m a DJ, dancer, and burlesque performer. My background is in nightlife and entertainment. I was brought up in the New York Queer Nightlife scene. I’m like a mix between a New York Club Kid and a 101 Rat,“ says Margrét Erla, when asked to tell us a bit about herself. [For those outside of Iceland Margrét usually goes by Magga Maack, and she has been heavily involved in both the nightlife and queer scenes for quite some time. She has also worked as an events host, journalist and television presenter.] Photo / Lilja Draumland
Margrét: “My official role is ‘partner.’ This basically means that I’m on board to look at the big picture of Kiki. The new ownership is led by Finni Karlsson, one of the people who kickstarted Kiki in the days of yore. He is a well known restauranteur and bar owner. Even back then the original owners understood the importance of having a queer bar and eventually handed it over to actual queer people when it was sold.

When they recently bought the business back they understood that they needed someone who knows the community and is also known within the community to strategically oversee the operations to make sure the business is meeting the needs of its patrons. So to put it simply, I’m responsible for making Kiki the best club it can possibly be.“

GayIceland: People who don’t know you might be wondering why a Cis Hetero woman would be interested in a partnership with a queer bar. Could you enlighten us?

We’re also going to expand our variety of events. The needs of people are changing and we would like to provide for them.

Margrét: “That’s a very valid question. To anyone who doesn’t know me, I would say, “ask two queer people in Reykjavík about me and one of them will definitely know me [laughs].” I’ve been involved with all things queer for a long time. In the past I’ve worked a lot with Samtökin 78 (Iceland’s national queer organisation). I’ve been working with the drag community, and loads of other things. I may not be gay myself, but know the community and am very passionate about creating great and safe nightlife and entertainment spaces. These kinds of spaces are what I know.“

GayIceland: So Kiki is still going to be a queer space?

Margarét: “Absolutely. Kiki is an incredibly special space and it’s very important to so many people. Kiki has already provided so much through the previous ownership and we want to keep it as a queer space and just continue to make it better. Think of it as the passing of a baton.“

GayIceland: So what kind of changes will we see in the future?

Margrét: “I know Reykjavík nightlife really well and I also know Kiki really well. I actually have been DJing here since it first opened and have performed and partied here loads over the years. One thing we really want to implement straight away are some policies to make a night out at Kiki even safer for the community.

I come from the world of burlesque and there are a lot of similarities between the burlesque nightlife world and the queer nightlife world. There is a lot of crossover. Both of these worlds have loads of sexual anarchy but they also require spaces to be safe. You can’t get up on stage and take your clothes off if you don’t feel safe, the same thing if you’re out clubbing as a queer person; if you don’t feel safe, it’s hard to do.

Kiki is undergoing a slight facelift but is back to business from Thursday to Sunday this week. Photo / Courtesy of Kiki

Safety is so important. So one change people will see straight away is that we are going to start closing at 3am. This is to eliminate the possibility of the 4am ‘zombies’ making the environment unsafe for people.

[when Magga says ZOMBIES, she’s referring to people who have been kicked out of other clubs or parties who come to Kiki because it’s open, not necessarily because they want to be in a queer safe space]

We’re also going to expand our variety of events. The needs of people are changing and we would like to provide for them. Of course Kiki will always be a great place to dance but we would also like to offer events in the earlier parts of the evening when people might not be ready for dancing.

I don’t know about you but so many of my queer friends are neurodivergent and would love a night every now and then where they can come out for a couple of hours and be social but not necessarily scream over the thump of music.

We would also like to be engaged with other venues to make sure there’s something for everyone. For example, another bar, Gaukurinn also hosts a lot of queer events. If they are doing a ‘men’s tops off’ dance party, I don’t see why we couldn’t do something for the female identifying patrons on the same night.

The main point is that I would like to make sure Kiki is as much a part of the community as the people are; because most queer people in Iceland have some sort of connection to this place. It’s a great resource and I want to help make this a place that has something for everyone.“

To put it simply, I’m responsible for making Kiki the best club it can possibly be.

GayIceland: And is the name staying the same?

Margrét: “Yes. Some people have had mixed feelings about it but it will stay the same.“

GayIceland: Really? Why?

Margrét: “Some people feel that with new owners, it should have a new name. Like a clean start. But I like that it’s not changing the name, because it’s not really a clean start, it’s just a change of hands. Maybe you could call it just a small facelift.“

GayIceland: Is there anything else people should know?

Margrét: “Yes! Regular customers will be happy to know that Magnea is coming back as a bar manager. Also if you want to get in touch about events or ideas or even feedback, contact us through our social media on Facebook or Instagram.

Apart from that, we closed last weekend to fix some locks, clean the ventilation system, and shake up the bar menu… but we are back to business from Thursday to Saturday this week with our regular events, Kikioke (karaoke) on Thursday, Drag with Faye Knús on Friday and House of Heart on Saturday, so this week is packed.“

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



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    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.

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        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.

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        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.

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          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

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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.

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          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

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