Vesterbro, a neighborhood of West of Copenhagen (literally meaning Western Bridge), is an area that has changed significantly in a short period of time while retaining its charm. In particular, the popular Kødbyen, or “Meatpacking District,” has morphed from a center of meat processing and production in the 1930’s to an area filled with food, drink and fun in the early 2000’s. Though there are three sections that make up Kødbyen – White, Grey and Brown – it is the White buildings that have largely been re-purposed.
Though Vesterbro may have recently garnered international attention for being one of the most “hipster” neighborhoods in the world (whatever that means), it’s got a fantastic selection of down-to-earth independent restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.
Whether you’re a long-time Copenhagener or are planning a trip to Copenhagen, it’s equally likely that you’ll want to spend some time exploring this district. Here’s where to enjoy yourself, no matter what you’re up for.
For easy, affordable options for lunch or dinner check out pizza spots like Neighbourhood and Mother, or a quick burger at Tommi’s Burger Joint. Granola offers excellent lunch, coffee and a seriously addictive chocolate-banana cake with coconut ice cream. Issa, a tiny spot on a side street, has some of the best Japanese homecooking in Copenhagen. For health nuts, BioMio is an organic, vegetarian-friendly restaurant, with all food prepared in an ultra-trendy open kitchen. Carnivores love Nose2Tail, a sustainable and affordable meat joint that uses the whole animal, from nose to tail. For a more upscale options, we like Pate Pate, which offers Spanish-meets-French cuisine (try the, duh, pate) and Restaurant Cofoco, serving Southern European fare made from seasonal Danish produce. And for those late nights that turn into early mornings, Kebabistan makes a mean kebab sandwich on Turkish bread.
Check out Urban House, opening March 2015. There’s no check in; book your room online then just enter your door code when you arrive. Instead of a breakfast buffet, a healthy and delicious bagged breakfast waits for you in the morning so that you can grab-and-go. The hotel also hosts a bar with Ugly Duckling Brewery beers, perfect for a laid-back evening with the neighborhood crowd. Rather than creating another traditional hotel, Urban House is looking to build on Vesterbro’s vibe with an affordable, easy to use and community-minded concept.
The options for coffee in Vesterbro can seem endless, but there are a few places really worth your time. Risteriet roasts their own coffee, which is strong and flavorful. Some uber coffee-nerds argue that it’s the best coffee in Copenhagen. Rist Kaffebar, with it’s small, minimalist interior, is a great place to stop in for a quick cup during a busy day. And Kaffe on Istegade is the kind of quirky, cosy space that wants you want to hang around, sipping your latte, for hours.
Some of the best bars of Copenhagen are in Vesterbro. If you’re looking for a fancy-pants drink, Vesterbro doesn’t have quite the same vibe as, say, Indre By. But there are plenty of cosy places to imbibe. Our favorites include Lidkoeb, which has an outstanding selection of both cocktails and beers (including Ugly Duck Brewing Co). Want to dance or listen to live music? Head to Jolene, a local bar teeming with bright young things. You’ll find bigger music events at VEGA. Tasty, flavorful cocktails can be found at Neighbourhood (yes, the pizza place). Mikkeller Bar and Bang og Jensen serve great beers – Bang og Jensen also offers a great brunch in the morning. If it’s wine you’re after, Malbeck has Argentinian wine and very reasonable happy hour deals.
It’s easy to only shop in the center of the city, but Vesterbro has a range of great stores. Located right next to each other, Shop Dora and Playtype have a wonderful selection of off-beat interior and office supplies. Lokal has handmade jewelry, furniture and small interior goods, both new and vintage. For cycle enthusiasts, Recycles reupholsters and sells bicycles from their workshop.
There’s nothing better than having a lazy morning or a day to get lost, wandering the streets of a new (or remembered) neighborhood. Though we recommend finding your own path, here are some areas to get you started:
- Sønder Boulevard
Check out this map from Art Rebels:
BioMio photos by Josef Brock
Neighborhood photos by Laia Puigdollers
Did we miss your favorite Vesterbro spot? We’re not surprised, there are so many great haunts! Suggest your hangout in the comments: