I am sure you’ll have seen them before, those polished, good-looking blogs that promise you fun in the city.
But as you scroll down the list of places to visit and drink and eat at, you can hear your bank account whispering in your ear: “Don’t you dare!”
So here is the deal, I am a student, paying Copenhagen rent, but I also love beer on tap, iced coffees and snacks of all shapes and sizes. Where in Copenhagen am I supposed to go during the summer?
I am sure I am not the only one with the same issue. In fact, I know a whole group of people with the same problem – they are called my friends.
So, rather than listing all the places I like, let me give you options as versatile as my friends are.
I have gathered a list of places my friends enjoy, from pleasant coffee shops to ‘are you sure they are not going to rob us here’ clubs.
The common denominator of all these places is that they are somewhat cheap (don’t get too excited, it’s still Copenhagen).
Patriks’ recommendation – Bolsjefabrikken
Ragnhildgade 1, 2100 København
Patriks is currently studying his master’s at DTU and has a curious love for jungle music. One of the places he is most likely to tell you about is Bolsjefabrikken, which, among other organizations, houses Mayhem.
If you decide to go to Mayhem, arrive with an open mind and I promise you won’t be short of a great art musical experience.
This is how Patriks describes the place himself: “Bolsjefabrikken is a raver’s dream hidden behind graffiti-covered walls. Not only do they bring the Jungle beat, but they also keep it underground with cheap, cash-only beers and chill staff. I love this place and recommend you give it a try. Keep in mind, though, that it’s a smoking-allowed kind of gig.”
Note: Remember to also bring cash for the entrance, which is usually around DKK 50, although a lot of events are free.
Maja’s Recommendation – Minas Kaffebar
Nørrebrogade 72, 2200 København
Maja is studying Business Administration and Sociology and is a dear friend of mine. She is also a Nørrebro local and never short of good recommendations. So, I asked her what her go-to money-saving place is.
“One of my favorite places in Copenhagen is Minas Kaffebar, located in central Nørrebro. A cozy small place that feels local with insanely low prices is not something you come across often. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast, an afternoon coffee or some simple drinks, Minas is the place to go.
With a seating area next to Nørrebrogade, right across from Assistens Kirkegård (cemetery), you can sit and experience the vibrant atmosphere that makes Nørrebro one of the coolest places in Copenhagen – in my subjective opinion.
If all the tables are occupied, you can take your order to-go and walk the few meters to the lovely park at the cemetery (not as emo-teen as it sounds, however decent weather is recommended in this case),” Maja tells me.
Max’s Recommendation – Zaggi’s Cafe
Frederiksborggade 43, 1371 København
Continuing with adequately priced coffees, my friend Max comes to mind. Max usually stays true to his Italian nature – drinking espressos, but on a hot summer day, even he can’t resist a good, iced coffee.
“I found this small coffee shop, called Zaggi’s, almost 2 years ago. It’s at a super convenient location, close to the lakes, and is a great spot for a date. And all the drinks are DKK 20, I believe. I usually take my order to go and stroll around or sit on the benches in front of the place people-watching,” explains Max.
The last time I went to Zaggi’s, I noticed a cork board next to the counter, where people left notes that represent free coffees – yes, free coffees. If you are short of cash, you can use one of these notes to get a free coffee from a stranger and repay the favor when you come back next time.
Note: Zaggi’s also offers some reasonably priced foods and snacks if you need a quick fix. The last time I visited the place, they only took cash or MobilePay payments, and although this might have changed in recent times, it’s good to keep in mind.
My Recommendation – KBH Husets Biograf
Rådhusstræde 13, 1466 København
One recommendation comes from me directly and that is the KBH Husets Biograf. If you have ever been in the Bastard Café, you were right under the place. To get there, you simply take the stairs to the second floor and enter what looks like a room belonging to the biggest movie fanatic you know.
The posters on the walls are older than my grandparents, curious movie props and gadgets. I advise you to arrive well ahead of time to breathe in this atmosphere and have a beer before entering the cinema. You are more than welcome to bring your drink inside the cinema and choose a seat.
The best thing is the range of movie options, which you can always check out on their website. Among classics like The Big Lebowski and Dirty Dancing that are on the program every year, you can find gems like episodes of the Twilight Zone and The Room.
Note: When it comes to practicalities, the movie tickets tend to be around DKK 70, unless for special events (which tend to sell out pretty quickly) and occasionally you can find screenings for free.
Kasia’s Recommendation – Pizzeria La Fiorita
Charlotte Ammundsens Pl. 2, kld, 1359 København
Kasia is studying her master’s at CBS and she is that one friend with an eye for hidden places in Copenhagen. Whatever the place is, somehow she has already been there. So, if she had to recommend an affordable place nearby, what would it be?
“Pizzeria La Fiorita, a tiny pizzeria near Nørreport, run by Italians. It’s a great escape on a gloomy day to a more energizing and delicious place,” says Kasia.
And as statistics tell us it rains every other day in Copenhagen, knowing places where you can hide inside is just as important as knowing where to go when the weather is nice.
Note: If you are looking to have an unconventional drink (or some proper beer) after your pizza, you can walk to Gorki Bar, located at Nansensgade 26, 1366 København, just 3 minutes from La Fiorita. It might not be your regular Copenhagen-ish bar but any Central-Eastern European will vouch for it.
Kristina’s Recommendation – The Black Diamond
Søren Kierkegaards Pl. 1, 1221 København
Kristina started her bachelor’s last year and like every other first-year student, she was on a hunt for perfect study places. No wonder you can find her in one of Copenhagen’s biggest libraries.
Kristina tells me “as much as you would think that libraries are tense and full of anxious students awaiting exams, the stillness and peace of the old reading room in the black diamond library gives you this unexpected peace of mind, that everything will be good in the end and that you can become anything you want with a little bit of hard work. That is why it is my favorite place in Copenhagen. Oh! And it’s for free!”
Apart from studying, the Black Diamond has a lot more to offer, and especially in summer, the outdoor seating is in high demand. And for good reason, as it is close to the center of Copenhagen, the view is nice and the library café prepares delicious-looking lunches.
Note: While visiting and studying here is free, the café has a very standard Copenhagen price list, and the student discount is only on filter coffee. And if you plan to sit outside, be sure to bring some sunscreen, since shade is a scarce resource here.
Cathrine’s Recommendation – Tak for Kaffe
Niels Hemmingsens Gade 10, 1153 København
Catherine is always running errands, always on her feet, meeting people, three times busier than us mortal human beings.
“When I think of summer, I think of meeting friends for coffee in the city center. My go-to spot is a coffee shop just off Strøget, called Tak for Kaffe.
I used to go there all the time when I was a student because it was definitely the cheapest coffee in that part of the city, but I keep going there because they really do make great coffee and the whole vibe of the coffee shop is superb,” says Catherine.
Note: No extra charge for oat milk – how revolutionary!
The ultimate summer spot
Unfortunately, there is no ultimate summer spot, simply because a hundred people have a hundred different preferences.
But I do hope you have read about at least three places you haven’t heard about before and at least one you will go and check out this summer.
While many of these places do not necessarily require summer, I believe most of them are that much better with a sunny sky. Just make sure you bring good company. So, stop staring at your screen, go out and have some fun!