At the end of the 1980s there were over 1,000 pubs in Copenhagen. Today just over 200 are left.
Enjoying a beer in smoky surroundings has been replaced by a drinking a cortado with oat milk at one of Copenhagen’s new outdoor cafés, and these days the emblems of biker gangs are outnumbered by hipster lumberjack shirts. As urban renewal reaches into every nook and cranny of the city, Copenhagen’s old pubs either disappear or change into something else. But being a regular is still an important part of some Copenhageners’ lives. The local pub also functions as a welfare office, drop-in centre, family and home.
This exhibition presents edited excerpts and photographs from the book Stamsteder – Københavns sidste værtshuse (The Local – Copenhagen’s Last Pubs). The book’s author and photographers visited every old pub in town. The museum has chosen 14 of them from 14 different areas of Copenhagen.
Copenhagen’s pubs are places of stories and secrets as dark as the murkiest stout. But they’re also full of laughter and life that can last until the small hours seven days a week. Some of the pubs have Christmas decorations they’re reluctant to take down. Others are full of baubles of other kinds.
Regardless of the décor, every single one of them has a story to tell.
Youngsters and oldies, philosophers and cokeheads, alcoholics and celebrities, there’s room for everyone at the bar whether to they want to quench their thirst with a single beer or drink to forget. As long as the punters don’t resort to fisticuffs or cross the fine line between charming tipsiness and looking for trouble.