Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar (the Ale Lounge of Kormákur and Skjöldur) is usually shortened to just Ölstofan. Despite the quirky name, Ölstofan is one of the most down-to-earth bars in Reykjavík.

Let’s put it another way: Ölstofan is one of the most down-to-earth bars in Reykjavík that you would actually choose to go into by choice. You see, it consciously and successfully walks the fine line between downtown chic and being a ‘place to be seen’, and being a dive bar popular only with regulars who can’t even remember why or how they became regulars.

The bar’s success comes from its pleasant modern interior, low lighting and low music. Ölstofan has always been a place specifically to chat and drink – meaning the music is deliberately not loud enough to dance to. Because of this though, the bar is seldom quiet. In fact it is often standing room only – even on weeknights.

The popularity is boosted by the good selection of beers on offer; which includes the nationally available Bríó Czech-style pilsner, which was developed by Borg Brewery in close co-operation with Ölstofan. So there is no finer place to enjoy a glass of it, or two.

Smokers also enjoy one of the city’s best smoking areas, as Ölstofan used to be dead set against the indoor smoking ban in its day and therefore created a sheltered, covered, heated outdoor area to puff even on the stormiest of nights.

Ölstofan is on Vegamótastígur, just off Laugavegur and near to the big Mál og Menning bookstore

See other bars in our Reykjavik nightlife guide