my top 5 drinking holes in Oslo

…this post could just as well have been called “My 5 favourite ways of spending 8 pounds in Oslo”. Because going out in Oslo inevitably means spending at least eight pounds for a glass of wine.

Admittedly the pictures below are more of me and my vino rather than the places themselves… they were sent to me by my wine drinking friends upon my return. So bare with me and trust me when I say that in these establishments the wine is only half the charm. The real thrill of my top five places is the atmosphere.

1 – The Roof of the Opera House

Vino with a view

Oslo has a brand new Opera House, a much needed boost to the city’s architecture which has been left by the way side for decades. The opera house can be found right behind the Central Train Station, an area which has been the hang out for junkies and drug dealers for way too long. Huge plans are in place to renovate the area, and within the next ten years I am sure to become a regular in the many new museums which are in the pipeline. Meanwhile I am happy to settle with my glass of wine on the roof of the opera house where there are frequent concerts. Address: Kirsten Flagstadsplass 1

2 – Litteraturhuset (House of Litterature)

This is another relatively new place where art and wine go hand in hand. The café is filled with bookshelves, the waiters are top notch and the olives are heavenly. Address:  Wergelandsveien 29 – a stone’s throw away from the Royal Palace.

3 – Bare Jazz

If you’re lucky enough to stop by this place when they have the occasional gig on, consider yourself lucky. If not, don’t worry. It’s still a really charming and slightly hidden haven for jazz lovers. Norway is seriously placing itself on the world’s jazz map, and this is one place which won’t disappoint you! The bar is run by renowned jazz saxophonist Bodil Niska whomcan often be seen behind the counter on the first floor. This is where you’ll find the jazz cd’s you can’t find elsewhere. On the second floor and in the back yard you can chill out with a glass of wine or a coffee and enjoy the raw brick wall surroundings.

Address: Grensen 8, http://www.barejazz.no (keep an eye on their website to find out about live concerts)

Very good friends enjoying very good jazz

4 – Villa Paradiso

In funky neighbourhood Grünerløkka you’ll find this pizza restaurant which offers a true taste of Italy. There is almost always a queue to be seated, but the fast and efficient service compensates for the wait. The serrano pizza is my favourite, and this summer they extended their rosé wine list to accommodate those of us who feel more summery with a dash of pink in our glass.

Address: Gruners gt 8, http://www.villaparadiso.no

Villa Paradiso has an outdoor terrace facing the busy Olaf Ryes plass.

the oh so tasty serrano pizza!

5 – Cappuccino

I have a real soft spot for this spot!

Leaving the best for last, Cappuccino is by far my favourite place for a summertime drink! It is part of the construction lying immediately behind the Oslo cathedral called the Bazaar. The building dates from the 1850’s, and the atmosphere is unique. I love the fact that the tables wobble on the cobbled stones, the cast iron chairs are comfy but in a bohemian way – a way where you embrace the moment rather than applaud sharp design. Suddenly you feel like you’re no longer in a big city, but somewhere in Tuscany where lovely food, colourful people and even birdsong seem to take charge. You’ll easily be tempted to stay for more than one glass, and the fact that the kitchen is Italian is simply the icing on the cake – or the raisin in the sausage as we say in Norwegian.

Address: Dronningens gt 27, Kirkeristen (The Bazaar)

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