Reykjavik nightlife on a budget
High taxes mean alcohol is expensive in Iceland, so a night out can get pricey. The easiest way for you to save money is to stick to the soft drinks. If you do want to drink though, there are a few ways to save so it won’t blow your budget.
Reykjavik’s locals start their nights out with drinks at home and don’t go out much before midnight. If you want to do the same, it’s useful to know that alcohol isn’t sold in supermarkets in Iceland. Instead you have to go to one of the Vínbúdin, which are alcohol shops run by the government. There are 13 branches all around Reykjavik, though watch out because they have limited opening hours. They’re open 11am–7pm on Fridays, 11am–6pm the rest of the week, and closed on Sundays. You can also pick up duty-free alcohol when you arrive into Reykjavik Airport.
If you’re heading out early in the evening, then look out for happy hours and drinks specials. Most bars do a special deal with some drinks at half price or two for one, and the hour is usually longer than 60 minutes. Try the happy hours at Slippbarinn (4pm–8pm), Kaldi Bar (4pm–7pm), Micro Bar (5pm–7pm) and Lebowski Bar (4pm–7pm) to get you started.
You can also find a few bars with everyday low prices. Reykjavik has a couple of luxury hostels which have their own bars and are perfect if you’re travelling on a budget. Bankastræti’s Loft Hostel has a bar with great views from its terrace and good value drinks, with extra discounts during happy hour from 4pm to 8pm. Kex Hostel on Skúlagata also has its own gastropub which is decorated to look like an old fashioned American diner. Lækjargata’s Ölsmiðjan is another good option, with a laid back feel, cheap drinks and a soundtrack of soul and Motown.