A few glasses of beer in an Icelandic bar

2 minute read

Bars & nightlife

Reykjavík, Iceland’s frosty capital, is known for its warm and vibrant nightlife. The main streets of Laugavegur and Austurstræti are dotted with cool venues, with more variety than you might expect. Live music is easy to find and shows are often free!

In Iceland it’s common for cafés to slowly transform into bars when evening comes. These café-bars often have a chilled vibe, but some have DJs or live bands later in the evening. There are also plenty of pubs, bars, and clubs that are only open at night.

When are bars and clubs open in Iceland?

Most café-bars open at around 11 a.m. to midday and stay open till 1 a.m. on weekdays. Pubs and bars tend to open in the early evening, around 4 or 5 p.m. Nightclubs normally open between 9 and 10 p.m.


On Fridays and Saturdays, most bars are open until at least 3 a.m. and clubs until around 4 or 5 a.m.

In the summer, most venues black out their windows to keep the nighttime vibe. It’s quite surreal going home after a night out when the sun is high in the sky!

What is the drinking age in Iceland?

You have to be at least 20 years old to buy alcohol in Iceland.

Is weed legal in Iceland?

No. Like in most of Europe, possession and use of cannabis is illegal in Iceland. You can be arrested or fined for carrying even a small amount of weed.

What is the drink-drive limit in Iceland?

Drink-drive laws in Iceland are extremely strict and enforced stringently. Never drive after having an alcoholic drink.

If you have more than 0.05% alcohol in your blood whilst driving, you could face a fine of up to ISK 200,000. You could also lose your driver’s license.

Where can you buy alcohol in Iceland?

At licensed cafés, restaurants, bars, and clubs, you can buy alcohol to drink on the premises.

If you want to buy booze to take with you, you’ll have to go to a Vínbúðin shop. Outside of airports, these government-run stores are the only place you can buy alcohol to drink off-premises. Supermarkets and convenience stores don’t sell alcohol.

Good to know: Supermarkets sell alcohol-free (less than 1% ABV) versions of popular beers. Visitors to Iceland sometimes buy these thinking they are the regular alcoholic version, so check the label to make sure.

You can also buy alcohol at the duty-free shop when you arrive in Iceland, where it’s much cheaper.