The city of Stockholm manages to blend cosmopolitan European city life with a green, sustainable Swedish vibe. Many of Stockholm’s unique clubs and bars are not cheap. With higher tax on alcohol and the limited amount of venues, you will pay to hang out with the Stockholm elite, but try at least one or two of these to get a real sense of life in Stockholm. Remember, you will need to dress well to get in the door, no jeans or sneakers.
Absolute Ice Bar – This is a great taste of Sweden, an entire bar built entirely of ice. The glasses, the chairs, everything is solid ice. So dress warmly and make a reservation (and DON’T BE LATE!) seriously, actor Tim Robbins once complained on Letterman about how his reservation at this bar was not honored when he showed up late. This is a fun experience though. One drink is included in the entrance fee, and hold onto your ice glass, as you can reuse it and get discounted drinks.
Spy Bar – This is a classic Stockholm club, and one that still attracts the Swedish VIPs. It can be very difficult to get into, but the secret is to arrive early in the evening and then just never leave. Many Swedes hang out here in hopes of spotting some of their favorite celebs, but if you are not up on Swedish celebs, you may not enjoy the exclusivity of this bar. That said, it is still a great place to people watch and get a sense of Stockholm culture.
Stampen Jazz Pub – Looking for something a bit different? This little pub attracts a diverse crowd (by Swedish standards, anyway) that enjoys live music. The place is located in Old Town, which makes it convenient and picturesque. Some nights the cover charge can be prohibitive, but if you go during the week you should be fine. Depending on the band you might see some older Swedes, or a young crowd.
Casino Cosmopol – If you are looking to do a bit of gambling with your drinking (above a game of blackjack, available at many pubs) this is the place to do it. You will need to show identification and get your photo taken during the elaborate check in process (gambling is run by the government), but once you are in, you can enjoy some good gambling – roulette, poker, blackjack, slots etc. As with many casinos, the crowd is mixed.
Sturecompagniet – This is a huge nightclub with a variety of floors, bars and music. If you are looking for the Swedish nightlife, this is a great place to start. But it can be difficult to get into, and the entry fee is not cheap.