The Perfect Weekend – Stockholm
9. The Bar Crawl
If a new bar pops up in town, the chances are it will be on a street in Södermalm. Towards the east end of Hornsgatan is Marie Laveau, a large tiled space lit in pink neon, named for a New Orleans voodoo priestess. Though its after-work crowd mostly goes for beer or wine, the food and cocktail menus offer Southern US-inspired options too. Down Swedenborgsgatan, Morfar Ginko is grungier in feel, but has fancier food and also a barbershop downstairs. In the ‘SoFo’ area (south of Folkungagatan), Katarina Ölkafé is a local beer specialist where jazz plays softly and dogs are welcome. And three streets away, a slight, sweet smell of rye and a boar’s head on the wall give away Bar Central, whose food, beer and wine all come from Central Europe.
10. The Sunset Spot
Northern sunsets are glorious, if a little eccentric. Stockholm is one of the world’s highest-latitude capitals, and the golden moment can happen any time between 2.47pm in deepest December and 10.08pm at Midsummer. The city seems designed to look at its best in the lingering evening light: the sun reflects off the ripples between the islands and brings to life the townhouse facades painted in warm hues. In winter or summer, the lakeside Stadshuset (City Hall) provides an almost theatrical stage for an end-of-day performance. Cross the main courtyard of this castle-like edifice – a red-brick icon of the National Romantic style of the 1910s and ’20s – and continue through the colonnade. Ahead is a broad terrace, which looks out towards Södermalm, and the spires of Gamla Stan to the left. Stadshuset is the venue for the Nobel Banquet on 10 December each year, and the view outside is a prize-winner too. The tall church tower of Riddarholmskyrkan, topped by a lacework of cast iron, catches the last of the direct sun, but the twilight waits courteously for those sightseers who are not yet ready to depart.