Jeff Hoyle talks us through his recent trip to Copenhagen in his weekly The Bar Man feature...
We weren’t really planning on going to Copenhagen. We had a voucher for a hotel stay in Bury St. Edmunds, but they were fully booked due to a wedding. Still, the British Airways website allows you to discover trips which depart and return on specific days, so Copenhagen it was.
The city card allows free use of all the transport options in the area and access to about 80 attractions, so instead of following the recommendations we had received, it was more a case of ‘Oh, there’s one. Let’s try that’, and so, we were immersed in art and sculpture, castles and kitchens, towers and dungeons.
Carlsberg Brewery was closed for visitors and Tuborg has long left the city, so any attempt to recreate my previous trip of 1983 was impossible, but Tivoli Gardens are still going and far more impressive than I recall. We even found a home-brew pub in there which served up a very expensive burger and a decent pint.
Some things did go to plan. A trip on the train across the Oresund Bridge was fun and a real bonus was the frictionless crossing of the border. After discovering the park where a duck tried to eat my shoelaces back in ‘83, we decided to go on to the university city of Lund, 15 minutes up the line and would highly recommend this pretty town.
Of course, no trip is complete without checking out the local sports scene, so Sunday evening found us at the Danish Superliga game between the newly promoted Hvidovre IF and FC Midtjylland, a rather odd experience. With a stadium which would sit well in League 2 at home and a crowd of 2,650, it was being televised live and the VAR system was in operation. With a ticket in the stands for about £13 and a free woolly hat courtesy of the match sponsors, it was a highlight of my trip, though the Bar Wife may have other ideas.
Still, despite problems with the railway which saw us standing at a bus stop while three trains went past, we reached town in time for last orders at the Tivoli Food Hall, where my taco selection was washed down by a bottle of Mexican craft ale. Top marks for them.
Also included on our card was entry to the castle in Helsingor, as featured in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, not only a brilliant experience but a master class in how a town can use the reputation of England’s greatest playwright to attract visitors.
Then, at last, it was time to search out the craft beer bars. The street corner local with the football on the screen. The modern minimalist bar with 61 beers on the board, the candle-lit cellar bar, all present and correct.
Then there was the War Pigs Brew Pub. Found in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen, the premises have white tiles from floor to ceiling and drains in the tiled floor. I think it is unlikely that the building was used for processing carrots in a past life. The huge kitchen churns out masses of Texas-style barbecued meat which you order by weight. It is ripped off the joint and dumped on your tray (no plates here) along with your side order of a tub of potatoes, slaw or whatever. Pay at the desk, pick up your beer, one of the 22 brewed in the brewery down the far end, and seat yourself at one of the many benches, like a school canteen. No frills, no fuss and great food and beer. Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.