There’s more to the Swedish capital than its good looks.
The Stockholm brewer, Henok Fentie, at the pizza-and-beer bar, Omnipollos Hatt. (Gabriella Matheny)
For proof, look south to Sodermalm, a large inner-city island humming with creativity. “There are more fun and innovative and exciting and heartfelt things going on in Sodermalm than anywhere else in Stockholm,” said craft brewer Henok Fentie, a Stockholm native and co-founder of Omnipollo, an experimental, and highly influential, Swedish beer producer.
Although he’s currently living in Ethiopia — a temporary posting with his diplomat wife — whenever Fentie’s in town, you’ll likely find him on the island where he grew up, which was also the natural location to open the first Omnipollo outpost in 2015, a trippy pizza-and-beer bar called Omnipollos Hatt. Today there are three more bars — in Gothenburg, Hamburg and a seasonal beer garden in central Stockholm — but the fondness for Soder, as locals call it, endures. “It’s absolutely special,” he said, before sharing his top picks on Sodermalm.
1. Bio Rio
Bio Rio. Hornstulls strand 3; biorio.se (Erika Gerdemark/The New York Times)
“Cocktails are really dependent on who’s making them rather than where they’re made in Stockholm,” Fentie said, and for quality, the name to know is Josephine Sondlo, an award-winning bartender. “She’s extremely knowledgeable, and she makes the most fantastic cocktails.” These days, find her mixing drinks at Bio Rio, a single-screen art-house cinema from the 1940s that opened a revamped bar and bistro in September.
Woodstockholm. Mosebacke torg 9; woodstockholm.com (Erika Gerdemark/The New York Times)
This corner bistro and furniture producer in one is also Fentie’s favourite spot for dinner. “They’re very innovative, and they do a different themed menu each and every time I’ve been there,” he said. The creative menus change every couple of months — recent themes have been Mexico, cinema and the 1970s — and the bright, bustling dining room can feel “almost like a second home.”
A curated mix of Scandinavian and international brands is the draw at this menswear and womenswear store hidden inside the Bruno shopping gallery, a small and fashionable retail complex. “It’s one of those places that you walk in and you walk out with a completely different outfit from top to toe,” he said of the comprehensive offerings from labels such as Eytys, Ganni, L:a Bruket, Chimi and ADNYM.
4. Drop Coffee
“Every time I’m back and I go for coffee, I’ll go to Drop Coffee,” he said of this coffee shop and roastery that has distinguished itself with its light, Nordic-style roasts and attentive baristas. His go-to order is a no-frills black drip coffee, but curious connoisseurs can also sample single-origin pour-overs and personalised tasting flights.
The city’s museum of contemporary photography delivers “a high-quality experience all the way through,” said Fentie, who visits for the world-class exhibitions but stays for the food. Run by renowned chef Paul Svensson, Fotografiska’s restaurant and cafe serve sustainable, vegetable-focused fare alongside fantastic views across the water of Stockholm’s handsome Old Town.
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