The 50 Best Bars list. Something to admired every year and the bases of much of our travel planning. Having made trips to New York to visit the very well hidden Attaboy (no.8), The Dead Rabit (no.5) and Employees Only (no.37) this week it was the turn of Olso and HIMKOK (no 20).
Those lucky enough to live in London may well have caught their pop-up earlier in the year but for us, this was the first experience, and what an experience it was.
First off the bat, it’s like the Tardis. Very unassuming on the outside and a network of rooms inside – each with their own unique reason for being.
For those that enjoy the speakeasy vibe of a table-service cocktail bar then the groundfloor bar is for you. This is an intimate setting with limited seating so it is advised to book in advance.
One of the draws of HIMKOK is they produce their own vodka, gin and aquavit (the spirit of the Nordics) – distilling on site and a real feature of the bar itself, viewable through the large glass windows on this level.
The bar does offer a full range of spirits but does not display them behind the bar to encourage you to view the menu rather than simply pick ‘Hendricks like normal’.
The menu itself is inspired by the 2000 regional dress designs of Norway, creating a range of drinks that are both unique and rich in heritage.
On the trials list was:
Caramelized Milk Cheese 7/10 |Cloudberry 8/10 | Rhubarb 7.5/10
Heading up to the second floor you have the heartbeat of HIMKOK – a place full of energy, music and something special on the taps… 6-litre barrel aged cocktails chilled to -5 and served via nitrogen or carbon dioxide guns. Quality, quickly.
To put that into context this bar served 22,000 cocktails in November alone! At any one time on tap you will have a mix of classics with a twist (e.g mojito with gin) as well as some seasonal variations – ginger seemed to be prominent at this time of year, perhaps its warming qualities were welcomed by those that had been queuing in the literally freezing temperatures.
But wait, there is more. A lot more.
Next up, a barber. Yes, you read good my friend, a barbershop!
Open long into the evening (well, 21:00) Pels Pels is a traditional barber where you can relax and enjoy a full grooming service.
Up another level to the 3rd floor and you’ll find a 1930s original decking room that is used as an event space.
We were lucky enough to be there when Banks Rum was hosting an event so we got to sample 3 more excellent drinks…
Back down we go all the way to the ground floor and the Cider Bar. Whilst a number of bars in Oslo focus on beer, HIMKOK has decided to focus on bringing you ciders from around the world. As many study the grapes that make wine, they have supreme knowledge of apples to make sure you get the cider that’s right for you. And trust us, there is something for everyone!
And not to leave food out of the equation there is also an outdoor pop-up food market in the summer!
But we may have saved the best for last… HIMKOK’s offer their own range of cigars and outdoor bar area for smoking. Heated with a snow-proof roof in the winter that retracts in the summer so you can enjoy the beautiful blue skies. All angles covered. THIS PLACE IS A DREAM BAR!
We’re big fans of HIMKOK’s and can only see this bar rising in the Top 50 list so if you visit let us know what you think at @cutthecap or comment below.