Forget meatballs, Abba and flat packed furniture, Stockholm isn’t about clichés and tacky 70s music. Quite the opposite, the Scandinavian town is a temple of design and innovative concepts. Chic and sophisticated, yet always understated. With the long summer nights approaching and the sheer amount of choice from French brasseries, Japanese dining clubs and international nightclubs with VIP rooms, going out in style has never been easier.
CLARION HOTEL SIGN, HOTEL
Everything at Clarion Hotel Sign screams design. The glass and granite building, designed by architect Gert Wingårdh, is perfectly thought out to reflect the weather as well as the street and park outside. Just imagine how bright it is during Midsummer nights. Every floor pays homage to iconic designers such as Alvar Aalto and Poul Wolther. Walk past the Arne Jacobsen chairs in the lobby up to the roof terrace and heated pool. That’s where it’s all happening. The views over Kungsholmen are fantastic. There’s nothing more satisfying than sipping on a cocktail while bathing under the Swedish sun, late into the evening.
VAU DE VILLE, RESTAURANT
A hint of France has surfaced in Ostermalm with restaurant Vau de Ville. This neo-brasserie oozes in French style. It’s all there: wooden and marble tables, zinc bar, flowers on every table, heated terrace for those cooler summer evenings… Chef Ragnar Palacios isn’t French, but he’s certainly mastered the delights of French cuisine: boeuf bourguignon, mussels cooked marinière-style with white wine and shallots, huge grilled steaks with béarnaise sauce are just some of the traditional dishes he serves up. The cocktail list is impressive too. The champagne-based Saint-Germain is particularly intriguing. At Vau de Ville, you could just as well be in the heart of Paris. In Saint-Germain, bien sûr.
At Fou, it’s all about the decors: "bistrot" chairs, pedestal tables with cast iron legs, the walls are covered with pages from newspaper Le Monde and white tiles. The ones you find in the Paris metro! One would almost believe you had travelled all the way to the continent just for the evening. Well no, you're in one of Stockholm's night spots. Head to the night club for an unbridled night or the terrace to share a bottle of Imperial Brut Moët & Chandon champagne with friends while soaking in the last rays of sun. The most difficult will be choosing the size of the bottle from jeroboam (3 litres), mathusalem (6 litres) to nebuchadnezzar (15 litres).
Kasai is one of those places with a strong, well thought out concept. The whole venue is inspired by Japanese Ochaya, a dining club of sorts. In Japan, an Ochaya is an establishment where visitors come to eat and drink while being entertained by geishas. In Swedish terms, the entertainment comes from dancers, live music and DJ’s, while enjoying Japanese fusion cuisine and great cocktails. Under the supervision of chef Danny Elmaleh, Kasai has rapidly become one of Stockholm’s main attractions, so it’s better to book early.
V***** @ STURECOMPAGNIET, NIGHTCLUB
Some clubs come and go, others just continue getting better and better even after several decades. Stockholm’s Sturecompagniet is most definitely the latter. The club has been welcoming party goers for almost three decades, making it a landmark in Stockholm’s nightlife. Head up to the building’s top floor, that’s where the exclusive V***** room is. A club within a club for 250 select few. Once inside, seek out V Cocktail, the room’s secret cocktail bar. The subdued environment leaves room for the creative cocktails to take centre stage.
Feel like dancing all night long in an exclusive club? Bergmans is the place to go. Getting past the door is the hardest part. The club is small and exclusive. Only 250 happy few will get in but it’s definitely worth the effort. Once inside, the pumping music and sparkling Krug champagne bottles set the pace. Forgotten the pale skies at 2am that keep you awake in bed. The party is at full blast. The atmosphere is wild and fun but always elegant due to the rather classical architecture and VIP guest list.