Grab a newspaper and stay awhile.
Talk of the Christiania neighborhood of Copenhagen naturally centers on the autonomous Freetown Christiania zone that occupies the center of the area. The attention is natural given the unique existence of a self-governing district in the center of one of Europe’s great cities, but there is more to the neighborhood than Freetown itself. Café Staerkodder occupies a corner just outside of the Freetown district, the perfect dive bar outpost to readjust to more “traditional” society after exploring Freetown (and stopping at Café Woodstock, of course).
It would be easy to miss Café Staerkodder altogether, the exterior one that largely blends into the residential building that houses the dive bar. A carved wooden sign above the door and the simple outdoor seating that lines the sidewalk indicate the contents of the space, but on a slow day, Café Staerkodder looks like maybe a coffee shop serving local residents. Instead, this is a comfortable neighborhood dive bar with low ceilings and a narrow footprint.
In contrast to the grey and white exterior, the tones inside are considerable warmer, dark wood paneling giving way to light brown walls. Inside the front door, a handful of tables line each side of the slender space. Large wooden beams break up the layout of the ceiling, and this reviewer’s Copenhagen ignorance comes into play as there are a handful of mysterious wooden items that look like sawed-off baseball bats affixed to each beam.
The walls are largely bare, a handful of beer signs and painting mixing to create the interior decorations. In contrast to the classic dive bar drop ceiling, the ceiling tiles at Café Staerkodder look shockingly clean and classy, extending the streamlined vibe of the dive bar. A small bar at the back takes up precious little space, important given the limited space available. A few taps augment a more extensive liquor selection than the physical space might suggest.
And beyond the physical amenities within, Café Staerkodder is the kind of place to grab a few beers with Copenhagen locals and neighbors. The corner spot, the residential surrounding area, the small footprint, the fact that on a Saturday night, the lone drinker at the bar was looking through the day’s newspaper, this is a neighborhood pub crossed with a dive bar located in one of Copenhagen’s most interesting neighborhoods.