Nothing like a dive bar with commitment to a theme.
The love affair between Copenhagen and the sea is both understandable and considerable, the network of waterways in and around the city’s core creating countless water-side drinking opportunities. The prevalence, then, of Copenhagen dive bars playing into the nautical theme of not just Copenhagen but Danish life is not surprising. Kanal Bodega needs no translation in name or in experience, a dive bar along one of the city’s many canals that makes ample use of its location in both amenities and appearance.
And as locations go, the Christiania neighborhood of Copenhagen certainly doesn’t skimp on appeal as it houses Freetown Christiania, an autonomous zone profoundly different than anything else found in Copenhagen or in Europe. Freetown itself holds distinct borders, though no real visual marker is necessary given the stark contrast between Freetown and the Copenhagen Christiania neighborhood that surrounds it.
Kanal Bodega sits outside of Freetown’s autonomous area in a residential area along the main canal that runs through Christiania. A first glance at the dive bar might be drawn more to that canal-side drinking setup than the bar itself. Dual tents lined with lights sit over a handful of tables ringed with chairs offer canal viewing opposite a cobblestone roadway from the Kanal Bodega proper. Bright blue signs above the door and extending from the Kanal Bodega’s exterior wall beckon drinkers passing by with a few extra outdoor tables just outside the front door.
Inside, the nautical theme comes through, the bar just inside the front door featuring every great nautical object, from porthole to ship’s wheel to thick rope. The bar itself is about the size of a porthole, a small outpost with a limited liquor offering and a handful of beer taps. Log cabin-looking walls ring the actual bar, a visual link no doubt to a ship’s cabin. Beyond, the narrow footprint extends around the corner, a few tables filling in the area. The nautical theme continues with the blue carpet that ties everything together.
Contrary to other Copenhagen dive bars, the walls here are fairly bare by dive bar standards. A ship’s clock here, an oar there, a few paintings throughout, somehow the lack of flair only accentuates the feeling of a ship’s drinking lounge. White walls, deep brown wooden tables and yes, that pervasive blue carpet, conjure up the image of drinking in the captain’s quarters.
And really what else could be asked of a canal-side dive bar like this one than some water-adjacent seating and devotion to a nautical motif. For an area flush with not just drinking options but counter-culture autonomy, Kanal Bodega slots right in, a stationary ship that pays tribute to Copenhagen’s connection with the sea.