Oslo Travel Guide


Even though the price level for a night in Oslo can be cruel to a budget traveller , the action has really picked up over the last 10 years. A happening local scene, simplified by trendy journalists as " The Oslo Sound", is actually something really worth checking out.

House music, drum'n'bass, hip pop, indie pop, alternative rock, soul, r&b and of course the billboard music are bomming into the many dancefloors. International bands, dj's and artists often stop over for a mid-week show in little Oslo, knowing that this is not where they make the big bucks, but a handy "tour date filler".

Almost every night you can be certain to find a talented Norwegian or international Dj spinning wax some place in Oslo. If you want to know whats going on tonight, we recommend a very good source of information called NATT &DAG. This is a free magazine, which you find at quite a few cafés and clubs, and they also have an web site: www.nattogdag.no. The web-sites www.nattguiden.no or www.oslopuls.no are also splendid guides to a good time in Oslo.Now, if you don't understand Norwegian, ask someone to translate for you.

Most bars and clubs in Oslo are open until 3-3.30 in the morning. If you're not able to find anything interesting among these, also note that many cafés turn into hot spots around 22-23 o'clock. ( Check out the " Cafés and restaurant" section, or the pubs and bars section). Beware that it's difficult to separate café, pub and club, as some clubs may serve food during the day, and some restaurants turn into "clubs" in the weekend.

All places where they serve alcohol have a minimum age limit of 18 years in the evening, and the clubs mostly prefer people of 23 or even 25 years plus. If you are 17 or younger, there are unfortunately few alternatives. Cover charges vary a lot, with some places charging only Fridays and Saturdays, others all week, and others again depending on the particular concept that night.

Pubs and bars
Onkel Donald , Universitetsgata 26
This is one of the most beautiful places to spend time if you are in city center Oslo. It is a combination of café, pub, bar and restaurant with great international cuisine. The rooms are big, trendy and breezy where you can enjoy pop and hits music. All these makes Onkel Donald a recommended place in Oslo. Professional and service minded staff, good drinks, and a nice atmosphere, though often very crowded in the weekends. The age limit is 24 years.

Bar Robinet , Mariboes gate, next to Rockefeller Music Hall
Oslo's cutest little bar. This place is where to hang out early in the evenings, and the friendly staff, friendly prices and friendly music makes it a really pleasant stay.

Mono , Pløensgate 4.
Relaxed, nice place with a good atmosphere. Here comes people who appreciate good rock music and good beer. Quality concerts and cultural arrangements makes Mono a good choice not only in the weekends, but every day, just ask one of the many regular guests.

Café Amsterdam , Universitetsgaten 11
For those dreaming about Heineken, the canals of Amsterdam and Dutch meatballs. Popular version of a Dutch café. Nice atmosphere, Dutch papers and a Dutch-speaking owner.

Teddy's Softbar , Brugata 3a
Teddy was born in the fifties and is still alive and kicking. Original interior from those years, but no more milkshake. A Teddy Boy or two is usually parked in a corner. It's hard to turn Teddy's down.

Underwater Pub , Bjerregaards gate
An alternative in the St.Hanshaugen area, this characteristic pub live up to its name. Beware, Tuesday and Thursday students from the National School of Opera have little concertos here.

Gloria Flames , Grønland 18.
Rock'n roll bar with mixed music and guests. An outdoor café is open during summerdays with nice weather. Lovely pancakes!

Bar Boca , TMgt. 30
For the best drinks in town, really, this 50s-inspired shoebox sized cocktail bar is the place to be for the non-claustrophobic drinker. 5 tables makes it impossible not to speak to your fellow bar lovers. Blue Note jazz night every Thursday.

Bar Moskva , Pilestredet / Pattakjellern. Cheap beer, NOK 31, and ”everything for sale”. You may actually buy everything in the bar, decorating the walls etc.

Mir , Toftesgate 69
The best kept secret on Grunerløkka. It is a nice local pub where you drink your beer in old plane seats. They also have concerts now and then.

Horgans , Hegdehaugsveien
American Bar, with good cocktails and burgers, and always packed with people in the weekend. Young American-loving west-end crowd!

Café Sør , Torggt.11.
This is an international and cool café between the central station and UseIt. Drinks and bites are very cheap. Evenings and weekends are animated with chill out music which makes Café Sør a unique place to be.

The Sportsbar Oslo , Rosenkrantzgt 9.
This is the most famous and biggest sport bar in Oslo, two minutes from the main walkingstreet Karl Johansgate. Different kinds of people goes there. Besides playing pool you can watch international matches. They play all kinds of music from house to hits. Age limit is 20 years.

Solli Bowlinghall Sport , Drammensveien 40.
If you are a bowling lover, this is the place you can bowl, eat pizza and have a drink. It is located just behind the castle near the Nobel Institute.

Oslo Bowling Sport Senter , Torggt 16.
This is a place to kill time and enjoy the city. Besides playing bowl and pool you can drink your coffee or beer in very comfortable atmosphere.

Entry from Møllergata Right across the street from UseIt
Sikamikanico is a pleasant and lazy espresso bar in the late afternoon/ early evening, but later turns into a happening club, with Djs shipping in every day. If the room you're staying in is a bit claustrophobic, Sika's worn car boot sale sofas make you feel at Oslo even when not. Espresso bar at daytime, and a hot place to be at nighttime. Age limit 24.

Last Train
Entry from Universitetsgaten
A small bar where listening to music and silent flirting are the two main activities. The staff put up a sign saying " No music requests", and loud rock'n'roll music makes talking difficult in groups of more than two. So just sip your pint, smile and listen. Age limit 22, cover charge during concerts.
The Living Room , Olav V's gate 1
Even if the beers are too small, this stylish and leisurely pub/bar is the best place to lounge out before or after going to one of the many cinemas in the area. Age limit 24.

Nylon , Arbeidergata 2
Don't expect any break beats or programmed hi-hats on the sound system here, but rather pop and rock from the early eighties and up till today. A nice alternative to those rather than sitting and drinking their pint, then shaking it off on the dancing floor. Age limit 20.

Killyrego , Storgata 25. Alternative and obscure Tecno. Different happenings and performance parties.

Club information

Live stages
Rockefeller Music Hall , Torggata 16 (entrance from Mariboes gate)
This is Oslo's most consistent rock venue. It has a big concerts stage with room for 1500 people. A lot of activities, ranging from concerts, cinema, literary debates etc. See program in local newspaper .no. Age limit 18, often no age limit at all.

John Dee , enter from Henrik Ibsens gate, neighbour of, and run by, Rockefeller Music Hall.
This stage aims at up and coming rock/ pop bands, and bands that are a bit past their days of Top of the Pops. John Dee also has a very cosy pub in the basement, host of Beat Basement, a rhythm'n'soul club that earned nightlife magazine NATT & DAG's Oslo good clubbing price of the year 1999. Less activity during summer. no. Age limit 18.

, Brenneriveien 9
Situatet in a former storehouse, aims to be the best jazz stage in Oslo. And there's no doubt you'll find good music here. But not jazz only, as serves a wide range of different music, and also other arrangements as book café and performance. Outdoor café next to the river Akerselva with great (and cheap) food during summer.

Cosmopolite , Møllergata 26
Oslos Multicultural music stage can offer everything from world music till jazz and contemporary music. Many conserts and festivals are held here, as Oslo Jazz Festival and Sami winterfestival. Only open at days with arrangement.

Smuget , Rosenkrantz gate 2
This is one of the biggest live stage halls in the city center with 3 stages, 6 bars, restaurant, café and nightclub. Here you will experience Norwegian music, jazz, rock, blues, R&B, funk,soul etc....You may also get the opportunity to meet Norwegian celebrities!!!!!!!
Age limit 24.

Vorspiel culture
If you plan to enjoy a night on the town with locals, you need to be aware of the typically Norwegian night life phenomenon called a "vorspiel". The Norwegians have given this German word an entirely new meaning: "Pre-party" - a party before the real party, where a few beers, glasses of wine or maybe a couple of longdrinks are consumed. The reason for this ritual is simple. As you may have discovered, alcohol and tobacco are heavily taxed in Norway. Consequently, young people in Norway make a "vorspiel" at somebody's apartment before going out, to get a little "tipsy" in a budget fashion. They bring Oslo brew, alcohol bought in shops, the Wine Monopoly, or stolen from their parents' wine cellar, put on some records, tell about the latest incidents and get on the good foot. This is often very good fun, sometimes even more amusing than the bar/clubbing bit that follows. At a "vorspiel" everybody is cheerful and still have great expectations to what experiences the night will bring. Unfortunately, "vorspiels" may also lead to people getting totally wasted before even reaching the doorstep of a club. Be aware, as you may encounter a lot of half-digested pizza on your night out in Oslo. And if you feel that sober Norwegians enjoy practising their English, those you meet at a "vorspiel" are truly blabbering away.

Nachspiel culture
If you encounter a lot of people standing around a certain club or bar after closing time, they are not necessarily drug dealers. They are probably only looking for a nachspiel. You guessed correctly, if "vorspiel" means pre-party, then "nachspiel" must mean post-party. Although most of us have attended at least one or two really good nachspiels in our lives, most nachspiels tend to end up as pretty boring wastes of sleep, or social disasters that we neither can nor want to remember.

Pint prices in bars and clubs
The price of a pint of beer can often tell you things about the bar or club you're in. Even though many Norwegian pubs have the cruel practice of serving 40 centilitre "pints" to make you empty your pockets quicker, the real Norwegian "pint" should be 50 centilitres. Also, notice how many bartenders deliberately "cut" the beers before they reach the pint line, thus saving money in the long run. Having this in mind when you order, what should you then pay for it? Well, if you pay...
...more than 50: Come on, this place is way too expensive, even for Norwegian standards! But you might also pick up or be picked up by someone stinking rich (and probably stinking drunk too).
...less than 50: This place is high average, but if you're having a really good time, maybe it's worth it?
...less than 45: This place is low average, and if you're having a good time, it's worth it.
...less than 40: Now you're talking. If the tunes and the people are good too, this might just be Your Night Out.
...less than 30: This place is either a watering hole for local alcoholics, bankruptly desperate for some business, or run by somebody who definitely makes most of his money through other methods. Probably all three. And forget about the music bit.
...less than 25: Maybe you should go Oslo now. You're too drunk to even count your change. No? Then the bartender must be your best mate - or trying to lure you Oslo.

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