Ahead of the release of their new album, the boys of Bloody Beach sat down with DiS to give us an indispensable guide to their hometown of Bergen. Read on for what to do should you find yourself in Norway's second-largest city while listening to an exclusive stream of Boys..
Bergen is a city packed with life. The people of Bergen are famous for being rather “un-Norwegian”, and some say it's a little piece of Italy that's somehow found its way to colder waters. Every day of the week, the locals will enjoy the city, go to concerts, go out to eat, or just chill out in parks. When the sun is out, that is.
Surrounded by seven mountains, Bergen is famous for its rainy days. Perhaps that's why there is so much good music coming out of Bergen? Artists like Annie, Datarock, Röyksopp, The Megaphonic Thrift, Susanne Sundfør, Sondre Lerche, AURORA, Sigrid, and legend composer Edward Grieg all hail from Bergen to name a few. Ahh, and yes, erhm, Kygo.
So then, let's get on with what to do...
“The New Nordic Cuisine” has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years. If you're into that, then you should definitely check out Lysverket and Bare Vestland. Both places use ingredients fished by themselves, from right outside of Bergen. The food is amazing, and the people who work there are great. If you're not into that kind of stuff and want to have the best pizza or burger in town, head to Bien Snack Bar, or Bien Centro. Chill vibes and great for a beer and a quick, but tasty meal. That also applies to Landmark, a place to go when the sun is out. Sit outside and enjoy the view of Bergen, and dig into whatever they're serving. Their commander-in-chief Torjus will make you something badass.
The Bergen music scene is very diverse. You'll find something for everything. The legendary rock club, Garage, who booked bands like Nirvana, The Libertines, and Coldplay before they rose to fame, is worth a visit. After the 90s, it's become more of a hard rock club, so if you're into that, go to Garage. Think Slash.
Landmark (yes, the same as mentioned above) is for the indie kids. Here you'll find everything from international indie bands playing, like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Whitney, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Ringo Deathstarr, to Scandinavian newcomers. When there are no concerts, there's always some DJ playing or an eclectic art exhibition. Think Thurston Moore meets Bjork.
If you're into electronica, check out Østre. Here you'll find DJ's and electronic artists delivering dance music, people are young and free. It's a nice vibe. Think keyboards, and other things stimulating.
Two other places with various great bookings in all genres are the student places Kvarteret and Hulen. The former is in the centre of town, the other inside a cave in the mountain. Both places generally have good bands playing.
Ohh, and also check out Victoria; Mancunian, in a good way. Loads of bands playing, top food, and a relaxed atmosphere.
For Museums, History & Art
The obligatory Bryggen is, of course, a must. Here you'll find some of the oldest parts of Bergen, some buildings even go back to the times of the Vikings, like Haakonshallen. There are also old churches and museums here. The main part of Bryggen consists of buildings from the Hanseatic times, where Bergen was an important city. We sold dry fish to the Europeans.
Another cool museum to visit is The Natural History Museum. The last time I was there, they had the skeleton of a giant whale hanging from the roof. Which is objectively pretty awesome.
For art, check out the KODE museums. Here you'll find paintings, drawings, and even the Norwegian Queen has an exhibition here. Slightly criticized, but hey, she's the Queen. Bergen is also sporting a lot of smaller galleries, where FELT is our favourite.
This is where we have our expertise. Basically, Bergen has a lot of good places to go out at night. You mainly want to avoid the Bryggen side of town; instead, go to the big, open square, Torgallmenningen, and then just go straight up away from Bryggen.
Soon you'll find Muskedunder, which is a cocktail-bar excellent for chilling out. They make their own juices from fresh fruit and vegetables, and also serve a lot of local beers. The music can be anything, it depends on who is working, but it's always good. Loads of people from the Bergen music scene hangs out here; it's not unusual to find Erlend Oye from Kings Of Convenience playing a guerilla gig outside or to bump into random bands in the bar.
After a while maybe head down to Ujevnt; it's a one minute walk. It was recently featured in the NY Times, getting praise for their cocktails and their general friendliness. Once you've had some beers, wine or cocktails – and want to get further boozified – head to Legal. There's always a big party here, and the sweetest people behind the bar. If you can, check it out on the last Tuesday of the month; they make free food and share it with everyone. The food is always class.
From here on, you're on your own. Head to Garage for some rock, to Landmark for some indie, or to Østre for some electronica. Then sleep tight. Or go to nachspiel.
Head to Floyen for a great view of the city. It takes roughly 30 minutes to walk to the top. Or head to Ulriken for an even greater view of the city. It takes a little longer, but you can use this gondola kind of thing. Ice cream at the top. Treat yourself.
That's it. If you do some of this, you'll probably enjoy our city. Other than that, just be yourself, smile, and don't be afraid to talk to strangers. Bergen people love to talk. Eat, drink, dance. Pub, club, sleep.
Photo Credits: Stephan Naphets, except "Muskedunder" (by Christiane Huseklepp).