Tucked away in an inconspicuous spot on Studiestræde, there’s a metaphorical slice of North American pie that many a TV aficionado would love to taste. Standing out among many late-serving cafe-bars with a cool but cosy vibe, The Log Lady is primarily a love song to the prematurely cancelled, early-1990s TV show Twin Peaks.
Despite running for just two seasons (and one movie), the series transformed the face of television forever, paving the way for much of the darker and stranger programming we enjoy today. It’s hard to imagine there being a Lost, The Sopranos or even The Killing without Twin Peaks. For a moment, it seemed the entire world was asking: “Who killed Laura Palmer?” Like few shows before, Twin Peaks captured the heart and imaginations of a generation, including those of myself and the owner of the Log Lady Cafe, Henriette Hartmann.
“For me it all started when I used to spend every summer with my grandmother in Sweden,” she recalls. “I clearly remember our conversation about this exciting new American series called Twin Peaks. I’m sure my gran had little idea about the content of the show. It turned out to be pretty scary and I was actually way too young to see it. My grandmother’s house was in some dark woods too, so the whole experience was a little overwhelming, but neither of us could stop watching.
We were hooked. I still am. A Twin Peaks-themed bar seemed like the natural expression of that.”
To Hartmann’s credit, this relatively small bar is less like a fan-made mecca and more an extension of the show’s atmosphere. It’s not crammed with memorabilia or signed photographs, rather it’s more the sort of location you might actually happen across in David Lynch’s fictional town: a neon sign flickers in the window, most of the furniture is wooden and there’s the occasional piece of taxidermy. Certain wall coverings are Native American and there are actual logs placed here and there. One blatant reference to the series is a small walkway that connects the main room and the small cosy to the toilets: its red-curtained walls and black & white zig-zag floor is directly inspired by an iconic dream-space called the Black Lodge that many viewers will be familiar with. This overall restraint reflects the good taste of Hartmann, earning her kudos from fans without scaring away potential non-Peaks punters. It seems that while many customers are fans, or at least aware of the references, there are some who are totally oblivious.
Beyond the various nods to Twin Peaks, The Log Lady doubles as a relaxing coffee break (of the damn fine variety) during the afternoon and wine/spirits bar during the evening, hosting DJs and other small-scale performances. While the beer selection is small, the brands are interesting and well-chosen.
The final allusion to the TV show is of course the name of the bar – The Log Lady is one of its most recognisable and beloved characters who, after losing her husband, finds solace in conversing with a mystical log which she cradles like a child, taking it everywhere. Hartmann explains her attraction to the character: “The Log Lady would say things that seemed crazy at first, but her log connected her to a greater understanding of things. She had a small role, but her presence was always felt, even when she was absent. She was pivotal to everything going on in the town.”
Likewise, for a growing number of Copenhageners, this bar is pivotal to their evenings out. If you’re going to the Twin Peaks-themed evening at Vega on Thursday, here’s your best start to the evening.
The Log Lady Cafe
Studiestræde 27, Cph K; open Mon-Fri 12:00-23:30 Sat 14:00-23:00; 2627 9362