After diamonds, cocktails are probably a girl’s best friend. And cocktails are what Karriere Bar does best. Tucked into a converted slaughterhouse in Kødbyen, the meatpacking district, the restaurant has held onto some remnants from its bloodier days. Hooks in the ceiling are a silent reminder of what it was once used for, though the brightly-lit, spacious room is no longer a site of carnage but a bustling room where the sounds of countless conversations blend in and out with music provided by the house DJ-producer duo, Traplite.
Walking into Karriere Bar is like entering a modern art exhibition. After taking a few seconds to adjust to the dimmed lighting, your eyes will fall upon a long metallic bar, chairs that look like they should have ‘Do Not Sit’ placards hanging off them, and lightbulbs draped over oval sheets of metal hanging low over colourful wooden tables. Despite the trendy surroundings, we felt welcomed immediately as we were led to our table and seated on the forbidding chairs (which were actually quite comfortable).
As we pored over the menus, a bowl containing two pieces of warm, dark rye bread baked in the shape of cupcakes appeared at our table, accompanied by a slate slab with a cold chunk of salty butter. We placed our orders: my dining partner opted for the Roasted duck breast with baked rhubarb and wasabi and a side of quinoa salad with fresh cucumber, melon and mint. Dining out as a vegetarian in Denmark is tough, especially if, like me, you don’t eat fish. This ruled out all the starters and mains for me, so I chose two side dishes. I went for the same Quinoa salad as my partner, and new potatoes with parsley butter. I ordered the Voyeur Baby cocktail to accompany my meal, while my partner had the Red Cow.
The drinks arrived first, in tall, frosty glasses filled to the brim and topped with mountains of ice. Mine came without a straw, and our waitress told me it was so that I could “get the full experience” by sipping from the glass. She was right – the celery ice on top of fresh apple juice mixed with lime, mint and green chartreuse was delicious, and a refreshing start to the night ahead. The Red Cow was just as good. It was like a mojito with a ginger kick, and the heat of the ginger and aquavit clashed perfectly with the cool drink.
Then came the food. My partner described the duck as an orgasm in her mouth. The wasabi complemented the duck, and its slight toughness forced her to eat it slowly, savouring each mouthful. The graininess of the quinoa, paired with crunchy cucumber and juicy melon, created a novel fusion of textures. The potatoes were warm and cooked just right, served in a small bowl swimming in melted butter flavoured with parsley.
Next, it was time for more cocktails, this time with dessert. There were two desserts on the menu, so we ordered both. The waitresses were ready with suggestions, helping us choose drinks to enrich the flavours of our desserts. Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb was a creamy pudding and a small cake, topped with foam – all rhubarb, of course. The pudding was cold and creamy, and was complemented by the slight acidity of the foam. This dessert was paired with the Rhubarb Collins cocktail. The fizziness and the fresh aftertaste of strawberries made it one I’ll be craving all summer, and eating the alcohol-infused strawberries was a scrumptious treat.
The other dessert, Carrot orange & kisses, was carrot ice cream served with meringue wafers and a small orange tart drizzled with a tangy orange sauce. The ice cream had a pleasant, distinctly carrotty taste. This came with Buck’s Rum Cup, an orange and rum cocktail with almond flavouring. Though rum was the dominant flavour, berries and orange rounded off each gulp.
The last cocktail. This time, we decided to be adventurous and chose the keyword cocktails. You choose three words from choice of aromatic or refreshing, strong or weak, dark spirit or light spirit – and a bartender whips up a drink. I chose aromatic, strong and light spirit, and ended up with a drink called The Journalist. Boy, was it strong – the mix of gin, orange liquor and sweet and dry vermouth caught me off-guard.
While the prices at Karriere Bar & Restaurant may seem daunting at first, a three-course menu with cocktails for 345kr is a great deal, and with food and drinks as mouth-watering as these, it’s worth every penny. At 22:00, the music goes up in preparation of the night ahead, and the bar is overrun with 20-somethings downing drinks and flirting with bartenders.
It’s the ideal place to eat and drink summer nights away with a group of close friends, while speakers thump out heavy bass lines and the sun never quite sets in the distance.
Flæsketorvet 57, 1711 Cph V
Open Thu 16:00-24:00, Fri 16:00-04:00, Sat 18:00-4:00, restaurant is open Thu-Sat 18:00-22:00
Three courses with cocktails: 345kr