Spirited Traveller: Oslo for tipplers on expenses

Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:22am EST
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By Kara Newman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oslo is best known for its picturesque fjords and easy access to world-class skiing, but don't overlook its city life. Norway's capital has a vibrant nightlife and budding cocktail scene.

Some tips for the Oslo-bound business traveller: First, bring the corporate charge card. Norway is among the most affluent nations and its prices are sky-high, meaning $18 cocktails are common.

Second, do as the Norwegians do: Pre-party. Taxes on alcohol are high, and drinks are expensive, so many locals drink at home before heading out to the bars, a practice known as "vorspiel." (Bartenders may not appreciate my sharing this information. Sorry, guys.)

Third, expect to reserve tippling for the weekend, or be prepared to travel a little for a good drink.

"Oslo is a small city compared to international standards and weekdays are generally quiet, at least in the city centre where most hotels are," says Monica Berg, bartender at Oslo's Aqua Vita.

In the buttoned-up city centre, tippling is most likely to take place at business-friendly restaurants and hotel bars.

Berg's picks for business travellers include Theatercafeen (bit.ly/uef5Z2) located within the five-star Hotel Continental, the last of the grand Viennese cafés in the north of Europe, and the Bristol Bar within the Bristol Hotel (bit.ly/oSUsW9), a classic hotel bar setting with well-made cocktails and an international clientele.

Next door to the Bristol is Icebar Oslo (www.icebar.no/),   Continued...