Historiens Hus City archives plus reading room in the old monastery

Historiens Hus
Culture | Klosterbakken 2, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 17 recommendations

Behind the Cathedral is a paved yard. No one ever goes in there, as it looks like access is reserved to priests and priestly things. But if you do go in and walk in the direction of the blossoming laburnum on the right-hand corner, you get to the History House.

Here you may get shocked by the fact that both a library, a reading hall, an auditorium, and a nice green view over the cloister yard are hiding behind the arched ceilings. All of it is entirely public and open for all.

On the first floor is Odense's best hidden reading room, in the middle of the library, with fourteen seats of pure cloisterly reading peace. The atmosphere is medieval through art nouveau — the building sits on Skt. Knuds Cloister's ground but was home to fabric manufacture during Odense's golden industrial years. Here, on this most sacred ground, stood Odense's first steam engine as early as in 1839!

This may be why the cloister burned down in the beginning of the next century. In 1919 the place was rebuilt to host a multi-culture house with the public reading room. Here the archivists are still ready to help you, or to let you mind your readings and thinkerings under the reading lamps. 

Everything in this place tells a very human history. On top of their recurring events in the series 'Husker du...' (a kind of collective reminiscence-lectures about specific places and times, where the participants also can contribute with memories) and 'Torsdagsmik' (morning lectures with coffee and bread rolls), the History House regularly arranges events that draw on the vast knowledge that the Local Historic Archive and the National Archive have what life in Odense was like in the past.

At the History House I learned for instance that Odense between 1983 and 1991 had a women's book café called Basviola. It was located in Grønnegade, it had curvy 80's-style letterings on the windows, and on top of selling books it regularly hosted the meetings of five groups: SF's womens group, Women Advice, Women over 40, the Lesbian Movement, and the Working group for women studies at Odense University (as it was called back then). No men allowed, it goes without saying.

This exciting piece of information turned up into my life during a lecture at the History House about the Redstocking movement in Odense. Here in the audience were a number of the leading figures in the activist movements of that time, who contributed to the discussion with corrective commentaries. Titillating both for my curiosity and for my understanding of how the city is driven by those people that want something and do something about it. And when either those people or the zeitgeist disappear, places disappear too, often without any trace.

What drives the History House is a fusion of written and oral stories. Whenever the city changes its looks — as it is doing right now — it is always fun to remind oneself that it's happened before, and that it is only our city for a short while. Being reminded of all the layers of other people's movements on (and behind and under) every facade makes me even happier, whenever I walk around town.

  • Mon - Tue: 12.00 - 16.00
  • Wed: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Thu: 14.00 - 19.00
  • Fri - Sun: -
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Byens Bro Architectural landmark connecting city and harbour has the best new views of both

Byens Bro
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Østre Stationsvej 35, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | 4 recommendations

Get up high and take a view of the harbor from “Byens Bro”, Odense’s newest landmark connecting the city and the harbour giving both pedestrians and cyclists a different view of the city.

A few times a year I find myself in a situation where I don’t feel like it is my responsibility to create the city Odense deserves to be; where I can relax and enjoy the city-moment. This happens during the film festival and Phono festival. But it also happened during this year’s harbour culture festival, when I was standing on “Byens Bro” admiring the dramatic thunder lit sky and the sun setting low behind the clouds cutting a brutal silo landscape in the harbor. Dramatic and rich and yet so peaceful.

Something happens when you see a city from up high. Your perspective changes. It is like seeing a landscape from your childhood as an adult for the first time. Your view is different; you notice new gaps and spaces, you are forced to reinterpret what see. The view from “Byens Bro” is an experience.

The bridge is more than just a look-out post and a practical link for pedestrians and cyclist, it’s an experience in its own right. With its 135 swirling organic meters spanning the tracks, it seems to be challenging the functionalism and modernistic mantra that straight ahead is the fastest way forward. On the southern side of the bridge, 40 meters of vertical glistening pylon rises towards the sky. A vulgar manifestat for the city's transformation, crying out to passing jutlanders and copenhageners that here is a good reason to get off the train here.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Gastroteket A kind-hearted French-Nordic deli and eatery with attention to detail

Gastroteket
Eating | Nørregade 39, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Francois Picard | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 1 recommendations

Funen is Denmark's Provence. The best food in the country has always grown in Funen's soil, and in this Funen-French melting pot, you'll be served the best from both worlds, with a twist of classical, French know-how.

At the Gastroteket, you will find both a nordic interior and French-Funen dishes: delicatessens, simmered dishes, pig-based food from nose to tail, local vegetables and subtle wines, served in bright, well-appointed spaces. Mostly organic. And of course, all the delicatessens and cold meat slices, you may dream about, to take away to your home-sweet-home or in one of the town's parks. Delicatessens and cold meat slices that you always can taste, before being prepared and packed for you.

The Gastroteket is located in a street, in which you will as well find an organic bakery, furnitures, a chocolate shop, and an enchanting café, the most natural, Lyonese delicatessen shop and restaurant in all its subdued elegance and simplicity.

If it makes any difference to your visit, then it is entirely positive, as, at the Gastroteket, the service is as informal as the the quality is high.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Fri: 11:30 - 21:30
  • Sat: 10:00 - 21:30
  • Sun: -
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Flakhaven Explore Odense’s power axis: City Hall and cathedral on the square

Flakhaven
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Flakhaven, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | 19 recommendations

The square of power: City Hall and the Cathedral . Kings, priests and merchants. The church doesn’t command the power that it used to, but still intimidates with its physique. City Hall still towera confidently and across the square, the financial world pushes on, backed by Magasin and the rest of the city’s shopkeepers. The sculpture Oceania – the naked woman – is laid out in the middle of the town hall square, her womb facing these masculine dominants.

But you can just leave all those thoughts behind and eat your ice cream from Frellsens Chokolade on the sunny benches in front of city hall while watching the kids playing by sliding down Oceania’s sprawling body.

On the southern side of City Hall you will find Odense City Gardens – www.odensebyhaver.dk – and if you look closely, you will find the most precious old herb garden behind the cathedral, taking you back to the silence of the monasteries and a more devout and sincere life.

Stroll along to Eventyrhaven (Fairy Tale Gardens), away from agents of hard power and down to nature’s poetry.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Thomas B. Thriges Gade A new neighbourhood is in the pipeline. Walk through, past, and around to enjoy the chaos while it lasts

Thomas B. Thriges Gade
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Hans Jensens Stræde 17, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Photo: Niels Holmgaard | 3 recommendations

If you are a Odense native, you are familiar with Thomas B. Thriges Gade, and if not, you should get to know it. When it was established in 1970, four track were ploughed through much of the city’s industrial and cultural heritage, from the Nørrebro sailor’s district, through a famous apothecary garden, to stately buildings in the city centre. It even lead to a dispute, when ”Industripalæet” – the community house of bourgeoisie – was, ironically, protected from demolition by left wing squatters. Until the summer of 2014, the street was a prime example of unsuccesful, short-sighted city planning.

Now, after 44 years of ferocious discussion, the street has been closed and a new district is blooming with the ”Odeon” building (a location for music, theatre, and conferences), a hotel, residences dressed in green, modern cohabitation, a fairy tale house of international character (perhaps underground?), restored historical small streets, market squares (and perhaps a market hall?), light rail, super bicycle lane, and a large city park.

It is not uncommon that large cities fully or partially close off both minor and major streets (changing from traffic to cafés on Broadway in New York, from car street to bus street on Nørrebrogade in Copenhagen, from transit street to park in Madrid in Spain, from highway to open river in Seoul in South Korea, from worn down street to cozy river setting in Oklahoma in the USA, in Aarhus in Denmark, and many other places). The great thing is the rare opportunity for Odense to tie together the city and to create the most intimate metropolitan city centre in Denmark.

The plans for the future of Thomas B. Thriges Gade are on display in the red info house on Vilhelm Werners Plads and, while the build is under way, you can experience temorary activites in the area, like the decorations of the street fence by street artists, or peek through the fence and marvel at that really big hole in the ground.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Galleri 5000 A (secret) gallery with the best of Danish visual arts hidden away in an apartment

Galleri 5000
Culture | Filosofgangen 3, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | 1 recommendations

The best gallery in town is also the best kept secret. Galleri 5000 is Peter Thomsen's spacious third-floor apartment on Filosofgangen. Here, decor and art bombard the senses in alternating exhibitions. Genres and prices fluctuate, but the quality is consistent.

Go exploring among paintings, photography, prints and sculpture by artists of varying fame, some of them local. You will find names such as Peter Martensen, John Olsen and Per Arnoldi, with price tags ranging from a couple of hundred to a million kroner.

Peter Thomsen is a kind, knowledgable host, patient with visitors who need a briefing on stylistic periods and artists' names.

You can always try the doorbell, but if you want to make sure that the gallerist is in, you should call ahead on 24 23 73 57 and make an appointment. Ahead of your visit, you can delve into the gallery's website, which lists more than 2.300 works of art for sale.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Antikvariatet Find your next great read in the little antiquarian bookstore

Antikvariatet
Shopping | Klaregade 27, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 1 recommendations

I’ve always carried books with me, and when I moved to Odense to study at university I found the antiquarian bookseller on Klaregade to be my anchor, my oasis in the desert of real life. And if you consider that Odense is a university town and proportionally there should be quite a few that could benefit from that little shop, I’ve rarely met others on my peregrinations there, though I go there quite often. It’s strange because the prices are fair, the books in good condition, and there’s an ok flow of new (old) books. 

The place is not super big, but it’s crammed with a hell lot of books and a fragrant atmosphere, that only old books can give. Their philosophy, history and anthropology sections are particularly nice. They have a passable section of Danish classics and a nice selection of English masterpieces. The books are categorized by either country or topic, and there’s often a nice selection across the board. The only thing that I’ve always found irritating is that they don’t have a good selection of French literature.

Still, it’s pretty much the only place in town where you can buy poetry and dramas, so that’s really nice. The owners are very sweet and knowledgeable people, who know precisely where to find anything you might be looking for, so you just need to ask them.  

  • Mon - Fri: 12.00 - 17.30
  • Sat: 11.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
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Svømmehallen Klosterbakken It’s great to swim. Especially in the city’s evocative 1930’s swimming pool

Svømmehallen Klosterbakken
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Klosterbakken 5, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 4 recommendations

"I wish you could swim. like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim"

I think - with the late legend Bowie in mind - that you should go for a swim at Klosterbakken's public baths! Yeah, that's all. Go for a swim in the most beautiful indoor pool in Odense and enjoy the 1930s ambience from its red brick exterior to its grand mural above the waters. And of course the iconic neon sign outside depicting a 90-degree angle "heil" - or is it just a swimmer poised to jump? It is all in the eye of the beholder. Either way, it is a nice building and we don't swim enough.

Swimming is good for you, I hear. Fun, too. Not poetic, though. Looking at swimmers is an ugly activity. It is a awkward discipline. You feel awkward, too, when you're swimming. It is not an aestetically pleasing sport. I don't recall there being many images of swimmers in Leni Riefenstahl's art film on athletes, which otherwise includes lock, stock and barrel of classical and poetic sports. Who among us don't recall the images of a muscular, adroit discus-thrower. But no swimmers. It just isn't poetic.

Consider the American superstar swimmer Michael Phelps. Looking at him is like watching a bicycle pump at full speed in a blizzard. His speed is uncanny, but it has no swing - there is no poetry or elegance in the mechanical thrashing through chlorine water. I don't know if I really see more elegance in the movements of Vladimir Salnikov, Soviet triple gold medalist from 1980, but I like to think I do. I never saw him live, of course, but I have seen recordings of him and there was a certain elegant humanity to his appearance, despite his training under grotesque Soviet conditions. A master of the hostile, wet element.

Even if we aren't able to swim as fast nor look good while doing it, we shouldn't be discouraged from heading to Klosterbakken for a swim. Enjoy it. Enjoy the water and with every stroke feel your body rejoicing. It has saved me from many a hungover shitty morning; going for a dip before work or as a refreshing Sunday actitivity. And if you meet a dolphin in the water, let it swim past you. They're incredibly rare around these parts, and probably protected, too.

The public swimming baths at Klosterbakken date back to 1938 and the building is even older, and it has undergone major modernization several times since then, first in the 1970s, and most recently a general overhaul in 2010-11. The latest addition is a welness area with fitness facilities, spa, steam baths and saunas.

  • Mon: 06.00 - 20.30
  • Tue: 06.30 - 20.30
  • Wed: 06.00 - 20.30
  • Thu: 06.30 - 19.00
  • Fri: 06,00 - 19.00
  • Sat: 07.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: 08.00 - 14.00
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Restaurant Goma Exceptional contemporary Danish-Japanese fusion cuisine

Restaurant Goma
Eating | Kongensgade 66-68, Odense C | Written by: Brian Lindskov Larsen | 1 recommendations

Goma was one of the first substantial alternative gourmet restaurants to appear in Odense and with its neat fusion of Japanese sushi and, well, everything else, including pork rinds, served in cool surroundings, it quickly became a hit – and it hasn’t lost its momentum since.

I once celebrated a birthday there with my girlfriend and child and on top of great, inventive meal I was pleasantly surprised to find the waiters friendly without being fawning. There is a hyped cocktail bar in the evening with herbal gins and a dj and the restaurant features occasional exclusive wine, champagne & gastro events.

Goma is youthful without being stupid – a rarity.

  • Mon - Thu: 17.30 - late
  • Fri: 16.00 - late
  • Sat: 17.30 - late
  • Sun: -
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W A squeezed-in bar on the first and second floors of a townhouse, New York-style

W
Drinking | Vestergade 60, Odense C | Written by: Kasper Herschend | Translated by: Francois Picard | 1 recommendations

In Skovshoved, twenty minutes by car from Copenhagen on the coastal road towards Helsingør, lies a service station. But it is not just a common service station! This service station was built in 1936, from the design of Arne Jacobsen, and is located directly between the marina and the coastal road. Today, the building is listed and the filling station understaffed, but when the station finally emerged about 80 years ago, and saw the daylight with all its splendor, the service was simply exceptional. 

W is not one architectural standard, and probably will never become one, but it definitely echoes this service station 80 years ago. Because here the service is warm and well-organized, when the pump attendant little Carl takes care of the taps.

Between a late Saturday evening and an early Sunday stroll, I am used to land on one W's bar stool, after having successfully defeated the handicap-unfriendly stairs. Because when you go on an early Sunday trip through our city, you generally need a regular refill of washer fluid, and why not then do it here, where a cold one is served à la singing Funen? If the designer of the Ægget and Myren chairs has been functionalist in any other way than his figurative language, he would have been here at the bar. With the big window in his back, he would have drunk a Tuborg and would not have been the last one to leave a comment by the TV-fireplace about the ceiling that would have reminded him that the new becomes old as well one day.

In other words, one of the city best-manned service stations is right here in the center and is worth a visit in every way.

  • Mon - Tue: -
  • Wed: 16.00 - 02.00
  • Thu - Sat: 16.00 - 03.00
  • Sun: 16.00 -
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Moby Disc Good music and good advice from this independent cult shop. New and used vinyl and CD’s

Moby Disc
Shopping | Skt. Knuds Kirkestræde 2A, Odense C | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn | 4 recommendations

For years I’ve said that the day Moby Disc won’t exist anymore, I’ll move to another city. But first of all I’m going to tell a story from the past (but please don’t tell my sweet girlfriend about it):

”Endnu en nat på værtshus” - “Another night at the bar”, as Kim Larsen sings, and possibly even the grimmest of bars in Odense. Ferndale - Vandalen among friends - on Vesterbro, recently the scene of a crime. But through the dense mist of cigarette smoke and liquor appears a young, redheaded girl with the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen. She’s even a Doors fan and her favorite book is “The Catcher in the Rye”. What more can I say… probably not so much. CUT. It’s broad daylight, and we say goodbye on the sidewalk. And although she’s from Aarhus, I say confidently: “See you soon!”. To which she answers: “Maybe!”. But there is more to come, because soon after that ’the Nice Norwegian’ and I are a couple of numbers down Rabalderstrædet, crashing the newly opened Moby Disc.

Per Ellegaard Pedersen, owner of the second-hand record store, is the Nice Norwegian’s neighbor. Before Per even opened the shop, he was the proud owner of a couple thousand LPs in his apartment - which served as a kind of candy shop for us. We borrowed, among others, records by the masterful Warren Zevon, though I can brag about having introduced him to My Bloody Valentine. Downstairs we also met his friends, and went with them to an Iggy Pop concert in Copenhagen. We were just kids and kept ourselves at safe distance, slightly mortified by the stinging comments about our lousy music tastes (I haven’t turned into one those people now that I'm older, have I?). Per was however - and still is - a nice guy. As a poor student, I always got full value for my old-butt records, just like I was granted access to the stalactitic cave of a basement, where all the really precious rarities were kept.

Later on, Moby Disc moved to Skt. Knuds Kirkestræde and became somewhat fancier. I think I got to know all the employees that worked there. I remember Lilian as a musical muse, who knew how to sell up-to-the-minute trendy music; and Martin, who labeled my potential purchases as “mainstream" and I, ashamed, would put them right back in a hurry and leave the place. Yes, the High Fidelity-spirit was a thing there. And then Moby Disc moved to Nørregade a couple of years ago. AC/DC tribute-band “AC/HD” played a show for the event, and they returned the day the shop closed in Nørregade. A day of mourning - an Odense instutition gone forever!

But that was only for a short while. Moby Disc continued as an online shop and was resurrected in the winter of 2015 in a new spot in Skt. Knuds Kirkestræde.

And here it lies today - slightly over-lit and heavy on the merch - but still a sure source of good sound and good advice.

  • Mon - Thu: 10.00 - 17.30
  • Fri: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 15.00
  • Sun: -
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Eventyrhaven Riverside gardens with room for promenaders, kids, and a mid-morning beer with the white noise of the city above

Eventyrhaven
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Eventyrhaven, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 7 recommendations

Don’t be fooled by its name – at Eventyrhaven (literally, The Fairytale Garden) there is neither amusement park nor tourist trap in sight; instead, you’ll find a green slice of heaven perfect for sunbathing in the middle of the city. Its official name might be H.C. Andersen’s Garden and sure enough the poet himself stands tall in superhuman size on its hills, yet this river valley park is never called by any other name than Eventyrhaven, and old H.C. is nothing but a dash in the mind of dreamers (and the occasional tourist) here. Instead, the key figures of the place are the soulful nymph Echo on the hill (Aksel Hansen, 1888) and the waterborne iron sculpture Papirbåden/Paper Boat (Erik Heide, 1985), each stirring the imagination of grown-ups and children in their own way.

Despite a playground and a salsa corner with a small café, Eventyrhaven maintains a rather more refined, even secret aura than any other park in the city. Perhaps it stems from the fact that the park is really an island in the Odense River; perhaps because of its history – once a convent garden, it was later turned into an exclusive haven for the bourgeois patrons of the city’s Reading Society and it remained so until 1942, when the whole area was opened to the public, including the herb garden of the cloisters.

Today its gentle hills are open all year round to promenaders, sunbathers and playing children. Yes, hills – in Odense! The steps leading down towards the river are steep and veritably beg for a death-defying bicycle dash. But if you turn around halfway down and look back up, you’ll see the cathedral and the city hall take on unexpected grandeur and height above you. Even after the nearby Albanigade has been closed for traffic, you can always hear the hum of city in the park, but it is white noise under the sound quacking ducks and the reggae music that a group of school kids are sure to be playing at any given sunny day as they set up camp with blankets on the lawns.

Watch the changing seasons in the circular flower garden, surrounded by an overgrown archway providing shade for lovers and beer drinkers alike, no matter the time of day.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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No. 61 The pioneer among local bistros, but still as good as ever

No. 61
Eating | Kongensgade 61, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen

The best bistro/brasserie in Denmark 2014. Simple, rustic, and honest. French, Danish, European. Good Funen produce. A well-assorted wine map. Intimate and informal like a French country kitchen.

One really does not need to add anything else. But there is more. Martin Pilsmark, educated chef, waiter, and sommelier, is also the author of the cookbook ”61 Licks”, based on the courses served at No. 61 and elected for the best Danish cookbook publication in 2014 and, as of yet, one of the world’s 8 best cookbooks in the running for ”Gourmand Best Chef Cookbook in the World”.

The opening of Restaurant No. 61 in 2010, helped start the large gastronomic blossoming in Odense, which has led to No. 61 now being one of three excellent restaurants in the northern end of Kongensgade street.

You will always be met with exceptional service and high spirits.

Main course: 195 dkkr

2 courses: 285 dkkr

3 courses: 345 dkkr

Wine menu per glass: 75 dkkr

If your mouth waters at the thought of roasted cockerel with green asparagus, spring onions, and sauce velouté with morels, then remember to make a reservation!

  • Mon - Sat: 17.00 - 24.00
  • Sun: -
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Det Gode Brød Organic family bakery. Echt. Get there before the bread sells out!

Det Gode Brød
Shopping | Nørregade 35, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik

Nettle rolls, rosmary loaves, rundstykker that are actually filling, and real rye bread. Demeter juice and farm-fresh milk in the fridge, and small rolls on the house for the 3-year old with grubby hands reaching for bread. Everything baked with sourdough and top-notch ingredients, as in TOP-notch: when the custard in your Danish is visibly packed with real vanilla, you know these people are serious about baking.

Pass - don't enter, pass - Lagkagehuset and their de-vitaminised middle-of-the-road bake-off and continue for another three minutes down Nørregade, where you'll find baked goods germinated to the core. There is a revolt taking place in no. 35. A revolt against a Europe exhausting its flour, and thus, its bread: by chasing the formal qualities of flour - rise!rise!rise! - we have purged its flavour and vitamins to such a degree that the continent is slowly malnourishing.

And where other bakers use shady methods and pump up the easy additives - fat & sugars - and leave you with a strange coating on the roof of your mouth after you finish your cinnamon roll, a cinnamon roll from Det Gode Brød (Good Bread) is delicious because the raw material is too. Their flour (freshly ground, organic, biodynamic), their cinnamon, their sugar, their butter (not margarine!) - everything is high quality.

A tip, to avoid frustrated visits: unlike other bakeries, who will display shelves groaning with bread 2 minutes before closing time, this bakery actually becomes sold out towards the end of the day. So if you have your mind set on a particular poppy-seed Danish or that nettle roll (which is spectacular), you will need to get moving.

If you have met the family running the bakery, there will be no doubt in your mind that the reason they know what constitues Good Bread is because they have given The Good Life some thought, too.

In every way a flavourful revolt that comes with the warmest of recommendations.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Thu: 07.00 - 16.00
  • Fri: 07.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 07.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
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Graabrødre Klosterkirke Medieval friary in wildly urban setting is still a church worth attending

Graabrødre Klosterkirke
Culture | Gråbrødre Plads 1, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 1 recommendations

The Graabrødre Cloister Church was originally a hospital with a church attached to it. But the original church was dilapidated in the 1800's, and what in the old days was the hospital was turned into the church that we know today. Like a hospital for the soul.

The vaulted hallway that makes up the entrance to the new church is what remains of the old one. It's age-old, way back from the 1200's. It's here, under the beautiful low ceilings, that people drink the real red wine after mass. Here is congregation and community, if you want. If you don't, you're free to go. Mass is at a perfect time, Sunday at 5PM, so if you've had a few, you have time sleep it off.

Priests from the Cathedral take turns at the pulpit, so every Sunday you can get a different variant: the liberal, the bigot, and the reflective.

Around the church is the cloister, which today is inhabited by nuns, but also by regular older ladies. Very nice location for very cheap money. From their privileged position, they often shout at the young skaters hanging out on the other side of the street, in front of Skatehouse. I find it somehow absurd to wish that life don't make noise. Jesus surely wouldn't mind a little noise and fuss — at least if I understood him correctly.

  • Mon: 14.00 - 16.00
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  • Wed: 14.00 - 16.00
  • Thu: -
  • Fri: 14.00 - 16.00
  • Sat - Sun: -
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Vinotek A Fynnis Selections from small wineries from all over Italy and a guaranteed cosy chat with (non-Italian) Bruno behind the counter

Vinotek A Fynnis
Shopping | Klostervej 31, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen

Bruno Jensen is a good-natured locomotive driver from Jutland in a nice cardigan, with an Italian wine shop in Odense. It is as cozy as it sounds, and hidden from everyone else than the ones he lets in.

For almost 2 decades, he has managed Vinotek a Fynnis in Klostergade, and for almost 2 decades, he has introduced special Italian wines to his customers, made of known, and less-known grapes, and often from smaller producers.

And all of that is actually quite a part of the experience at the wine store, as Bruno reminds me most of this good companion during a family birthday in Jutland. Histories flow peacefully like a never-ending stream, and it rarely takes less than half an hour to buy a few bottles of wine.

But don't be mistaken. Bruno knows his wines, which he imports himself, and his producers, who he imports from, and he will with pleasure give to the willing novices a very knowledgeable introduction about the Italian vineyards.

There is always an opportunity to taste, before you buy, and there are as well often thematic wine tastings and good offers under the carpet, especially for the members of the free wine club. Follow Vinotek A Fynnis on Facebook and subscribe to the club and the newsletter on the shop website, so that you won't anything anymore.

  • Mon - Tue: -
  • Wed - Fri: 14.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 15.00
  • Sun: -
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Dr. Adams Independent fashion pusher with well-sourced garments

Dr. Adams
Shopping | Pogestræde 24-28, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen

Contemporary, mainline and street. If you are into APC, AMI, Maison Margiela, Common Projects, Henrik Vibskov, Paul Smith and what is more street, then Dr. Adams is your independent fashion pusher.

A cozy little shop in the ancient “Pogestræde” (Poge street) which has evolved dramatically since its opening in the mid-nineties and is now Odense’s undisputed supplier of clothing to the fashionable city people.

The two owners handpick the styles of the season – always a good starting point for an edgy concept, although the selection and the ambitions can be better still.

The shop owners throw intimate backyard bashes for the store customers on sunny summer nights - follow their social profiles to learn more.

  • Mon - Fri: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Odense Chokoladehus Fine chocolate craftmanship with heart and soul. Also try their perfect lemon tart

Odense Chokoladehus
Shopping | Nørregade 32, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

Odense Chokoladehus (The Odense Chocolate House) is situated in Nørregade, kind of hidden and without flashy signposting. But as you walk through the door, you step into a fragrant world of crumbly-soft macarons in all the colors of the rainbow packed in beautiful boxes, of filled chocolates, and of voluptuous desserts.

My life has never been the same since I took a bite of a small tart on a base of almond flour with a chilled sweet-sour lemon and white chocolate cream. It's an incredibly little creature.

The Chocolate House is not a chocolate-factory with industrial products, but a chocolate-laboratory, where magnificence is created curiously and cleverly by Tine and Thormar, confectioners, chocolatiers, and owners of the place. This is not the typical place where you buy nougat with nougat on top, or where change and experimentation mean sprinkling licorice powder on everything and nod contentedly. These guys use seared caramel, pink peppercorn and balsamic vinegar as unexpected, but much welcome taste nuances.

If you are a chocolate enthusiast, Chokoladehuset offers also a range of workshops and lectures in their laboratory, where you for instance can learn which whiskies, rums, snaps and beer are a good pairing for your chocolate.

It's also always good to have a serious chocolate-event up one's sleeve, just in case...

Check the full program here and follow Chokoladehuset on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chokoladehus

 

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Fri: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Sat: 10:00 - 13:30
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Ungdomshusets Café Great affordable food cooked by volunteers in a youth community building. Brunch, burgers, vegan nights

Ungdomshusets Café
Eating | Ungdomshuset, Nørregade 60, Odense C | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the ... that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Jesus)

As far as restaurants are concerned, my qualifications are in order, as I have tried almost all of the circa 100, we have in Odense. From the humblest polsevogn to the most expensive restaurant. In all these places, I ate everything that was on the table with a good appetite. But what I don’t like is the all-to-fresh twelve-year-old-girls giving lessons about the menu and the wine card while my food sits there and gets cold, and I get dehydrated. In general, I am not much for food snobbery. It’s yet another way in which more privileged people discriminate those that can’t afford the same treatment. What I am, though, is a music snob: my kids had me almost already married to an otherwise attractive woman, who however disqualified herself by sending an sms with her top-10 tracks, which included songs by U2, REM and Pearl Jam.

Well, what matters the most to me, when going out feeding, is first and foremost to meet cool people. And when Bobby from Dubrovnik is almost too much (Slivovitz) of the good stuff, then I would recommend Ungdomshusets Café. Five years ago, when I lodged in Nørregade 60 and was bored and had sadness in my heart, that was always the café to turn to. And easy now: the café is not exclusively for classic ungdomshus-types with piercings and black hoodies. It is actually a place for all kinds of people of all ages. Not least, it’s a place for youth school people, who usually make for a rather colorful assembly.

The first time I ever visited the place I even ran into Sune from Talent 2008, who is something of a character in himself. And he couldn’t have said it better, when he said: “People here are not crazy - but it’s ok if you are”. Another anecdote from Ungdomshuets Café, which made me really happy, is from that time Steen Viggo dismembered a badger for chef Thor’s well read young students from Kold College og produktionsskolen, while he (under the title “The Lord’s Vegetable Garden”) told about his time as a homeless in the woods, when he lived on a menu of filipendula and hedgehog. I also strongly assume that the café was closed to the public at that time.

Even now, the opening hours aren’t always reliable, nor is the website. Some recurrent events include though Monday Café (an international dining club for students from all around the world) and the (previously mentioned in TiO) folkekøkken with vegan food on Thursdays. But on most weekdays all are welcome to just walk in and get themselves a good lunch or dinner for little money. And a juicy burger for 50 kr. Amen!

“Eat, drink and be merry”, as it says in the Bible. But remember also to speak soberly to each other - that is, without food in your mouth.

  • Mon: 09.00 - 20.45
  • Tue - Thu: 08.00 - 20.00
  • Fri: 08.00 - 14.00
  • Sat - Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Naturkost Organic treats, crystal magic, herbal everything: old-school health food and remedies

Naturkost
Shopping | Gravene 8, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

The city's no. 1 go-to place for organic-everything: wool detergent must be bought here, the calendula-cream, the indispensable pot of lanolin, cleaning stuff that doesn't pollute and that smells-just-fine.

The same goes for the big bags of dried fruit, your soy products, raw chocolate, pig-free gummy bears, beetroot juice, spelt and wheat, the good bouillon and buckwheat grain — all that fantastic hippie-food that has been here in Nørregade since the 1970's.

Since then, the city has gotten a couple of similar shops, following the bio-trend. But this is the good old one with classic, slim, makeup-free and exceptionally-healthy-complection staff. Of course, Naturkosten also has a good deal of homeopathic medicines, and if you need a crystal or two, they also have that (which is probably why the place is also affectionately known as Witchkosten).

 

  • Mon - Thu: 09.00 - 17.30
  • Fri: 09.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 09.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Boogies Relaxed, young, and fundamentally Odense. Dance and drink while the sun goes up

Boogies
Drinking | Nørregade 21, Odense C | Written by: Ane Cornelia Pade

Boogies is where to go when you are in need of dancing, smoking cigarettes in the late hours, and exchanging smiles, kisses, and love until the sun rises.

The dancefloor closes at 6am, and for me it is the epitome of young Odense to see the sun rise after a night at Boogies and riding my bike home to the tune of bird song. With music from the last fifty years and a history of thirty-something, Boogies is not your trivial Craisy-Daisy dicso. People are relaxed and enjoy the (coming) weekend. High heels are a rare sight, the rythm is going to get you, and during happy hour, from 11 pm, heaps of beer are served.

No visit to Boogies is complete without a trip upstairs to Tintin Bar. Start your evening at Tintin in the wonderfully kitsch environment and comfortingly smoky nooks and crannies.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Wed: 23.00 - 04.30
  • Thu: 23.00 - 05.00
  • Fri: 23.00 - 05.30
  • Sat: 23.00 - 06.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Tingstedet A dingy, nasty, and smoky pub in a basement — a true hole-in-the-wall

Tingstedet
Drinking | Vestergade 50, Odense C | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

Sandpaper; cigarette butts at the foot of the bar stool; those merciful hours from 2 am to 5 am… the hole-in-the-wall in the basement is a house of peace. An oasis for the thirsty, a kingdom of pints, a cave for humanity.

I grew up in the provinces, where pubs like these are not the exception, but the rule. This is where people meet; either in skipper’s cabin or in one of these temples of hideousness, where you chew the fat of the griefs and joys of everyday life, while quenching your thirst. There’s freedom in pubs despite – or because – predictability is king.

When I arrived in Odense, it turned out there were no pubs worth visiting. Too many places were either too try-hard or too disgusting. It is possible to become too smoky, too ugly, too grimy. Finding that balance and being a modest, pleasant hole-in-the-wall is an art of sorts. This is how I’d describe Tingestedet on weeknights. During weekends, almost everywhere turns into a nightmare if all you’re interested in is a place to talk and drink a beer, but for those everyday benders, Tingstedet is the place for me.

Tingstedet has its own mood, chain-smoke fog,s and cheap pints. This is where the gang meets when everywhere else is closed. This is where the vagabond brings his dog when their feet are tired. And where artists turn, when their muse has them in a chokehold.

It isn’t pretty. Not nice-hole-in-the-wall with old furniture and a decorative-if-shabby pool table. The walls are nicotine white-yellow and both furniture and art is nowhere near hip. Everything is ugly in a satisfying way. Ugly meaning un-designed, un-arranged. No fancy gestures. Honest functionality. The charm of the place lies in the people in front of and behind the bar.

Tingstedet is good for your spirit. Its unadorned space is somehow peaceful. It offers a breather from the otherwise polished and overly designed world, and I mean that both physically and mentally. It is my guess that the comfort of the pubs has saved more people over the years than it has destroyed through alcoholism. They offer refuge. And in the increasingly gentrified streets of Odense, Tingstedet is one of the last ones standing and it does so without any digital trace.

  • Mon - Thu: 10.00 - 00.00
  • Fri - Sat: 10.00 - 03.00
  • Sun: 10.00 - 18.00
Link to place Directions

Kok & Vin Edgy French finesse and wine in casual surroundings.

Kok & Vin
Eating | St. Gråbrødrestræde 19, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen

Yet another casual French bistro in Odense dressed in rustic furniture and candlelights, yet another blackboard with three courses for 300 in chalk. The restaurant is even named after one of the most classic French dishes of all time. Even so, Kok & Vin is not just “yet another”. It is edgy reinventions from Escoffier’s backhand with an equally edgy and diverse wine list offering a thorough introduction to everything from indie-wine from Beaujolais to the classics from Bordeaux. Prices are in the upper range, but you can also buy by the glass.

The food is uncompromisingly simple but innovative. Flavour, texture and temperature are playfully combined and the kitchen rarely misses a beat. Aside from the blackboard menu, you can plunge into your own choice of smaller and bigger courses. How about salted salmon with celery relish, radishes and pickled cucumbers, escargot the Bourgogne-way, fried lamb sausages with Puy-lentils, artichokes, broad beans and goats cheese? Or how about fried frog’s legs with lemon and garlic aioli and rabbit terrine with morels and pistachios?

3 dishes 300 kr.
3 dishes with wines 500 kr.
3 dishes with wine, bobbles, snacks and coffee with Petits Fours 600 kr.

  • Mon - Sat: 17.30 - late
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Christian Firtal

Christian Firtal
Drinking | Vintapperstræde 31, Odense C | Written by: Jens Krog

  • Mon - Wed: 12.00 - 00.00
  • Thu - Fri: 12.00 - 02.00
  • Sat: 11.00 - 02.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Grand Cocktail Bar & Lounge Impeccable cocktails and ornamental decadence at The Library, First Hotel Grand

Grand Cocktail Bar & Lounge
Drinking | Jernbanegade 18, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen

The bar is decadent, dark, and enigmatic and the place to find the most delicious and well-served cocktails in the city.

The wallpaper is deeply pruple with bombastic golden ornaments. Schreechy gramophone jazz flows from the speakers and the walls are adorned by a distinctive, fullbody portrait of a lady and her collie, something most walls desperately want. Everything is softly dust- and sound-absorbant: upholstered velour, heavy curtains, dark wood, and old books with goldtrimmed spines.

The first time I visited the venue, it was in darkness and the receptionist apologized that, regrettably, Louis was not at work. As if that was an explanation. Turns out it was; no Louis = no cocktails. Of course, there is the less fabled but very adept Christoffer who, with polite elegance and dark circles under his eyes, carries out mysterious butler-service from times past. He makes cocktails that look phenomenal, gleaming in the dusty glow of an old globe.

Grab a perfect Whiskey Sour, lounge on the chaise longue, and have your party on a purple satin pouf. And to quote the merry, cardplaying sisters from my last visit: Enjoy the fact that you have discovered this hidden gem now, giving you a lifetime to spend in these captivating surroundings.

  • Mon - Wed: 17.00 - 00.00
  • Thu - Sat: 17.00 - 02.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Producenten Osteforretning This cheese shop has been there since the dawn of time. The cheese changes, though

Producenten Osteforretning
Shopping | Nørregade 52, Odense C | Written by: Jens Krog

The cheese shop in Nørregade has delivered for more than 100 years cheese to the good people of Fyn. It is surviving the current supermarket era, as one of the only retailers in food left, not by using smart branding strategies, but by staying loyal to its core values. The large glass display counters and the big steel tables remind me my grandmother's local butchers from the old days, and the owner is behind the counter, ready to provide you with taste and advice, so you can bring the very right cheese at home just after. Only the raw product is in focus here and the staff knows what they sell, despite the very large cheese selection. Here, there's more than cumin cheese, parmesan and blue cheese!

At Producenten, you will discover, that cheese is much more than the dairy department in your supermarket, and you will get help finding the experience you did not know you wanted. Talk nonsense with the owner himself and beg him to keep the fantastic old sign in front of the shop, when it is going to be renovated.

  • Mon - Thu: 09.00 - 17.30
  • Fri: 09.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 09.00 - 13.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Pen og Papir Pens, letter jumble and love at the paper shop

Pen og Papir
Shopping | Skt. Knuds Kirkestræde 2A, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Francois Picard | 4 recommendations

Tiny and alert! Rikke stands behind the counter. There’s Jonathan as well, modern troubadour, who, once in while, sits outside on a folding chair and plays guitar or rolls cigarettes. And Rikke’s father, Kække Kay, who occasionally takes care of the shop. And loads of other friends and regular customers, who feel at home here, and buy and chat just as much.

Pen & Papir was previously located in Nørregade, in some premises that were 5-6 times larger than the current shop. The shop relocation looked like much more a closing and we were many to be really sad about it, but, at the end, Pen & Papir re-emerged as an even better version of itself: with less and smaller shelves, the selection became sharper and Rikke the Accumulator became an expert in only choosing and moving the most important.

The result is a nice balance between care and coziness: ink in glass bottles from Rohrer & Klingner, handmade leather pen cases, neat pencils, and antique pen nibs in their original cardboard boxes with elastics so brittle that they can snap just by touching them. German school pens, English professional pens, sharp and elegant. New fountain pens from Kaweco, Pilot Küno, Lamy scala. Tombow brushes for calligraphists. And maybe a little something to write in, as well? Notebooks from Rhodia, Leuchtturm 1917 or Sonnenleder.

Jaw-dropping, but just ask Rikke because she will without doubts direct you to the right selection. There is so much love within these few square meters. A hand-painted faience sign is hanging at the window, made with real gold leaves by one of the many Pen & Papir’s friends from the calligraphy and graffiti world. And an oversized Kaweco fountain pen, a mascot that eventually will become as iconic as Franck A’s bulldog. Pen & Papir is not a shop but a whole world in itself; like a favorite bar, where you can say “the usual”, so that Rikke will know that you need unused school books and a 2b pencil.

  • Mon: 11:00 - 17:00
  • Tue - Wed: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Thu: 10:00 - 18:00
  • Fri: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Sat: 10:00 - 14:00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Kanalje Vintage Exquisite big city vintage with small town prices

Kanalje Vintage
Shopping | Vintapperstræde 11, Odense C | Written by: Ane Cornelia Pade

Some people love to go treasure hunting in the strange and often strange-smelling jumble of washed-out H&M shirts and synthetic slacks at thrift stores in the hopes of stumbling upon that one-of-kind blue 80s prom dress or a worn-to-perfection leather jacket. Kanalje is the ideal place for those, who don't have the patience (or the time!) to rustle through every dusty Salvation Army store in search of personal style: the very best of the best is collected on two floors of this cosy store that allows you to dig every style fad of the past with minimal time consumption. Kanalje features a large selection of quality vintage clothes for every gender - overalls and pant suits and snow suits, swimwear and ironic logo tees, shoes in loud colours and plaid shirts.

The clothes has been hand-picked in Berlin by the passionate owner of the store, and has been ironed and displayed in appetising ways in one of the loveliest alleys in Odense. When you're done picking out your Scandinavian-cool black/white/grey staples, you should stop by for a colour boost in Vintapperstræde and avoid the trap of blandness.

The prices reflect the distance from the vintage-hype of the capital, and you can walk away with a morsel of bygone times for very little money. Nichts wie los!

  • Mon - Wed: -
  • Thu - Fri: 11.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 16.00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Soup Stone Café On the lookout for a quick and healthy soupy lunch with an attitude?

Soup Stone Café
Eating | Store Gråbrødrestræde 11, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen

The next phase of the Odensian restaurant revolution that we described here has begun.

In the fall of 2015, a Canadian shipbuilder from Assens went viral with a handheld launch of Soup Stone Café, which is located in a street whose name he can’t pronounce. While Odensian gourmet restaurants, bistros and brasseries are springing up everywhere, something else is underway too.

The soup stone is one of the informal and simple lunch-and evening restaurants that doesn’t just cover a gap in the market, but which springs from a personal drive and a need to show people what they never knew they always wanted.

You can feel the personal motivation the minute you step inside and are greeted with a smile, a handshake or a welcome (back) from Stephen. You’ll be introduced to the menu of soups, curries, salads, grød and their close relatives. You will get to taste, and sometimes your server might tell you that the soup you want is not the best choice, despite the boss’ recommendation, and here’s what you should order instead.

But they are good, the dishes on the menu. Well-proportioned, unpretentious and tasty. The speed of the place is slow enough to enjoy the food, and fast enough that you have time to dwell on it. And on top of it all, there is window seating from which you get to sit and gaze at life pulsing through the street and in and out of Store Gråbrødrestræde’s very own brutalist monster of a parking garage.

Also, follow Stephen’s very enjoyable continued struggle with the Danish language on facebook.

  • Mon - Fri: 10.00 - 20.15
  • Sat - Sun: 11.00 - 16.00
Link to place Directions

Kaffe & Thehuset When you want to talk to someone who knows about tea

Kaffe & Thehuset
Shopping | Vintapperstræde 25, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik

Tea is just water and leaves. Tea is simple, tea is calm.

Tea has made history. It has been a smuggled good, a taxed product, a way to trade opium, the reason for a Great Race, East/West and anger and rebellion and the witness of the first steps of the United States into their independence.

Tea is a bush on a warm mountain side somewhere in China, with lizard-shaped leaves. Tea is drying, rolling and oxidizing. Tea is caffeine. Herbes are not tea. Herbs are herbs, but not tea. Only leaves from Camellia Sinensis are tea.

Tea can be bought at Mette's in Vintapperstræde, where she mixes, experiments and smells herself sublime and unique blends, blends that she is naming and selling from pots ordered on the wall, which with a routine movement are tilted down from the shelf, so that you can smell this whole forest, she is offering to your nose. Black, green, white, sweet, mild, powerful, summer, winter, spring,  all the way to the other side and in between. She has had her shop for 18 years and it was not at all her goal to make a living by selling 5 tons of tea per year, when she was young and had to go out and to go to school and all of that. But tea is as well excitation, and the customers kept coming and who would rather not own themselves than be bought and paid by someone else?

Kaffe & Thehuset is good entrepreneurship, aromatic professionalism and extremely good service.

  • Mon - Thu: 10:00 - 17:30
  • Fri: 10:00 - 18:00
  • Sat: 10:00 - 15:00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Burger Anarchy Looking for a quick bite? Get your gastro burger with trimmings here

Burger Anarchy
Eating | Gravene 2, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik

Forget soggy lettuce, dry tomatoes, ketchup and run-of-the-mill meat. Say hello to wild boar, blue cheese and onion compote. Local lamb, zucchini fries and chili relish. Panko-fried pollack, pickled lemon and parsnip fries. Steak, pickled mushrooms and caramelized onions.

Thank God someone bothered to reinvent the burger – it’s a blessing! Local produce, everything made from scratch and that special micro brew of your dreams to wash it all down. Prices range from 100 to 150 DKK – if you can keep away from the tasty side orders, that is.

Burger Anarchy is an authentic entrepreneurial love story; a dream that had to become reality. Hard work and elbow grease and the little man’s negotiations with the bank. The dream came true!

Burger Anarchy is the best burger joint in town and the place is deservedly packed on most nights, so book ahead.

 Burger Anarchy offers take away as well.

  • Mon - Sun: 12.00 - 22.00
Link to place Directions

Cafe Fleuri Francophile ladies' oasis with organic treats and outdoor service in romantic backyard

Cafe Fleuri
Shopping | Nørregade 28, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen

The café is Odense’s most darling oasis for ladies, saturated with details in opposition of everything new Nordic and bark-and-white. It is a whimsical universe in a Wes Anderson-ian colour palette. A Francophile nest of estrogen with sweet delicacies and overflowing with flowers. Fleuri is a civilized and lady-like retort to festival camps and a cold one, when you want to fashion high heels and enjoy something exclusive and charming in a special atmosphere.

You used to have to edge past other guest to secure on of only three tables, but a few years back, Fleuri took over the neighbouring store as well, making more room for French soaps, handmade chocolates, bristling herbs, bubling wine, luxury beer, and teas. No to mention their famous organic brunch. It looks great and it smells delightful – a kind of indistinguishable amalgamation of everything you love.

When it is sunny out, you should try the absolutely wonderful patio garden in the back. No one enters it without exclaiming: Oh!, hands a-clasp, head a-tilt. Here are goldfish in the pond, crooked trees offering shade.

The coffee is delicious and strong and organic and served in beautiful blue fluted cups with a soft toffee on the side.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Fri: 10.30 - 17.30
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: 11.00 - 15.00
Link to place Directions

Papas Papbar Coffee, beer, and more than 600 different board games for nerds and beautiful minds

Papas Papbar
Drinking | Skt. Knuds Kirkestræde 2A, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 5 recommendations

When I was a teenager, and we played Risk for hours and drank beer from the bottle, we always ran into the problem that tables were reserved for trivial things like food, and had to be cleared at the most inopportune times, often standing in the way of world domination. But at Papas, tables are dedicated to board games. And beer.

Head down to Papas if you appreciate board games for their special ability to bring people together in a kind of social contract that is not guided by asking “how things are” until you’re sore. Instead, you can come together to save the world from global epidemics or stab each other in the backs in the attempt to keep your secret identities safe in opposing, equally paranoid freedom movements.

It is a wonderful thing that this place is not founded on the desire to make money off of servings of nachos, but instead is based entirely on the real board game enthusiasm of founder Jens Neumann. So far he is has built a selection of more than 600 board games, and there is something for everyone. Matador, Ludo, and Stratego next to Pandemic, Zombicide and Arkham Horror.

You can walk right in and grab any classic game from the shelf, but if you’re in the mood for a challenge and have between 5 minutes and 24 hours of free time on your hands, you can also try asking one of the volunteer game-gurus to teach you something new. It is much better than trying to make sense of the endless pages of rules that come with every game.

Papas Papbar is nerd paradise, no doubt, but it is no members-only club. Here you’ll find board game love, open arms and hygge to lift the roof.

See the full list of games here, get excited, postpone your meetings/your homework/your chores, call your friends, and book a table at 61705548. It’ll only cost you an order at the bar.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Thu: 13:00 - 23:00
  • Fri: 13:00 - 01:00
  • Sat: 12:00 - 01:00
  • Sun: 12:00 - 23:00
Link to place Directions

A. Binicki Kunstnerartikler Dedicated art supply hidden away in one of the city’s backyard wonders

A. Binicki Kunstnerartikler
Shopping | Nørregade 39, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

In a passageway where Nørregade winds around its own corner is a yellow backyard. In there is a wall covered in posters, behind glass. If that wasn't enough, there hangs an enamel plate behind the glass, telling us that this is the — quite secret — site of the A. Binicki art supply shop. 

I discovered both the backyard and the shop many years ago by mistake, taking a shortcut from Thomas B. Thriges Gade to Nørregade in the rain. The surprise of finding such a hidden treasure made up for all the times I got drenched waiting for a green light at that horrible intersection between Stationsvej and Thomas B. Thriges Gade.

Family businesses are usually handed down from the old founders to the younger & sons or & co. The opposite is true here. Karen and Dusan Binicki overtook the business from their son Andreas (therefore the A. on the plate), who in a mix of juvenile rashness and obsolete precociousness started this no-bullshit art shop in 1999.

The original shop was located in Nørregade, until the family acquired and renovated an old bakery to turn it into an art cave. 'Renovated' in the sense of applying some elbow grease, painting, and doing some cleaning: for the whitewashed space still has quite vivid traces of its bakery past (fortunately, that is).

The shelves in the crammed boutique host everything imaginable for both professional and for those that just want a very nice calligraphy pen to write nicely with. Paper, chalk, crayons, acrylic paint, raw cold-pressed linseed oil in glass bottles and flasks of pure pigment powder — so you can pick and mix your colours just like candy. The large assortment of caoutchouc and varnish and various chemicals make the place look like a laboratory, but that's ok — artists are somehow like alchemists.

This secret backyard spot is in itself a good reason to pay a visit to the art supply shop. Though Karen Binicki feels that the place may be getting too secret: the neighbourhood is a big construction site, and less and less people drop by. I sincerely hope that they will resist until the construction is over. For art supply is one of those things that are fun to buy in the real world and in real shops, so you can look at all the colours on a line in front of you, fondle the graphite, feel the paper, and not least get competent advice from people with a true passion for their goods.

Students at art schools, evening schools, and the art academy are eligible for discounts. Every Wednesday, Karen arranges a small book shop outside, with art books and other antiquities. As long as it doesn't rain.

  • Mon - Fri: 11.00 - 17.30
  • Sat: 11.00 - 14:00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Winther’s Kaffe & The The sight, smell and sound of over 100 years of coffee and tea expertise

Winther’s Kaffe & The
Shopping | Vestergade 61, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Francois Picard

If you have moved from Odense in the seventies, or in the fifties, or for that matter in the thirties, and are coming back today and walking in the city center, you would still be able to recognize a certain coffee shop, on the pedestrian street’s most prominent corner, even if it has been modernized in recent years.

Winthers has survived both the war years chicory coffee, an explosion in its own roastery in the neighboring building, and, impressively enough, the nineties and the noughties desire and urge for whiteness, plastic and smartness. The merchant Lauritz Theodor Valentin Winther, who opened the coffee shop in 1912, died in 1968, but his successors let time pass by the most discrete manner – until 2017, during which the heirs sold the family business after a long and financially difficult period of time.

Now, the next era has begun – and the new owner have started a major rescue operation.

The first impressions are good. The new renovation has not been ruled by excessive zeal neither for creating a brand new concept nor, on the contrary, for starting a coffee museum over a historical classic in Odense’s shopping life. The new Winther’s is more outgoing, with large window sections and a to-go window with a tiny clock, giving on the street, where coffee is served during many people’s early morning routines before opening hours. The dark façade’s glazed tiles and the sixties sign have been removed, so the overall style and the building mirror the ones from the goldsmith on the other side of the street. We can see that now. They are not switching off the lights after closing time, lighting the corner during dark hours.

Inside, the dark panels and the wood ceiling have been renovated as well with the utmost care, and where one would in the past barely look across the counter through frosted glass panes, the new owners have seized the opportunity to add a tea room in the old office. Today, it is possible to sit and drink a cup under a new and especially designed ceiling wallpaper, where the tea leaves and flowers twine round each other, and some hanging photographs picture the building history.

Everything that could have meaningfully been preserved is preserved: there are still the same brass lamps over the counter, where the oil from hands and Darjeeling first flush is rubbed into wood for decades. However, some things have been permanently relegated to the past: the Chinese tea canisters have been replaced by new plain ones, which match the brass handles. And more significantly: six large coffee grinders stood previously, each with their beans, and gave the shop its solid scent. The renovation supervisor put an end to it – no broken fingers in the 2020 grinding mill! Today, there is just one grinder left, safely lying behind a glass, and the window is filled with chocolate products and tea accessories. Another 100 years?

  • Mon - Wed: 10.00 - 17.30
  • Thu - Fri: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Sat: 10.00 - 14.00
  • Sun: -
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Lalou Vinbar Wine and the best charcuterie in unpretentious small alley wine bar

Lalou Vinbar
| Pogestræde 31, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | 1 recommendations

Lalou Vinbar is a nice, little wine church, where the wine is served by the city's most enthusiastic and believing connoisseurs.

An Ivan and a Thomas.

Two oenophiles from the heart of Copenhagen, who lived, traveled and worked with wine, now settled in Svendborg and opened a wine bar in Odense. One of them warm heartedly polishing the glasses behind the bar. The other one moving between the tables and telling stories.

Wine companions and a wine bar built like an artwork that renounce everything fast and effective. A place that shouldn’t be succeeding, but ironically attracts those who can pay for it.

There are probably three types of wine bars, except the wine bars that are not really wine bars at all.

The glitz type wine bar, which attracts the rich; both new money and old money, sipping the wine they know and telling tales of expensive past-times.

The hipster wine bar that sells stories that wine is not only for the rich, but can also be an intellectual accomplishment and therefore balances on an edge between being interesting and completely unimportant.

And then there is the wine bar, which can actually be called - a wine bar. A place where you can learn about wine and those who cultivate it, where respect for the wine and the people behind it forbids you to regard it as anything else but wine.

Lalou - named after the French natural wine producer Lalou Bize-Leroy, is such a wine bar.

And then again, it really is Thomas and Ivan's wine bar. Because here you drink the wines that Thomas and Ivan know the most about and like the most. They will tell you stories they’ve heard in damp Austrian, Spanish, Italian or French basements. And you absolutely don’t have to worry about an arrogant monologue on what you should like.

Wine from Europe. Both natural and conventional. No mediocre wines they are trying to make money on. A wine menu filled with glasses of white, red, sweet and sparkling for between 70 and 150 kroner and bottles with prices ranging from the very reasonable to the absurd.

The two are not just wine connoisseurs, they are also cooks. And that means that their horderves are one of Lalou's biggest draws. At Lalou you can get the very best Jamón Ibérico, carpaccio,  rillette, truffle toast, anchovies, french cheeses and olives, that you could ever imagine.

The quality is high and - the meat melts in your mouth, here you might even like the blue cheese, even sea food haters like the fish and this is the place to learn to eat olives.

Be aware of the many tastings at Lolou. They expand on different wine regions, forgotten grapes or compare wines on the same grapes grown in different countries. There's the very popular wine and cheese tasting that matches wine with the right cheeses and helps you to do the same at home. There's the annual Leroy tasting for those that want - and can afford - to taste Lalour Bize-Leroys top wines. And now there's even a wine for beginners tasting that teaches you the basic craft of tasting.

Lalou is my go to wine bar in Odense, and it should also be yours.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue: 14.00 - 23.00
  • Wed: 16.00 - 23.00
  • Thu: 16.00 - 00.00
  • Fri - Sat: 14.00 - 00.30
  • Sun: -
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Restaurant Vår Locally sourced, light and unexpected gourmet servings. And some seriously off the beaten track wine to go with it

Restaurant Vår
Eating | Vintapperstræde 10, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | 1 recommendations

The city's most interesting restaurant, if you ask me. The mention in the Michelin Guide for the past two years confirms it.

No one else in Odense delivers light Nordic taste with the understated excellence of Jacob Burmølle-Jensen, who has returned to Odense after a number of years at - among others - Naert and Kadeau in Copenhagen and Bare in Bergen, which clearly inspired Vår’s menu.

Many New Nordic restaurants have too much hype around them. You've probably seen some of the types who publish their stories and their graphic identity several months before they open.

Not Vår. There was only a little press release in Fyens and a post on their facebook page before the restaurant opened in May 2017. No marketing budget, no menu the first couple of months and no uniforms. Just open doors, casual dining, cheap introductory prices for lunch - outstanding, overwhelmingly well tasting.

That doesn’t mean Vår is a sloppy place. No, it’s the opposite. Jacob is in control of produce and he himself collects vegetables from Nørregården. And the meat comes from Steensgaard's principle farm. It has to be sustainable, from Funen, and it rests on a foundation of respect for nature and one another.

The signature is surgical taste balance. Between salty, sour and umami. Between light and fat. The menu consists primarily of brassicas, berries, celery, lovage, dill, apple, fish, shellfish and what other green and light delights are in season. A bit of pork and beef is also on the menu. And while most chefs can create flavour by winter simmering the latter, I have never experienced a restaurant that can extract flavour from infant and delicate Danish vegetables like Vår can.

Hour after hour is spent preparing before you show up. They cook bouillons, stocks and emulsions. They ferment, salt and preserve. They extract every little taste nuance from the season's best ingredients.

You don't like fish? No problem - You do here. The menu doesn't sound like something you would enjoy? You're wrong. I never look at the menu before I go to Vår - because it doesn't matter what ingredients they work with - they make it work.

There are also no compromises when it comes to wine. It is natural wine and often from progressive wine regions, including Greece, Slovenia and Serbia.

Even the name of the restaurant is a subtle reference to the food and wine menu and the feeling you’re left with after reading through the menu is: light, green and fresh spring.

The best advertising for Vår comes from the stories of those who have eaten there.

The evening menu is: 5 courses: 575 kr., 10 courses: 875 kr. Wine menu doubles the prise or you can buy a juice menu for 275 kr. and 425 kr. You can also just choose one or two glasses and if you fancy skipping a dish I'm sure they can make that work as well.

Just be aware that you have to order the juice menu in advance, and that it can be difficult to walk in off the street, because this is a precision kitchen.

Those for whom it is too expensive, or you just fancy something more informal and quick,  might go to Vår på første - Vår's bistro and wine bar at the first floor that is almost just as sharp. Three dishes will cost you 300 kr. and you can have wine menu, coffee, tea and sweets added for 550 kr. in total.

Also keep an eye on the restaurant's facebook page for special events and tastings.

Vår is open wednesday to saturday 18-21.30 and Vår På Første is open wednesday to saturday 18-21.

  • Mon - Tue: -
  • Wed - Sat: 18.00 - 21.30
  • Sun: -
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Me - Mother's Street Food Truly Vietnamese street food experience. Even the plastic chairs mimic Hanoi street life

Me - Mother's Street Food
Eating | Vestergade 1, Odense C | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

The first thing you see when walking past Me is the small coloured plastic chairs in front of the restaurant. Unlike many other restaurants and cafes in the city, that build hedges and walls around their guests, Me has created the impression of a small alley in Hanoi. And just like in Hanoi, it means that you can watch and be seen by the passers-by.

Inside there is a large and detailed mural of Ho Chi Minh City, that gives you a chance for your mind to wander on a dull day.

The true magic happens in the kitchen. The menu surprises with bánh mì-baguettes filled with fresh herbs, fresh spring rolls, rice noodles and pho. It’s fast, but good and made from fresh produce.

To complement, there are, among other things, slow juice and lemonade.

As always in Vietnamese restaurants, if you are going to steer clear of the devil that coriander is, you must say it very load and clear. But then you are also in for a treat of city's very best from Vietnam.

  • Mon - Thu: 11.00 - 20.00
  • Fri - Sat: 10.00 - 21.00
  • Sun: 11.00 - 20.00
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Den Lille Smalle Slow juice and surprisingly reasonably priced coffee in polished surroundings

Den Lille Smalle
Eating | Vestergade 5 st. tv., Odense C | Written by: Laura Malahovska | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

Take a slow stroll around the old town. Slowly pass right by all the junk-food shops and sweets by the City Hall. Then stop to enjoy a slow juice at Den Lille Smalle (The Little Narrow in English). It definitely lives up to its name, but even though it’s narrow and fairly small, there is enough seating both inside and outside.

This is the only place in Odense where you can get a slow juice. What’s all the hype around the slow juice? Well, it is juice that is extracted by a special juicer that spins slower than the usual centrifugal juicers (you know, the ones that make you jump ever time when you push the ‘on’ button). And it presumably retains more vitamins. Den Lille Smalle offers lots of juices with greens and veggies.
If you are not too much into slowly juiced vegetables, their coffee is excellent too. And they have started to offer breakfast/brunch type of food. Smoothie bowls, sandwiches, avocado toasts, muesli and all that healthy jazz.

They offer vegan substitutes for milks and gluten free cakes and treats. So there is something for everyone.

  • Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 18:00
  • Sat: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Sun: 10:00 - 16:00
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Harder's Boghandel Books. And tomato plants. They don't have everything, but they will back-order it for you

Harder's Boghandel
Shopping | Nørregade 27, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Francois Picard

Harder is technically the oldest local bookstore in Odense. Not an aging old-timer with wooden panels – a sober and down-to-earth survivor, like the slogan “Books! – Try harder” implies it. Founded in 1935 originally at Hjallesevej 6 and with a short stay in the eighties in the Gråbrødre center (a place that the city has collectively replaced ever since), it has finally moved in a decorative corner in Nørregade. And it may be its final location, as it has become an indispensable place for the pupils of the Henriette Hørlücks school, further down the street, to buy their books. Or maybe it is because Tonni Harder stands himself there and smiles and is always ready to order the books, he doesn’t have on his shelves – no student assistants here.

Stationery is the keyword here – books are paper, and there are as well lottery tickets and printer paper. There are office supplies behind the counter, and Yahtzee and jigsaw puzzles on sale in boxes outside the shop, and HCA magnets and postcards behind the façade display glass, directed to the tourists walking past Hans Jensen alley. But there are also more specialized books and poetry collections and picture books and translated literature.

The corner store has found its roots in another era, where the owl sign outside indicates that books are sold here, but the hardware supply store spirit of that time has led Harder to add print cartridges to its selection, if the customers ask for it. The books are utility products and I am always reading what I buy here on the same day. During the summer months, there is a tray filled with tomato pickles next to the other boxes lying outside. “The tomatoes are not that important”, says Tonni, but yes, actually, they are.

  • Mon - Sat: 09:00 - 17:00
  • Sun: -
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Café Kosmos Fresh vegan fare that makes your tastebuds tingle. A biodynamic cosmology of love. Ask for daily specials!

Café Kosmos
Eating | Lottrups Gård 1, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Francois Picard | 1 recommendations

When Café Kosmos opened in 2017 at the beginning of Lottrups Gård, it brought to life a totally empty and deserted spot in the city center. A backyard forgotten by the city center renovation in the eighties, that never manages during my lifetime to find out, what it should really be. You were not even noticing it when walking through it. Now stands a tiny 20-m2-vegan-organic utopia, and it is really a (genuinely green and) awesome spot. During the summer, long tables and benches are creating the nicest atmosphere within the yard, where yoga sessions are sometimes taking place, while the 18-year-old telephone sellers are taking cigarette breaks in a remote world, on a balcony several floors above. The Café Kosmos team dreams about planting more green, and if anyone can create a jungle, I believe that it can be done by these idealists.

Helle, Mie, Jamie, Theis, Henrik and the rest of the gang are a break-out group from the Ungdomshus’ vegan Thursdays, who initially named themselves ØKOLLEKTIVET. They were first selling vegan burgers from a food truck, one music festival after another, and were selling so many that they saw fit to open their own café. It is already a favorite spot for many regulars, and, since 2018, the whole country can be counted among its fans as Kosmos has been named “best vegan eatery” in Denmark two years in a row by Danmarks Veganske Forening.

The whole menu at Kosmos is based on local suppliers and organic products, and today’s special is where new inventions are being tested or where yesterday’s invention leftovers are being reused. The menu features matcha latte, raw cake and gluten-free rolls, but you will find no sanctimonious preaching here. It is this kind of warm but convinced veganism that I remember from my childhood among raw food aficionados and rosy-cheeked biodynamics enthusiasts. At Kosmos it is seasoned with unconditional love for puns and indie rock from Manchester. Everything on their menu is crispy, fresh, straightforward, cheerful; mirroring the Kosmos team itself. And here “KH” always means “Kosmos Hugs”.

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Thu: 11:00 - 20:00
  • Fri - Sat: 11:00 - 21:00
  • Sun: 11:00 - 20:00
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Faraos Cigarer Whether you're into American or European comics, Faraos Cigarer have enough albums on their shelves to kickstart your much needed escape from reality

Faraos Cigarer
Shopping | Klostervej 3, Odense C | Written by: Christoffer Henneberg | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | 1 recommendations

Faraos Cigarer is a lot of things, but first and foremost, it is about comic books and most of all, Tintin. Also when it comes to merchandise. And so I remember that an absolutely essential part of any of my childhood trips to Copenhagen was a quick stop by the shop in the Latin Quarter, to stand and stare with provincial amazement at the large plastic model of the iconic red-and-white rocket from Destination Moon in the window.

Which is why my inner child was overjoyed when Faraos Cigarer - through a fusion with the roleplaying and model-painting shop, Dragons Lair – opened a store in Odense last June. And what a shop! Where the Copenhagen branches are split into several divisions with comic books, merchandise, board games, and RPG’s, Odense has collected it all in one storefront. Covering 650m2 of space! Be still my heart, what more could you desire?

Stepping into this temple of magic and adventure is like falling through the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. The laws of reality are suspended and a world of magic portents and mystical elixirs unfurls. And who couldn’t use a little flight from reality in these times when we’re constantly inundated with prognoses of doom and an accompanying glossary of terms like incubation period, infodemic, and super spreader?

The first thing that greets your eye is a glass menagerie of figurines on your left, most of them from the world of Tintin. How about a model of the pain-in-the-ass insurance agent Jolyon Wagg? The one who was the center of a controversy here in Denmark when the publisher wanted to change his name from Max Bjævermose to Constantin Strøm for the new editions in 2005? In the end, they bowed to public pressure and retained the name fans had become fond of – or maybe it was all just a publicity stunt to hype the new translation?

When you ascend the stairs, you can continue straight ahead into to the game area at the back. Most of the time I hang a left down to the comics; perhaps cracking an issue of Hugo Pratt’s popular Corto Maltese, if only to conclude for the seventeenth time that black-and-white comics just aren’t my thing. So I go over to Tintin and admire the beautifully retro red canvas spines of the new releases. Good Stuff!

Right now, my quarantine binge is Pierre Chrisin and Jean-Claude Méziéres’ French sci-fi saga about the space agents, Laureline and Valérian, which the publishing house Cobolt has begun to re-release in a seven-part series under the name Linda og Valentin’s Samlede Eventyr (published in English as Valérian – The Complete Collection in 2018.)

Don’t be fooled by the childish title: This is graphic storytelling for adults with philosophical weight and honest-to-goodness social consciousness. And like all great sci-fi, it inevitably points right back to the present day. I could wax on about Laureline and Valérian, but will suffice by presenting the trio of issues from 1967-1971:

It all started a bit rambling and funny book-ish with Bad Dreams. But already in the next album, The City of Shifting Waters, the series takes a quantum leap and becomes worth a read due to the climate-crisis predicting setting alone: A post-apocalyptic drowned New York. But the plot isn’t lacking either, with its wealth of gangsters, swampsy and zeitgeist-y elements, including a colorful character named after the cosmic jazz musician Sun Ra!

But most readers agree that Christin and Méziéres really hit their stride with the third issue: Empire of a Thousand Planets, whose interstellar story is the first voyage into what later came to be known as space opera. Visually, it is one of the most extravagant issues, with Méziéres really coming into his own as an illustrator. At some times almost psychedelic in his wealth of color and detail.

Naturally, Faraos Cigarer has these volumes stocked on its shelves, including a bound special edition with eight pages of introductory bonus material on the series’ back story. New intergalactic travelers could fittingly start their journey right here.

If you’re not in the mood for philosophical flights of fantasy, but want to tackle the current Corona-reality head-on, a new boardgame has just made its return. In Pandemic Legacy, you can join your friends in seeing if you can handle an epidemic better than Brostrøm and co. are doing it right now. Not just for a single evening, but over the course of an array of gaming sessions, where each decision may have fatal consequences. If you’re in the mood to unleash your inner virologist, this undoubtedly sounds like the perfect reason to stay indoors for the rest of the quarantine. Remember the hand sanitizer!

And I never even got around to mentioning the phosphorescent statue of the cephalopoid horror, Cthulhu, from the H.P. Lovecraft mythos...

Follow the Facebook page for updates here: https://www.facebook.com/faraoscigarer/

  • Mon - Fri: 10:00 - 18:00
  • Sat: 10:00 - 16:00
  • Sun: -
Link to place Directions

Mortens Chokolade The playground of a master of chocolate

Mortens Chokolade
Shopping | Kongensgade 45, Odense C | Written by: Anna Skau Tolstrup | Translated by: Francois Picard

The first smell that thrills your nostrils when entering the narrow shop of Morten Chokolade is of course the smell of chocolate. The second smell – well, that’s harder to pinpoint: Saffron? Rosemary? Mint?

There is no doubt that Morten has an enormous passion for chocolate and his great journey of finding the essential complimenting flavors of each of his pieces. The stories and the joy is almost blinding, when he tells you about the seasonal pieces of chocolate and chosen ones, who is voted to stay in shop throughout: naturally, he makes every single piece of chocolate, every chocolate bar himself.

The chocolates are beautifully decorated. Most of the patterns could easily be copied by designers of wallpapers, wanting to make a bestseller print. When you bite into your chocolate (after appreciating the aesthetics of course), you taste buds are welcomed on a journey through flavors you never knew would go with chocolate as well as they actually do. If you are not much of a chocolate-explorer – don’t worry, Morten still got your back. The shop is always filled with new chocolate adventures, but also the classic pieces of chocolate made with incomparable quality.

Morten also offers classes in making ‘flødeboller’ and tastings and presentations of his choosing of seasonal chocolates. You will find the events plus book your tickets at his website.  

  • Mon: -
  • Tue - Fri: 13 - 18
  • Sat: 10 - 15
  • Sun: -
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This Is Odense