StudieStuen Perhaps Denmark’s cosiest study spot. Cheap coffee, used books, and intimate events

Culture | Nedergade 12, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | 26 recommendations

Your home away from home. A place where you can immerse yourself in studies, drink cheap coffee, and have a snack while you snuggle up in blankets, clatter with your boxed lunch, and procrastinate by gazing at the artwork (which is changed four times a year) or perusing the bookshelves. If you find a particularly interesting book you can buy it, and when you have passed your exams and would rather chew off your own arm than look at your textbooks again, StudieStuen will gladly sell them for you.

StudieStuen is furnished with reclaimed furniture. The lamp shades have fringes, the blankets are crocheted. There is that really comfortable chair, the slightly-too-hard chair, and the wobbly chair. Homely and unpretencious.

There is no cheesy diner music (but rather some soothing jazz or something as rare as silence) nor will you get the familiar atmosphere from study halls, with their soundtrack of frenzied typing, sending your blood pressure off the scale.

The concept appeals to every student, who does not long for the campus experience at the far-off University but rather enjoys taking a break by stepping straight into the city centre. Or a conversation with other students, of course, with no scowls or shushes from the more ambitions specimens.

StudieStuen also provides the setting for an array of arrangements that reflect the interests of the volunteers. This small space has been a knitting club, a dance studio, a song studio, a lecture hall, a board game room, a concert venue, a poetry parlor, and much, much more. But more than anything it has been a drop-in-centre run by friendly volunteers, who all know each other and have created an atmosphere of familiarity.

A friendly, open family with room for everyone.

  • Mon: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Tue: 10.00 - 21.00
  • Wed: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Thu: 10.00 - 21.00
  • Fri: 10.00 - 18.00
  • Sat - Sun: 10.00 - 16.00
Link to place Directions

Eventyrhaven Riverside gardens with room for promenaders, kids, and a mid-morning beer with the white noise of the city above

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
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

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: -
Link to place Directions

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: -
Link to place Directions

This Is Odense