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Byliv | 25/10/13

Guide to: Vesterbro

  • Kødbyen, Vesterbro. Foto: Jeppe Bøje NielsenKødbyen, Vesterbro. Foto: Jeppe Bøje Nielsen
Insider’s Guide: Vesterbro used to be Copenhagen’s red light district and there are still many porn shops and prostitutes especially on and around Vesterbro’s main road, Istedgade, but thanks to urban renewal programmes and local regeneration this part of town is slowly beginning to change its character.

The pulse of Vesterbro – its soul– remains largely intact, though, and thanks to the larger number of hotels, this part of town is very available for tourists.

J.C. Jacobsens Have on the Carlsberg grounds is a wonderful little sanctuary – a garden that has literally been improved on since 1848. The garden was landscaped after an English model, but drawn up based 45 on J.C. Jacobsen’s own ideas. J.C. Jacobsen often sent away for rare plants and trees that he had encountered on his travels abroad, and in 1858 the Winter Garden was added to the facility. Only in recent years has the garden been made available to the public.

Mother is a big, funky Italian restaurant located right in the party hot spot of Vesterbro; Kødbyen, the meat packing district. On Friday nights this place is full of young people, who eat pizza and drink beers and wine and generally get ready to go out on the town, but Mother is also open for lunch. Prices are pretty reasonable especially if you stick to the pizzas, whose crusts are made from a sourdough called … yes, you can probably guess it … called Mother.

The elephants at Carlsberg

If you don’t mind people crammed in left and right and the smoke, one of the cosiest bars in Kødbyen is still Mesteren & Lærlingen, which won the City’s Best New Bar Award 2010. Space is tight indeed, but atmosphere comes in unlimited supply. A short distance from Kødbyen you find Lê Lê nhá hang – or just Lê Lê for short – which is a great place to start off your evening. This large modern restaurant on Vesterbro Torv has mid-range prices and a young vibrant atmosphere. The kitchen is Vietnamese and will tempt you with spring rolls, noodles, soups and a spicy, mouth-watering trinity of chilli, lime and ginger. You cannot book in advance unless you are a very large group of people.

Close by just off Vesterbrogade is Copenhagen’s second smallest cinema. The cosy little Vester Vov Vov is the place to go for great independent and non-mainstream movies. If you enjoy good wines try wine bar Malbeck halfway down Istedgade, which is a peaceful oasis with excellent Argentinean wines, soft candle-lit ambience and bartenders, who love vinyl records.


Music lovers should know that Vesterbro is home to Vega, which is perhaps Denmark’s finest concert venue. Vega’s biggest concert hall hosts most of Copenhagen’s medium-sized concerts with top international and Danish artists as well as many smaller venues in the equally smaller second concert hall. In the late hours on the weekends Vega turns into one of the most popular nightclubs in town.

When it comes to shopping and specialized shops Vesterbro is a smorgasbord. Explore Vesterbro’s most sparkly, glossy shop; Donn Ya Doll in Istedgade, which sells everything from figured bathing suits and Scandinavian brands to exquisite shoes and organic cotton underwear. On Vesterbrogade you find Designer Zoo, 800 square metres of Danish design and craft – half shop and half workshop. They have a fine selection of contemporary Danish design within various genres such as ceramic design, bean-shaped coffee tables and organza dresses.


Mesteren & Lærlingen Flæsketorvet 86 1711 København V
Malbeck Istedgade 61 1650 København V
J.C. Jacobsens Have Gamle Carlsbergvej 11 2500 Valby
Mother Høkerboderne 9, Kødbyen 1712 København V
Lê Lê nhà hàng Vesterbrogade 40 1620 København V
Vega Enghavevej 40 1674 København V
Vester Vov Vov Absalonsgade 5 1658 København V
Donn Ya Doll Istedgade 55 1650 København V
Designer Zoo Vesterbrogade 137 1620 København V

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