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A Perfect Day John Grants Reykjavik

By Out Contributor

Pictured: John Grant |  Photo by Garoar Olafsson

In 2010, John Grant released his critically acclaimed debut solo album, The Queen of Denmark. But it is an entirely different Nordic locale that has won over the brooding baritone’s heart: Reykjavík, Iceland, where he recorded his sophomore effort, 2013’s Pale Green Ghosts (Read More About John Grant's Album). While the frigid climate of Iceland’s capital, his home now for the past two years, seems perfectly suited to Grant’s whiskery, Viking-like visage, many of his favorite places seem to embody an old-school quaintness and—dare we say— warmth. Below, he shares them with us.

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Photo of Glo Courtesy of Addi 

1. GLÓ “Run by a lovely and dynamic lady named Solla, Gló does serve meat, but the menu is mostly about raw and vegan options,” says Grant. “I’m afraid I won’t do it justice—just go there.” Laugavegur 20b, Miðborg; Glo.is

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2. HAMBORGARABÚLLAN “There are lots of good burgers to choose from in Reykjavík, but this cute little hole-in-the-wall joint is my current favorite. It’s located at the back of a bar called B5, and the burger and fries are excellent.” Bankastræti 5, Miðborg; Bullan.is

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3. LUCKY RECORDS “Lucky specializes in new and used vinyl, and you’ll almost always find something here you’ve been searching for for- ever. The staff is easygoing and nonjudgmental; you can listen before you buy.” Rauðarárstígur 10, Hlíðar; LuckyRecords.is

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4. KEX “The word hostel will never mean the same thing once you’ve been here. The owners put a lot of love into the interior design, and you can really feel it. And the view across Faxaflói Bay to Mount Esja is simply stunning.” Skúlagata 28, Miðborg; KexHostel.is

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5. MOKKA KAFFI

“My favorite place in Reykjavík. It was the first café in the city when it opened in 1958 and still looks almost exactly the way it did back then. The aroma of freshly grilled waffles and good, strong coffee greets you immedi- ately as you open the door. You can always find locals here chatting about art or politics.”

Skólavörðustíg 3A, Miðborg; Mokka.is

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6. FRIÐA FRÆNKA

“Don’t enter this antique shop in the middle of town unless you have a few hours to kill. It’s filled to the rafters with all manner of amazing things, and you will find something you absolutely must have.” Vesturgata 3, Miðborg

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7. SKÓGAR MUSEUM “I’m not a museum guy, but I’ve been to this one a few times. It was founded and is still run by Þorður Tómasson, who was born in 1921. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to hear him play the pump organ in the little church.” Austur-Eyjafjöllum, 861 Hvolsvöllur; Skogasafn.is

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7. LEMON “Lemon is a panini joint that serves a smoothie called Good Times, which I cannot get enough of. It has apple, avocado, and lemon. Also, the male staff is extremely hot.” Suðurlandsbraut 4, Laugardalur; Lemon.is

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