The price of partying in Sweden is steep, and if the costly cocktails aren’t enough to make your wallet weep, the entrance fee might. YLC’s Solveig Rundquist shares her tips on sampling Stockholm’s nightlife without choking on the bill.
The prospect of clubbing in Stockholm is enticing. The good-looking people, the great music, top notch cocktails; all a recipe for a grand night on the town… Until you find yourself in a queue as long as Titanic doing the Bunny Hop just to keep warm and, when you finally do make it to the door, you’re unceremoniously stripped of a sizable portion your paycheck. It’s enough to make you say “Fob it, I’d rather don my jammies at 6pm and watch Fawlty Towers reruns.”
But don’t hang up your sequined fedora for good just yet because I’ve compiled a list of my finest tips and tricks on how to maximise your downtime uptown without maxing out your SEB card.
Early Bird Flies Free
Many nightclubs waive the entrance fees during the earlier hours of the evening and oftentimes let the first 200 or so partygoers in for free, so if you’re willing to rock up early you may just be able to skip the queue as well as dodge the pricey admission. Some popular places, such as Sommar! and Bar 54, don’t start charging on entrance until 11 p.m, and while the party may not heat up until a bit later, it’s a great way to save some cash and mingle before the bass drops.
Most of the Swedes go out on weekends so, in order to lure guests in during the week, many clubs have free entrance on weekdays. However do be warned that some do still charge on ever-popular Wednesday nights, which are affectionately dubbed “Little Saturdays” here in Stockholm. Trädgården, with its legendarily long lines, is one of the hottest summer clubs in town, but if you show up on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays you can get in for free!
Hit up the Freebies
Luckily there are a few spots that exist in town where you don’t need to consider the time or day to avoid entrance fees. These locations are generally bars, some of which have DJs and dancefloors…so essentially they’re clubs. East, Musslan and Oxid are among those that don’t charge cover fees. Pre-party at home and you can save a fortune!
Be My Guest
Another dirty little secret to save you money is the guest list. Not all clubs have them, but do a quick search online before you go out. Putting your name on the guest list in advance can not only save you up to 200 SEK, it can also get you past the lines. Ambassadeur and Collage are popular clubs where this trick should work.
VIP (Very Important Price-Discount)
My first Swedish club experience was at the luxurious Cafe Opera. It’s technically an over-23’s club and costs 220 SEK to saunter through the door; I was 18 and basically broke at the time. My secret? I had a friend with a VIP card. The card gets you past the lines and in for free. It also magically lowers the age limit and allows for a friend to shimmy in with you. Spy Bar is another hotspot with such a card, and while the rules vary, for most clubs you do need connections to get such a card. VIP cards are worth looking into because, if you go out a lot, it quickly becomes worth it.
Groupie Gets the Gold
Many of these methods can be discovered simply by “liking” a club on Facebook or Twitter. Most clubs advertise VIP cards, specials, events and discounts and a lot of them have their guest lists on Facebook, making it quite simple to sign up and reap the benefits.
Skip the Charade
In many of the ritzier Stockholm clubs, the point is just to be seen; a status builder of sorts. But there’s one place where every partygoer, from Stureplan to Slussen always ends up; McDonald’s. These watering holes (particularly in Slussen) are never as hip-and-happening as they are between one and four a.m. Clubbers herd down the alleys of Söder in search of fatty fried food to satiate their alcohol-induced hunger pangs. So if you’re wanting to join in on the night-time vibes, but aren’t willing to part with a paycheck in exchange for a cocktail, why not party it up at home and then make the migration to McDonald’s. It’s surprisingly Swedish.
Solveig is a recently-graduated American cactus who plucked up her ancient Scandinavian roots and transplanted them back to snowy Stockholm soil. When not writing for YLC she can be found cantering about town in search of culture, cheer and a career.