The summer state of mind is taking over inner Copenhagen. The streets around Kongens Nytorv are full of people in town shopping, working or just strolling around. On a corner in the middle of all the bustle, covered by dark green awnings, the terrace of the classic Copenhagen institution Café Victor is filling with guests.
We stopped by to learn how Copenhagen Distillery, and especially how our new Coffee Spirit fits into the old café and how the Covid-lockdowns moved Victor in a new direction.
When you first enter Café Victor through its iconic revolving door, it’s like a time capsule; founded back in 1981 as part of the first wave of Parisian-inspired cafés in Copenhagen, the café features a winding spiral staircase, walls adorned with bright and playful painting and the tables that are all immaculately set with tall candlesticks and white tablecloths. But beneath the surface, major changes have taken place.
“A lot has happened with the place in recent years. Although the lockdowns were tough, it was also an opportunity to reflect on what kind of place we were, and not least, what kind of place we wanted to be.”, says co-manager Nanna Schlander Birksholm when we catch her in a quiet moment on an otherwise busy Thursday.
This reinvention has resulted in a new focus on quality. This applies not only to ingredients, but also to the overall experience of being at Café Victor. Take the kitchen’s ingredients for example. Although the menu is still French-inspired, the vast majority of ingredients now come from local, organic producers. Whatever it is fish, seafood, meat or vegetables.
“We strive to shape a genuinely great experience at Victor. Both as a guest when you come to eat and drink, but also as an employee. Of course, both food and drink must be top notch, but for us it is just as important to have people in focus to create an experience we can be proud of.”
It has also meant a departure from parts of the identity Café Victor had previously.
"We want to move away from the 'nightclub' segment. In the past, there may have been a tendency for some of our guests to treat the café a bit like their own private nightclub, which affected the quality that we would like to provide. That certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t party at Victor — you should! But we want to maintain our focus on a more refined experience for all our guests.”
In the bar, special emphasis has been placed on developing an innovative and quality-oriented cocktail menu, which, like the food, is largely based on local products. Copenhagen Distillery is well-represented.
“We carry most of Copenhagen Distillery’s products in our bar. It makes a lot of sense for us to utilise them, partly because they are quite different from other spirits, but also because they’re local. We’re located in the heart of Copenhagen, where both Copenhageners and tourists are looking for high-quality products made close to home.”
The latest addition to Victor's summer cocktail menu is based on our newly released Copenhagen Coffee Spirit: the Pelican.
"It's just a super cool and unique spirit. There are no other products like it, and yet it can be used in so many different ways. We mix it with sweet vermouth and tonic, resulting a really funky highball cocktail. The slightly fruity espresso flavor gets some body and spice from the vermouth which is then lifted by the tonic's bittersweet citrus notes. It's a cocktail that really has everything.”
With quality and people in focus, Café Victor is back in full swing after a few tough years. Next time you’re strolling through the central city, consider stopping by the classic café that’s reinvented itself, and perhaps try the special cocktail with our versatile Copenhagen Coffee Spirit.