Growing old has its advantages; you get to take sweet, long naps in the middle of the day, no one even bats an eyelid if you dress like you’re completely out of your mind, and you never have to strain to put on your ‘happy face’ at social gatherings because everyone expects you to be at least a little grumpy, so you might as well roll with it and cut in line at the queue for the buffet. Contrary to what youth-obsessed marketing people will have you believe, old people have it made. They may walk a little slower but they pull it off with that devil-may-care-attitude that comes with age. Nevertheless, the dignified elderly ladies and gentlemen that walk the streets of Copenhagen while smoking their pipes and shaking their fists at pavement cyclists, were once young. They built the stately houses and bars, acted in the plays and threw the legendary parties that created the soul of Copenhagen and for that we’re eternally grateful and deeply indebted. That unique Copenhagen charm didn’t just appear out of nowhere. This is why we’re asking you to embrace your inner grandma or granddad this week, as we’ve made a guide to vintage Copenhagen in all its weathered glory. In this week’s STAY OUT you’ll find:
The Golden Granddad Guide ISSU E FOUR · COPENHAGEN · 23RD-30T H OF JU NE 2 O1 O
· Saint Hans bonfire in Nyhavn · Café Intime · Pork roast for lunch · Guided tour of historical Copenhagen · Interview with the owner of Petigas, the gentlemen’s hat boutique in Købmagergade
WEDNESDAY THE 23RD Haircut at the Christmas Møllers Plads barber
WEDNESDAY THE 23RD Sankt Hans bonfire in Nyhavn
THURSDAY THE 24TH Golden piano oldies at Café Intime
FRIDAY THE 25TH Happy days at Under Uret
We can think of many reasons for going to this particular barber. The window decor and 50s barber’s chairs are some of them but the most pressing is probably that you get what you ask for. Have you ever been to one of those fashionable hair dressers where you ask for a simple haircut and end up looking like a children’s TV presenter who’s had too many Red Bulls? This place is the exact opposite of that. The Macedonian barber’s specialty is the classic ‘short back and sides’, which takes roughly seven minutes and costs 110 kr. You don’t have to book an appointment and if you’re lucky, he’ll tell you the story about how he once smeared himself in motor oil from top to toe to get out of trouble with his wife. So start off the week with a cut. You can’t expect to woo the pert, young maidens of the weekend while looking like an untidy ragamuffin.
Now that you’re fresh, clean and cut, you can way your way down to Nyhavn where they’re lighting the Sankt Hans (Saint Hans) bonfire, an annual, Danish midsummer tradition, which originates in heathen times and was later made Christian. The mayor of Copenhagen, Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, will give a speech while everyone watches the burning of an imaginary witch. That actually sounds weirdly intense now that trying to explain it in English, but we assure you that nothing morbid that might scare the kids will happen. It’s good, clean family fun in Nyhavn. Sort of.
During all that jazz of the 1920s, Frederiksberg’s Café Intime would be frequented by the city’s bohemian gay community and the Café has managed to keep this vibe intact. It really is like entering a different era when you enter the door by pulling the scarlet velvet curtains aside. The colourful bar staff is almost always super nice in that worldly bohemian way, and the alcohol is reasonably priced. Thursday is one of the best days to go for a drink while listening to various pianists pouring their heart into the keys, since weekend-happy Copenhageners have caught wind that something special is going down at Allegade. Get down there before it becomes filled with tourists.
The bartender at wine bar and pub Under Uret (under the clock) has to be one of the most charismatic in Copenhagen. Not because he’s friendly or inviting but because he rules his wonderfully anachronistic establishment with an iron fist. He takes your orders at the table and if you give him any cheek your butt will be out the door so fast you won’t know what hit you. Shortly thereafter you’ll realise that it was Hans the bartender that hit you (hopefully not literally) and you’ll never be a wise-ass at Under Uret ever again. But if you play by his rules, Under Uret will be a pleasant experience that you’ll keep coming back to because of its decent selection of beers and classy, no-nonsense atmosphere.
WHERE: CHRISTMAS MØLLERS PLADS, 2300 CPH S WHEN: WHENEVER YOU NEED IT HOW MUCH: 100KR FOR A REGULAR HAIRCUT AND 110KR FOR A ‘FASHION HAIRCUT’. WE PAY 110KR, PRESUMABLY BECAUSE WE’RE NOT OVER 40.
WHERE: NYHAVN WHEN: ALL EVENING HOW MUCH: FREE
WHERE: ALLEGADE 25, 2000 FREDERIKSBERG WHEN: EVERY DAY FROM 6PM TO 02.00 AM HOW MUCH: DEPENDS ON YOUR MOOD… WEB: CAFEINTIME.DK
WHERE: ØSTERFARIGMAGSMADE 4, 2100 CPH Ø WHEN: EVERY DAY HOW MUCH: FAIRLY CHEAP COMPARED TO THE CENTRE OF CPH
THE INTERVIEW Kurt P. Jensen
THE INTERVIEW Kurt P. Jensen 60 or 70 years ago, a gentleman wouldn’t let himself be seen in public without a hat. This was a time when etiquette mattered a great deal more than it does today, and people would dress themselves accordingly. The hat boutique Petigas in Købmagergade has seen hat trends come and go and the owner, Kurt P. Jensen, stands firmly by his exclusive selection of hats, which is the biggest in Scandinavia. Petigas is, infact, the only hat shop left in the north. As Kurt says: ‘ If you can get it, we’ve got it’. We had a chat with Kurt about the history of the store, his favourite hats and why he doesn’t like contemporary Copenhagen all that much… HOW LONG HAS PETIGAS EXISTED?
Petigas opened on the 23rd of April 1857 and everything you see here is the original store. There was rebuilding in 1892 where they installed electric lights – the last ones were gas lights. That’s the last time the store has been rebuilt. COULD YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT SELECTION OF HATS?
Well, we have caps like this one and then we have what you call an eight piece, which is the one they wore a lot in that Robert Redford movie ‘The Sting’. Then we have the original six pence
that consists of six pieces. The reason that it’s not called a six piece is because it’s named after the Irish six pence, which had six edges. This particular model dates back to 1812 and it hasn’t been changed one bit since then. And then we have the various types of hats that they call ‘fedora’ abroad, which we call ‘ a soft felt hat’ in Denmark and there are quite a few different types of those. We also sell the classic Italian Borsalino. That’s the one you would often see on gangsters who wore it because it made them less recognisable since it covered their eyes. Then we have our own brand, which we’ve had produced abroad for the last 65 years. THAT’S QUITE A WHILE
Yes, well we actually used to make our own hats. Before the 20th century, Petigas employed 20-40 hat makers but, needless to say, that kind of enterprise is just not feasible anymore. Now there’s only one man in Petigas and that’s the man standing in front of you. WHO’S YOUR TYPICAL CUSTOMER?
Older men, obviously, but also men in their 40 and 50s. Lately, a lot of younger men in their 20s and 30s have also come to the store but they always seem to want hats, which I think have nothing to do with real hats. They’re clown hats that have no brim and you look strange when you wear them. And younger men always want hats that cost next to nothing. You can’t get that in here since we don’t buy from countries like China. BECAUSE IT’S INFERIOR QUALITY?
That too, but also because you have no idea who actually made the hats. It could be children and we don’t want any part of that.
The most important thing to us is quality. Price is secondary. And our customers appreciate that. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE HAT?
That’s actually a hat that I have a lot of respect for - it this one and it’s called an Eaton hat (takes out hat). You can’t wear this if you don’t have personality – my father used to wear it. He was 6,4 ft tall and weighed 250 pounds and when a man like that is coming down the street you see him coming! The American Senators used to wear this and Winston Churchill wore it. In my opinion, the last Danish Politician who could wear this hat was H.C. Hansen (Danish Prime Minister from 195560 –Ed.) If Poul Nyrup came in here and requested this hat I wouldn’t let him buy it. Like I said, you need a lot of personality for this one. OKAY, ONE LAST QUESTION. IN CONNECTION WITH OUR ‘VINTAGE COPENHAGEN’ THEME, COULD YOU TELL US WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN COPENHAGEN IS?
That’s easy. My own house. I hate Copenhagen with a vengeance. I’m born and raised in the countryside and if I didn’t have this store I’d never set foot in central Copenhagen. It’s Sodom and Gomorrah in here! The politicians are useless. Have you tried to use public transportation lately? IT’S BEEN A WHILE
Well, try it. You’ll get rage attacks. And they’re constantly digging up the roads, which means it’s impossible to get around. You can put that in writing for all those English people. THANKS, WE’LL DO THAT. PETITGAS IS LOCATED AT KØBMAGERGADE 5, 1150 CPH K
SATURDAY THE 26TH Fun Times at Palæ Bar
SUNDAY THE 27TH Stroll in the Frederiksberg Gardens
MONDAY THE 28TH The open-faced sandwich & other idiosyncrasies
TUESDAY THE 29TH From herring-market to hip metropolis
WEDNESDAY THE 30TH Stay with the Storyteller
If you’re familiar with old Danish TV shows such as ‘Huset på Christianshavn’ (the house on Christianshavn), you’ll know that semi-alcoholic socialising is an integral part of Copenhagen culture, which is why we’ve put yet another watering hole in this week’s guide. Our life expectancy is drastically lower than that of our Swedish neighbours and we have an inkling that this has something to do with the quality of our bars where Palæ Bar, the grand old lady of the Copenhagen bar scene, is unavoidable. This is a place where you won’t hear any Rihanna, Lady Gaga or similar youthful nonsense blaring out of the speakers – only 50s and 60s jazz, the odd disco favourite and the sound of tipsy, happy people playing dice.
Don your finest hat, straighten your bowtie and polish your shoes. Mount your penny-farthing and make hast towards the Frederiksberg Gardens where a stroll in the most distinguished surroundings imaginable awaits you. Lift your hat as you pass the strolling ladies - and try to be courteous when you encounter a man in a nylon track suit who’s friends with the garden’s omnipresent grey herons. He might not be an impeccably dressed gentleman like yourself but he’s a part of the setting. This is the formula for a satisfying stroll in the Frederiksberg Gardens, which is no doubt one of the most beautiful green areas in Copenhagen and a promenade here will bring 19th century Copenhagen to life.
In central Copenhagen, on the corner of Badstuestræde and Knabrostræde, in an area referred to as the Medieval City, lies Café Sorgenfri. The building that surrounds this gem is from 1792 and for centuries there has been a restaurant on this corner. The present restaurant opened its doors in 1929 and it has since then, had a reputation of serving Copenhagen’s finest pork roast. They serve a number of other delightful dishes and where most traditional Danish restaurants close their kitchen around 3 o’clock, Sorgenfri is open until 9 in the evening. Table reservation is a good idea.
When you are done with the marinated herring, suet-sausage and other nutritious delicacies, and you’ve spent the last 24 hours in a cold, dark room digesting, you’ll be ready for a nice guided walking-tour in historical Copenhagen. The tour-guides are often loud, round and wearing tall hats, which in itself makes the tour a memorable experience, but they also hold an abundance of interesting historical facts about the old capital. These facts, when spouted loudly and directly at you by an elderly gentleman in a top hat, seem to rest firmer in the hippocampal region, or whichever part of the brain it is that stores precious information.
Again we stray a bit from central Copenhagen but only because the destination is worth it. Karen Blixen, aka. Isak Dinesen was one of world’s greatest writers with an exceptional talent for telling stories. In an interview after receiving the Nobel Prize, Hemingway said,
WHERE: NY ADELGADE 5, 1104 CPH K WHEN: WE HAVEN’T BEEN THERE WHEN IT HASN’T BEEN OPEN HOW MUCH: ON THE PRICEY SIDE BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION WEB: PALAEBAR.DK
WHERE: FREDERIKSBERG RUNDDEL 1A, 2000 FREDERIKSBERG WHEN: DURING THE SUMMER: 6AM - 10PM HOW MUCH: FREE
WHERE: BROLÆGGERSTRÆDE 8, 1211 CPH. K WHEN: WEEKDAYS, KITCHEN 11 AM TIL 8.45 PM, WEEKENDS 12 TIL 5 PM HOW MUCH: DEPENDS ON YOUR APPETITE WEB: CAFESORGENFRI.DK
WHERE: COPENHAGEN WHEN: ALMOST EVERY DAY, BUT YOU HAVE BOOK IN ADVANCE HOW MUCH: 100 KR WEB: COPENHAGEN-WALKINGTOURS.DK
As a Nobel Prize winner I cannot but regret that the award was never given to Mark Twain, nor to Henry James, speaking only of my own countrymen. Greater writers than these also did not receive the prize. I would have been happy – happier – today if the prize had been given to that beautiful writer Isak Dinesen. Well, in this ‘classic’ edition of Stay Out, we would definitely recommend that you visit the museum, Rungstedlund. Although Blixen spent a great part of her life abroad, this is where she lived when in Denmark. The house and garden are teeming with fantastic stories… WHERE: STRANDVEJ 111, 2960 RUNGSTED KYST WHEN: TUESDAY UNTIL SUNDAY FROM 10 AM TO 5 PM HOW MUCH: ADULTS 50KR, CHILDREN BELOW THE AGE 14 ARE FREE WEB: BLIXEN.DK
Next issue on the 30th
Published on Jun 23, 2010