In a year when most cities couldn’t pull off a Pride (yes, you London) or could only pull it off if they got rid of the parade (Manchester, it was fun but we’re looking forward to next year), you have to take your hat – and other garments – off to Copenhagen, where not only did they pull off a Pride, they pulled off World Pride! And threw in the EuroGames for good measure. Oh and got a real-life princess and the Prime Minister to kick off proceedings!
Yes, there were strict Covid measures, but they worked with them making six parades instead of just the one, to spread the numbers a little, and converging on a park for post-parade festivities in the fresh air. You see people: it can be done! Yes, it was probably smaller than it would have been (mind you, do you remember when London hosted World Pride and Mayor Boris Johnson couldn’t get his act together meaning it was cancelled at the last minute?) but it went ahead and very nice – and very well-behaved – it was too! Because Denmark does well-behaved: that the whole affair was less raucous than it would have been in other cities probably has something to do with the fact that this is a very tolerant country and people just rock up with their kids and their grannies for a nice day out with the Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts and pluses. No biggie.
And what a great backdrop Copenhagen is for a major Pride! An old town in what they say is the oldest kingdom in the world that is all windy lanes opening onto grand squares and no fewer than four royal palaces and the occasional gay bar (the afternoon Grindr party at the funny prison bar Jailhouse CPH, was fun: thanks for the T-shirt), a huge old-school pleasure-garden called Tivoli with fun-fair rides and stalls plus some of the best dining in Europe: Nimb, considered one of the best restaurants in the world is right there in a building that looks like the Taj Mahal by the Tivoli (check out Nimb Roof for sunset cocktails), while we did a seven-course fine-dining tasting menu at plant-based Ark, which has to be one of the loveliest and most imaginative dinners we’ve had in quite a while. And we have dinners.
Holed up at the hands-down-gorgeous Nobis Hotel, a ten-minute walk from the station that brings you from the airport in ten minutes, we’re not only in the centre of town with the art museum and Tivoli just over the road, we’re also in downtown Danish design heaven. Based in an old music college from the early 1900s, there are still marble staircases and huge windows but there are also low-slung tan leather sofas, huge geometric lamps, design-classic nick-nacks on all the right shelving and old-school disco played around the clock. Rooms are light and airy with wide-parquet flooring, modern takes on the four-poster bed and colours taken from the What Colours Are Hot Right Now catalogue: dark blues teamed with brass, you know the kind of thing, you’ve seen Elle Decoration.
And not only is Nobis perfectly located for town and the main gay bar, Oscar’s, just ten minutes up the road (everything is ten minutes… except the Pride closing party, come to think of it, which was out along the river in an old industrial complex by a canal), it’s also ten minutes – maybe nine and a half – from the glory of Copenhagen, its funkied-up waterfront (don’t bother schlepping to see that mermaid, by the way: in the middle of nowhere and tiny!)
With artfully-designed walkways, lidos where you can swim in the river itself, including one with a huge timber boat you can climb up to dive in, and restaurants and bars and cafes, the waterfront is the perfect Sunday morning, especially if you splash out on a GoBoat, a solar-powered motorboat that you can captain yourself, taking you down the canals behind parliament and up towards the gorgeous modern opera house and then back round another canal to see the yachts. It’s in this direction that you will find Christiania, the city-within-a-city where the rules are waived, which comes across a bit like Camden Town but with less to buy.
And then you can go to the Torvehallerne indoor/outdoor food market, with stalls selling everything from the recently killed to plant-based burgers (try Souls Food for the crispy tofu burger, maybe with a rosé or three to sit outside with), or explore the Shoreditch-cool Meatpacking District behind the central station, where you’ll find bars made out of old garages and authentic restaurants from everywhere, nightclubs, the works. And that’s without even mentioning the design shopping or the huge lake that you can sit out at with drinks or the long walk out through country lanes – or by water bus – to an out-of-town eating-and-drinking experience called Reffen. You can even find a pretty decent beach – Amager – just three or so miles away.
Copenhagen, eh? A helluva lot to be proud of.
Stay at the beautiful and very central five star boutique Nobis hotel. Double room from £312.
Enjoy a delicious and plant-based meal at the food critics’ favourite, Ark. Seven course seasonal tasting menu from £69. With five-glass wine pairing, £118.
Go sailing on the waters in Copenhagen in the solar-powered and very user-friendly GoBoat. £57 per hour of hire.
Souls Food, Frederiksborggade 21 (outside stall at Torvehallerne)