Where to read, write & think in Copenhagen

Visiting Copenhagen for a few days? Say, for a conference – but also have some time to read, write and think?

Here are some ideas…

First, sort out the stationery

Viking 1914

Pencil manufacturers turned suppliers for the creative class. You won’t regret a visit to this well-assorted shop on Store Kongensgade. And there’s a reasonable espresso stop across the road.


An old favourite on Amager Torv. And Nikolaj Kunsthal is nearby if you need a moment of inspiration.

Markers N Pens

New(ish) kid on the block a bit further afield – specifically Jægersgade – in a hip part of town.

Two great cafés

Paludan Bog & Cafe

Wonderful bookstore which also has a nice café – it is on Fiolstræde right near the university.

Democratic Coffee

In an extension of the central library on Krystalgadewhich brings us to…

Three, four (or five) interesting libraries

Hovedbiblioteket / The Main Library

Four floors of books, newspapers and other resources. And don’t be afraid to ask a librarian if you need help. They’re friendly people. On Krystalgade as mentioned above.

Den Sorte Diamant  / The Black Diamond

Architecturally striking extension to the Royal Library. Need some help navigating it? Why not take a tour… And perhaps also visit the National Museum of Photography when you’re there. Or get a bite to eat at Søren K and enjoy the view.


That acronym unfolds (into English) as The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation – they have a library, exhibitions space and an interesting events programme. You can find them it on Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé.

The Design Museum’s Library2017 Design Museum Denmark - Library Reading Room

The largest collection of books, posters and materials related to design – in the Nordics. And a nice reading room too. As illustrated…

Find it on Bredgade (10 min from Viking 1914).

The Old University Library

Now this one is a bit trickier – the oldest of the lot. Dates back to 1482 – and it used to be open to the public. Sadly does not seem to be the case anymore, but you can peek through the windows from Fiolstræde (and then go for a coffee at Paludan).

And the odd one out

The Palm Garden at Glyptoteket – entrance from Dantes Plads – not a bad place to quietly gather your thoughts.

And if you decide to stick around Copenhagen long-term, then here’s a list of co-working spaces. Enjoy! And let me know if you find some great places to add to the list.

Thanks for extra input and suggestions from Vicki Therkildsen.

Timeless ideas for Xmas in London

Walk along South Bank – and stop at the new Tate building for the view

There’s usually an pop-up xmas market up near Royal Festival Hall – and then keep going and explore four distinct fixtures:

  • Borough Market – where the well-to-do middle-class hangs out. That said, Monmouth is hard to beat. And if you have time, the bread baking courses are fun. Also, some of the fishmongers have a fire-sale just before 5pm on a Saturday. 
  • Flat Iron Sq – the newcomer to the area – mix of food etc. Also, Gentlemen Baristas are gentlemen (and a have a secret roof terrace). And sometimes you can hear music students across the street practice. Which is nice.
  • Mercato Metropolitano – slightly older than Flat Iron – and a bit further away – still worth a visit.
  • Maltby St. – only open on the weekends – the original break-out … Rope Walk is a tight but fun alley of interestingness. And you can taste Jensen Gin straight from the still… And on the other side of the railway tracks you have the Beer Mile.

More waterside walking – East London edition

Walk along the River Lee – and stop for pizza (and beer) at The White Building – or keep going and have a riverside coffee at Stour Space … and if you have salmon eaters with you, stop at Forman’s. For it is good.

Or if you ventured down the Hertford Union Canal, then make a side visit to the Pavilion in Victoria Park. Decent coffee.

Secret Sq. and an old mansion house

Have lunch at the co-operatively run vegetarian/vegan Bonnington Cafe – cash only… and then stop at Italo (across the street) before heading down to Brunswick House for a browse from cellar to top floor – (and have a drink in the bar at the end).

Books, nuts and cheese in Piccadilly and a proper martini in St James

Stop by the quirky Maison Assouline, then Hatchards (and the big Waterstones in-between if you must). Gorge on nuts and Greek Coffee at Carpo – and cheese at Paxton & Whitfield – and Nordic baked goods at Ole & Steen. And there’s a little wine-bar in Fortnum’s whilst you wait for others to finish their shopping  – whether upstairs or in one of the nearby historic Arcades.

And then ask lots of questions about wine – and buy a bottle – at BBR. Then repair to the frankly bizarre backstreet Duke’s Bar for a Martini. Remember: Only One.  

Great places in Aarhus for…



Great Coffee – exceptional – and run by an incredibly knowledgeable chap – take the time to have a chat
Klostergade 32 H, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Bill’s Coffee – nice little cafe with a take-out window to the street
Vestergade 58, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Street Coffee – (one of several – all good)
Vestergade 52, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Art & Books

DOKK1 – beautiful library, great place to work – and enjoy harbour views
Hack Kampmanns Pl. 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

AROS – modern are and a 360 view of Aarhus
Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

Løve’s Bog- og VinCafé – wonderful and atmospheric cafe and bookshop
Nørregade 32, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Antikvariatet Aabenhus – eclectic 2nd hand bookshop
Paradisgade 14, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark


Lynfabrikken – also has good espresso
Vestergade 49, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Vegan & Vegetarian

Mikuna – excellent chilli in a small cafe setting
Frederiks Allé 96, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Café Gaya
Vestergade 43, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark



A short list of espresso spots in Edinburgh

When I lived in Edinburgh ‘99-’03, the choice of good espresso spots was a lot more limited: Gran Cafe, Elephant House and maybe one or two more.

Now there’s a panoply to choose from:

The Milkman – next to the station
Toddle In, 7 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1BP

Brew Lab Coffee – near the Old College
6-8 S College St, Edinburgh EH8 9AA

Machina Espresso – just down the road from Brew Lab
80 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9EW

Artisan Roast – on the edge of New Town
57 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3RJ

Dovecot Cafe by Leo’s – nice gallery here
Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary St, Edinburgh

Cult Espresso
104 Buccleuch St
Edinburgh EH8 9NG

Find even more here…

Book cover: Scottish Independent Coffee Guide No2

Eight spots near #IABC17

Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar – just a short walk from the venue
1916 I St NW, Washington, D.C.

Keren – Excellent Ethiopian restaurant
1780 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe – buy all the books, skip the cafe, head for the bar
1517 Connecticut Ave NW (at Q St NW), Washington, D.C.

Columbia Station – Nearest jazz bar… 
2325 18th St NW (Belmont), Washington, D.C.
Jazz Club · Adams Morgan · 14 tips and reviews

Tryst – ’No corporate coffee, no matching silverware
2459 18th St NW (btwn Columbia Rd & Belmont Rd NW), Washington, D.C.

Le Diplomate – Look after your international relations & foreign affairs
1601 14th St NW (at Q St NW) Washington, D.C.

Left Door – Upstairs speakeasy
1345 S St NW (at 14th St NW), Washington, D.C.

Birds 1 Stone – Downstairs… 
1800 14th St NW (at S St NW), Washington, D.C.

Save the whole list to Foursquare.

P.S. In case you’re too busy for any of the above – and need to get some work done, then here’s a list of worthwhile co-working spaces (some distance away):


You can of course also sit with the yuppies at WeWork – there’s one of those across the street from the Hilton.

Four places in Camberwell

Silk Road – Noodles, dumplings and more from North West China
49 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8TR|

THEO’S – Wood-fired joy, whether pizza or panuozzo 
2 Grove Ln, Camberwell, London SE5 8SY

Lumberjack Cafe – Quiet friendly corner for an espresso
70 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8QZ

No67 Cafe & Restaurant – Post-gallery brunch, lunch or dinner
67 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH

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