Where to eat, drink and explore in Copenhagen: Kinfolk editor-in-chief John Burns shares his shortlist
With its signature matte covers, palette of washed-out earth tones and emphasis on all things artisanal, Kinfolk magazine has had an outsized influence on culture over the past decade, from the look of Instagram to the popularity of slow fashion. Now, as the world reopens and travellers prepare to hit the road en masse, the Copenhagen-based publisher is aiming to put its stamp on the travel guide genre with a new book, “Kinfolk Travel: Slower Ways to See the World” (out Nov. 16).
“Travel has sort of always been in the wheelhouse of Kinfolk, but publishing quarterly, and not having a digital editorial presence, it’s always felt a bit limited in terms of what we can do,” says John Burns, Kinfolk’s editor-in-chief. “We had often talked about producing a series of city guides, but they go out of date so quickly, and we are about longevity and intentionality, so we wanted to produce something that was a bit more evergreen and inspiring.”
Instead of listing hotels, restaurants, shops and landmarks for each destination, “Kinfolk Travel” takes a more eclectic approach, offering guided tours of unconventional destinations (think Albania, Idaho and the Faroe Islands) from stylish locals. From the best places to buy books in Baltimore to the fashion boutiques of Dakar to the bars of downtown Santiago, each chapter offers an introduction to a place through an unexpected cultural lens.
“It’s about getting to know the place on your own terms rather than following some sort of spoon-fed itinerary,” says Burns. “We want you to just pursue your own interests and see things at your own pace. Just explore, basically.”
Burns’ adopted hometown of Copenhagen is notably absent from “Kinfolk Travel,” so he shared with us an introduction to the best places to eat, drink and explore in and around the Danish capital.
For a cosy stay: Hotel Hornbaekhus (Skovvej 7, Hornbaek)
Built in a historic wooden house a short drive from Copenhagen (and easily accessible by public transit), this seaside boutique hotel makes for a charming getaway from the big-city bustle. Rooms are outfitted in Scandi style by Danish design studio EEN, and in the spirit of Danish hygge, the evening meal is served communally, complete with cosy blankets and a roaring fire. “You end up talking to the other guests, which I feel is a rare thing,” says Burns. “Beyond that, it’s just beautifully decorated, and the town has this windswept beach that’s really spectacular.”
For eclectic plant-based cuisine: Baka d’Busk (Rantzausgade 44, Copenhagen)
This newcomer to Copenhagen’s vibrant restaurant scene takes a different approach to modern Nordic cuisine with its ever-changing menu of plant-based dishes and a colourfully decorated dining room. “There are a lot of good restaurants in Copenhagen, but Baka d’Busk feels like an antithesis to many of them,” says Burns. “It’s very inventive and the food is beautifully presented, but the atmosphere is really unfussy. It feels like something new in the city.”
For people-watching and unusual wines: Pompette (Møllegade 3, Copenhagen)
“It’s a bit of a scene, but it’s unpretentious,” says Burns of this natural wine bar and bottle shop in Nørrebro, one of Copenhagen’s hippest quarters. Come for well-priced glasses of wine and snacks, and stay to take style notes from fashionable Danes congregated around the bar.
For top-shelf pastries: Lille Bakery (Refshalevej 213B, Copenhagen)
“There are bakeries on every corner in Copenhagen, but this is one of the best,” says Burns of this coffee shop, bakery and bistro in the former industrial neighbourhood of Refshaleøen. Grab a coffee and a kanelsnegle (Denmark’s take on the cinnamon roll) and then hunt for the credenza of your dreams at the nearby Danish Antique & Modern furniture warehouse.
For colourful Scandinavian fashion: Henrik Vibskov (Gammel Mønt 14, Copenhagen)
Alongside Lego bricks and Carlsberg beer, one of Denmark’s most famous exports is Henrik Vibskov’s colourful and oddly proportioned creations, which can be found at his quirky Central Copenhagen boutique. “I like him because I think when you think of Scandinavian style, it’s very clean, minimal, and conservative, and I think he’s just a fantastic antidote to all of that,” says Burns.
For artistic inspiration: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Gl Strandvej 13, Humlebaek)
“I know it’s a classic, but everybody here loves it, and it’s just such a beautiful place,” says Burns of Denmark’s most famous art gallery, located in a former private home north of the city. Burns likes to stroll the sculpture gardens in summer, but regardless of the weather, he always makes time to visit the North Wing’s Giacometti Gallery, home to one of the foremost collections of sculptures from the mid-century Swiss expressionist.
Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.