Kødbyen (Meat City) is the collective name of Copenhagen’s meat-packing district, currently enjoying its reputation as Copenhagen’s hippest and most up-and-coming neighborhood – despite spending the ’80s and ’90s being one of the city’s most run-down. Located in Vesterbro, it stretches south-west of the Main Train Station towards the waterfront as far as Dybbølsbro Station, and is made up of ‘Den Brune Kødby’ (The Brown Meat City) from the end of the 19th century and the newer ‘Hvide Kødby’ (White Meat City), which was built between 1931 and 1934.
The Brown Meat City. Not too long ago this was little more than a seedy red-light area, but complexes like the smart leisure center DGI-Byen and the vast exhibition hall Øksnehallen (formerly a cattle market) have added a new injection of life into the area. In tribute to its rawer past, however, Copenhagen Municipality opted in 2006 to honor local writer/poet Dan Turell, who based much of his work in a partially-romanticized, seedy Vesterbro setting, by naming a new square close to Halmtorvet ‘Onkel Dannys Plads’. Dan Turell died in 1993.
The White Meat City is owned by Copenhagen Municipality. While a number of meat companies continue to operate here – making it one of the few remaining active meat-packing districts in the world – many of its characteristic, white ’30s buildings have been taken over by local artists and businessmen and transformed into some of the city’s hippest bars, restaurants and galleries.
Ten Meat City bars, galleries and restaurants to check out:
Karrierebar. Owned by local artist Jeppe Hein, this restaurant-bar has a unique interior designed by an artistic team that includes the internationally-acclaimed Olafur Eliasson, who has transformed the premises into a luminous exhibition of light.
Kødbyens Fiskebar. This smart seafood joint was recently honored with a ‘Bibgourmand’ in 2010’s Michelin guide.
BioMio. This former Bosch warehouse is now Copenhagen’s most eco-conscious restaurant. A people’s kitchen and a must for green tourists.
Jolene Bar. A hip clubbing spot for party-goers of all persuasions, this intimate club is run by two Icelandic girls and sports the talents of resident DJ Djuna Barnes. It’s fast become one of the hottest party spots in town.
Mother. The city’s newest pizzeria offers sour-dough pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven and opened on August 26.
PatéPaté. This former liver pate factory turned tapas bar offers everything from relaxed breakfast to wine bar at night, with the possibility to purchase good quality wines during the day.
Dask Gallery. In what has been billed as Denmark’s ‘first edition gallery’, signed and numbered limited-edition photographic prints can be bought for as little as $100.
V1 Gallery. Vesterbro’s hippest exhibition for street art moved out here in early 2007.
Gallery Bo Bjerggaard. A more established name on the gallery scene, Bjerggaard moved here from smaller premises recently to promote both international names as well as younger artists, primarily within the genres of video and photography.
Mesteren&Lærlingen. One of Vesterbro’s oldest bars was reopened in the summer of 2009 by four local DJs who wanted the place to remain close to its meat-packing roots: “We think it’s really cool that the butchers still feel like coming down here for a beer”, explained one of the owners to a local website guide.
Photo courtesy of Tuala Hjarnø and Copenhagen Media Center.