A decade ago this tough, Nørrebro street was known for its connection to biker gangs and hash clubs, and the few journalists who dared to traverse its 19th-century cobblestones had generally been sent to report on some kind of trouble. Today, however, the street is making international waves as a fascinating, offbeat spot for independent boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
It is thanks partly to Jægersborggade’s tough, independent past that its residents have been able to create this unique community all by themselves. Organizing as a tenants’ association, the street has encouraged residents and local business people to open their own enterprises, supporting them with start-up capital and a genuinely engaged community spirit. This kind of community support is not unknown in Copenhagen, and Jægersborggade sometimes appears as a miniature Christiania.
One such business to benefit from Jægersborggade’s supportive tenants’ association is Restaurant Relæ, a gourmet eatery opened earlier this summer by no lesser than the former souschef of award-winning restaurant Noma, Christian S. Pugsili. With credentials from some of Europe’s top restaurants, Pugsili could have had his pick of prime downtown addresses, but instead chose Nørrebro’s Jægersborggade due to its “self-made desire to create something”… in an area that “has an audience of people my own age,” as Pugsili explained to local netguide aok.dk.
Restaurant Relæ is still only months old, but has already received a visit from Betty Hallock of the LA Times, who described Jægersborggade as “up-and-coming… a street lively with cafes and bars”.
Pugsili also owns the deli and take away Manfreds next door at no. 40, known for its brunch of organic Eggs Benedict and Cumberland sausages made from produce imported directly from selected local farms.
Another intriguing place on this fascinating street is people’s wine bar Terroiristen – named after the French word “terroir”, meaning earth – and thus making a connection between good wine and its point of origin. Here, it’s the guests who get to choose the night’s wine card, with the first drinkers of the evening choosing which four bottles should be served that night. Once the bottles are empty, the choice is made again. In another unusual move, owner Stefan Jensen has chosen to specialize in often over-looked Italian and Slovenian wines.
The first Thursday of every month is late-night opening on Jægersborggade, when the neighborhood takes on the lively atmosphere of a street festival, as tables and chairs move out onto the sidewalk and stalls are set up outside to tempt curious passers-by. Such temptations include the organic pork of no.35’s Pers Griseri, homemade sweets from toffee factory Karamelleriet at no.36, organic Green Sushi at no.39 as well as various vintage clothes shops and ceramic workshops.
Street sign photo courtesy of Mike Linkslayer.