Barstalker in HIMKOK Wonderland
Himkok means moonshine but for me it means a wonderful playground for bar lovers and a place where you find whatever you have dreamed of.
You will find a kind of prohibition speakeasy bar, a micro distillery with crafted spirits, a cider bar, a nice open space to chat with your friends. Upstairs you get cocktails fresh from the tap and find a huge lounge area with comfortable seats and a bed to rest. For those who need a shave, they find a barber shop at the end of the spacious room. Getting shaved while enjoying one of the special beers must be very relaxing. If you stand in front of the Taptails bar you will notice a tiny bar counter on an upper level which can only be accessed by a fireladder. Very cool idea for more private occasions.
The concept is easy to understand. High quality, well-designed interior and with a great love to the details for everything. So, let’s have a closer look because this is what you have to do in the very beginning. The door of Storgata 27 has no sign only a discreet logo at the wall. There is also a bell to ring. As you enter the building you will see many jars of pickled vegetables and fruits. You will find all shelves in the building packed with those nicely colourful arranged jars. On the right side you will notice a heavy curtain and a person will welcome you and guides you to a seat in the bar area. The first thing you see after passing the curtain is a huge still in a separate room with glass walls, where the house spirits aquavit, gin and vodka are made.
The pipes from this room are going straight to the carboys at the bar. It feels like being transferred back into prohibition time. The height of the bar counter is perfect to lean on and the bar stools are turnable with a very comfortable backrest. Monica Berg who is part of the bar team gave us a very warm welcome and the most traditional drink on the menu with aquavit served in a pottery and a cookie. The pottery and the cover of the menu is made by the same artist. The menu “wears a traditional Norwegian pullover” and the drinks are represented on polaroids with a hand lettered list of the ingredients. They tailor the drinks to the crafted spirits and make tasteful creations. There are also some other spirits available as you can see on the picture. By the way Norwegians consume a lot of Cognac. All drinks come with a homemade mix of nuts and herbs which are growing in their own greenhouse.
Himkok is located in one of the oldest buildings from 1837 and was an industrial warehouse, a pharmacy and also an apartment building. The bartenders are dressed in white lab coats and the interior reminds of a pharmacy, also the logo links to the historical background. Monica introduced us to the General Manager Yunus who showed us the place and told us many details about this oustanding project.
We went to the outside area where you can find a cider bar serving a selection of cider from Seattle. We got a sample of a nice strawberry cider and walked upstairs to the first floor.
This is a huge area with many different areas to relax. You can find cosy armchairs, a bed, high tables and so on. The centrepiece of this floor is the taptail bar. Brilliant concept to speed up the preparation for high-volume without compromising on quality. There are 6 or 8 pipes available and the list of taptails look great. This is the best way to serve people drinks in the same time like beer. But they shouldn’t miss the shaking, stirring and throwing of the handsome bartenders downstairs.
After the tour through the building I was overwhelmed of the place, the organisation and maintenance process, the team spirit and Yunus who has such a good personality with open bright eyes and always a smile. In total I was three times at Himkok. On a regular Friday and two further nights after Bar Show Events. The service and the drinks were always to the point. The last event ended with a midnight snack after the crazy award party, with many guestbartenders and drinks, what was a life-saving support and another indicator of a world-class bar.
Here you will have some more impressions of the Bar Show Event in Oslo: