The love of natural wine is strong in the Nordics. Scandinavians have been trailblazers when it comes to sustainability in the food industry, eating only local and organic ingredients and reducing waste as much as possible. This passion does not stop on the plate, it also continues in the glass – Norwegians love natural wine! Strict alcohol laws in Norway have prevented Oslo from having the booming wine scene you find in Copenhagen – cute mom-and-pop bottle shops are forbidden (all alcohol over 4.7% must be sold in the Norwegian wine monopoly, Vinmonopolet), and wine bars and restaurants are forbidden from advertising their wine selection. So, it’s only natural that the natural wine scene in Oslo is a bit more underground. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. (Quite the opposite, in fact!) For a fairly small city, Oslo has an extensive amount of establishments serving the good juice. Even Vinmonopolet has caught on to the trend, offering a much broader selection of natural wine than in previous years.
We’ve made a guide to the best places to drink natural wine in Oslo. The list is predominantly composed of bars, but we’ve also included some restaurants where natural wine is at the heart of the concept. But even though some of the places listed are more “restaurants” than “bars,” we’ve only included places where it’s possible to drop in without a reservation, and where you can just go and drink wine and not order any food if you don’t want to. Keep reading to see our favorite places to drink natural wine in Oslo!
Need some wine recommendations? Check out our guide to our all-time favorite natural wines!
Where to Drink Natural Wine in Oslo
Skaal Matbar is a food bar (a restaurant with a bar vibe) where you can pop by for a drink, a snack, or have a full meal. Some of the highlights on the menu include Skaal’s layered potato “fries” with whipped crème fraîche and dill oil, and the grilled cheese with cheddar and jalapeños. Come thirsty – their natural wine list is one of the craziest in town, including producers like La Sorga, Milan Nestarec, No Control, Gabrio Bini, Mark and Martial Angeli, Jean Yves Peron, and Christian Tschida.
SKAAL MATBAR Address & Contact Information Olaf Ryes Plass 12, Oslo, Norway Website Instagram Facebook
Brutus is a hipster bistro serving only natural wines and small plates of food. The wine list includes producers like Gut Oggau, Christian Tschida, and No Control, as well as ciders from Fruktstereo and their very own natural cider brand, Mold Sider (made from surplus apples found in Oslo gardens that would otherwise go to waste).
Smack in the center of Oslo, Esaias Vinbar has an amazing selection of some of our favorite winemakers, including Anders Fredrik Steen, Jean-Christophe Garnier, Gut Oggau, and Gabrio Bini, as well as cider from local Norwegian producer, Mold. In the spring/summer of 2021, Esaias will expand into the former Bacchus Spiseri space and into the backyard as well, adding a casual food menu to their existing wine concept.
While you’ll need a reservation for the main dining room of Katla (our favorite restaurant in Oslo), you can walk in and sit in the bar section if you’re just in the mood for drinks (and maybe some snacks). An open fire is the beating heart of this restaurant, where Nordic ingredients meet Japanese and Mexican techniques. In addition to delicious food, Katla also has one of our favorite wine lists in town. Most of the producers on the list are biodynamic and organic, with some highlights being Radikon, Lucy Margaux, Matassa, COS, Guy Breton, and Mother Rock.
Radegast is the (mostly) natural wine bar in connection to restaurant Nedre Foss Gård. The walls in this beautifully designed bar are covered with wine bottles behind open glass doors, which allows you to browse the selection in a whole new way. (Great for those of us who remember labels better than names!) Whether you decide on a bottle of Tom Shobbrook, Patrick Bouju, Loimer, Christian Tschida, Mother Rock, Testalonga, or something else, you can choose to enjoy it either inside or outside in their front yard.
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Bass is a modern bistro and wine bar, and one of our favorite hangouts in Grünerløkka. The menu is comprised of small plates to share, and the wine list includes lots of natural producers like Ganevat, Lammidia, La Sorga, and Tom Shobbrook. These guys are even planning to add a brand new wine bar right next to Bass called Paradise Bar – slated to open in the spring/summer of 2021.
BASS Address & Contact Information Thorvald Meyers Gate 26C, Oslo, Norway Website Instagram Facebook
Maaemo alumni Luke Henderson and Jefferson Goldring joined forces to open Oslo’s chicest wine bar, Imperial. Imperial is a relatively small space with coffee tables and low couches in the corner, and a large island in the center with bar stools. Wine bottles that are available by the glass are stored on ice in the middle of this table. We also found some of our favorite producers on the bottle list, including Lucy Margaux, Adi Badenhorst, Jean Francois Ganevat, and Jauma. On the food side, you’ll struggle to find better bar snacks than this anywhere – we loved Luke’s variation of beef tartare, served on a delicious potato waffle, and the “hash browns” – long, meticulously layered sticks of potato topped with salt and vinegar.
“Matbaren,” the food bar of restaurant Arakataka, is as much of a wine bar as a restaurant – a no reservation zone with a limited snack menu. The bar snacks are only available Wednesday-Saturday, but you can drink wine here every day of the week! Their wine list is mostly natural with producers like Lucy Margaux, Charles Dufour, Matassa, Mother Rock, and Frank Cornelissen.
While restaurant Einer (upstairs) serves a New Nordic tasting menu, the little sister restaurant Einbar (downstairs) serves a bar menu that leans much more casual. Seasonal offerings are based on local ingredients, and might include dishes like a creamy king crab roll or celeriac dumplings. Their wine list is all-natural, starring Gabrio Bini, Michael Gindl, Foradori, Gut Oggau, and Frank Cornelissen.
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Territoriet is by no means a natural wine bar. In fact, they have far more conventional wines than funky stuff. However, in their selection of more than 300 wines (of which most are available by the glass, thanks to the Coravin extraction method), there are plenty of biodynamically produced, and pure grape juices like Heinrich, Claus Preisinger, Tissot, Ochota Barrels, and Patrick Sullivan. Just sit back, relax, and listen to the vinyl record playing in this cozy, elegant space – this is one of our favorite hangouts in Oslo.
One of Oslo’s finest cocktail bartenders, Benjamin Lee, teamed up with Alexander Kloster-Jensen, the owner of the wine bar and bicycle repair shop Rouleur at St. Hanshaugen, to open Merkur Bar on Bjerregaards gate. In a beautiful venue with original interior from the 1930s, they serve a selection of sake and natural wines.
MERKUR BAR Address & Contact Information Bjerregaards Gate 5A, Oslo, Norway Website Instagram Facebook
Andre til Høyre
Andre til Høyre is a wine and cocktail bar that is part of the new Youngskvartalet building in the city center. The venue is designed like an apartment – wines are enjoyed in “the kitchen” around a large concrete island, and cocktails are served in the adjacent “living room” which boasts a sleek lounge area. Andre til Høyre is not a strict natural wine bar in any sense, but they often have delicious wines available from clean producers like Patrick Sullivan, Ganevat, and Adi Badenhorst. We’ve even spotted crazy Slovenian producers like Aci Urbajs.
In the old venue of the iconic Oslo eatery Pjoltergeist, you’ll now find restaurant Hyde. Don’t be fooled by the casual, low-key setting, or the loud music – Matthew North’s food will surprise you, and the wine list is sure to quench your thirst. Sidle up to the bar for a glass of Jauma, Vigna San Lorenzo, or Yvon Métras.
Part clothing store, part coffee shop, and part natural wine bar, newcomer Dapper has quickly become one of the coolest places to hang in Grünerløkka. By day, you can enjoy pastries and by night you can trade in your coffee cup for a glass filled with fermented grape juice. You’ll find Gut Oggau, Sepp Muster, and many more tempting bottles on the shelves.
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The former venue of restaurant Bon Lío now houses the wine bar Nektar. Sindre Solem, from the Norwegian death metal band Obliteration, mans the bar. On the food menu, you’ll find simple comfort dishes like pork terrine and mac and cheese. Some producers we love on the wine list are Christian Tschida, Arianna Occhipinti, Gut Oggau, and Matassa.
NEKTAR VINBAR Address & Contact Information Fredensborgveien 42, Oslo, Norway Website Instagram Facebook
Bar Lardo is a tiny bar serving mostly natural wines. In addition, they offer charcuterie, cheese, and pickles. The venue can be hard to spot in Møllergata as there is no clear sign to indicate the narrow entrance area. Peek inside and look for colorful bottles on the wall – you might find Strekov, Alessandro Viola, Milan Nestarec, Lammidia, and maybe even Le Coste and Gabrio Bini if you’re lucky.
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Tranen is one of Åpent Bakeri’s locations that turn into the pizza restaurant Lofthus Samvirkelag in the evenings. At this specific venue, probably due to the particular preferences of the restaurant manager, Maciek Sulek (aka Magic), they have a great selection of natural wines from producers like Lucy Margaux, Renaud Bruyere & Adeline Houillon, Testalonga, Christian Tschida, and Serragghia.
TRANEN Address & Contact Information Waldemar Thranes Gate 70, Oslo, Norway Website Instagram Facebook
Smalhans is a casual neighborhood restaurant at St. Hanshaugen where you can drop in for a glass of wine and simple snacks in the bar. Like all venues owned by the restaurant group Lava, they have a strict natural wine policy. In their definition, nothing should be added to the wine, not even sulfites (although they allow quite a few exceptions on their list).
Sentralen restaurant is a casual Nordic brasserie, where the food is served to be shared. The wine list starts with a long explanation of their wine philosophy, including definitions of organic, biodynamic, and natural wine. Sentralen’s standard is spontaneously fermented, unfiltered, and without anything added, except possibly small amounts of sulfites.
Where do you like to drink natural wine in Oslo? Let us know in a comment below.