Territoriet My Favorite Hangout Spot in Oslo

The wine bar Territoriet is my favorite hangout spot in Oslo. Today, on the 3rd of December, they celebrate their one year birthday. Yet, I hardly remember Oslo without this place. I’ve already said that Pjoltergeist is my second home, so I guess Territoriet has to be my third. I am most at peace when I can sit in their petrol-colored couches with a good glass of wine in my hand. Those couches are usually taken, though, because Territoriet has become extremely popular in a very short time. It’s no longer the best kept secret among Oslo’s wine lovers.

Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in Norway’s capital? Check out our city map of Oslo!

Territoriet is my favorite hangout spot in Oslo.
Territoriet is my favorite hangout spot in Oslo.

I love Territoriet because of their huge selection of wine by the glass, the high quality of wines they offer, and the skilled sommeliers behind the counter. Most of all I love Territoriet because of the unique ambiance in the venue, which must be a combination of great lighting, excellent taste in interiors, and superior people! The general manager Magnus Nørsett has a special place in my heart too. He offers you a beer the moment you enter, always makes sure your glass is full and will even remember your preferences if you become a regular. Magnus together with Karin are responsible for the daily operations, but there’s actually six owners. They all live in the area and it’s important for them to keep Territoriet local. That’s why they serve Schous beer and coffee from Tim Wendelboe. The wines are not local, though…

Every day, Magnus risks his life in the ladder...
Every day, Magnus risks his life in the ladder…
These lights set the ambience.
These lights set the ambience.

Did I forget to mention the vinyl? I also love Territoriet because they only play vinyl.

– Vinyl is an organic material, Magnus explains. We wanted our music to be organic and not Spotify or mp3.

Being a collector of records myself, I know how much hassle it can be to constantly flip to the B-side or change the record. I have an incredible respect for the fact that they actually bother to do that so many hours every day, with a busy bar of impatient guests waiting for their next glass. It’s a bonus that most of the music they play is just to my liking. Territoriet is truly the place for wine and music lovers!

The vinyl selection at Territoriet.
The vinyl selection at Territoriet.
Wine and vinyl...
Wine and vinyl…
Model: Malin Elisabeth Kvande. Photographer: Trine Hisdal.
Model: Malin Elisabeth Kvande. Photographer: Trine Hisdal.
Check out this vintage portable record player!
Check out this vintage portable record player!

Finally, I love Territoriet because of the regulars who hang out here. Wine importers, wine producers, chefs, waiters, sommeliers or just wine lovers. I am looking forward to meeting them all again tonight as we celebrate Territoriet’s one year birthday.

One year has passed, but so much has happened inside the doors of Territoriet. I have a few stories I wanna tell about this place.

The One About Coravin…

Can you believe that Territoriet is the second biggest wine bar in the world when it comes to the number of wines served by the glass? Yes, in the world! They offer 310 of their 350 wines by the glass. Only beaten by the London wine bar 67 Pall Mall which has more than 500 bottles in their cellar. Coravin is the invention which allows Territoriet to hold this position. Invented by the American surgeon Greg Lambrecht all the way back in 1998, this genius device allows you to pour wine without taking the cork out of the bottle. It does so by inserting a medical grade needle through the cork, which replaces the wine with harmless Argon gas. Oxygen is never let in, and the wine can be put back on the shelf or in your cellar until you want to drink some more.

This is the Coravin invention.
This is the Coravin invention.
Magnus demonstrates how you pour Coravin with style (and a liquorice pipe).
Magnus demonstrates how you pour Coravin with style (and a liquorice pipe).

Apparently, the story of how it was invented is that Greg wanted to be able to drink wine while his wife was pregnant, but without leaving half the bottle to be ruined. The first official product was launched on the market as late as 2013, and a second edition only for the American market was introduced recently. However, Territoriet has managed to get hold of one of each. In Oslo, you can actually buy the original Coravin for home use at Howard! The price is NOK 3499. Not cheap, but for some it’s a small price to pay for a product that allows you to taste more wines through the years, and increases your life quality.

Magnus demonstrates how you pour Coravin with style (and a liquorice pipe)A fun fact: The most expensive wine by the glass at Territoriet costs NOK 1500. The 40 wines that are not offered by the glass are either bottles with screw caps or sparkling wines. Rumors has it that Coravin is working on a product to handle those challenges too…

The One About Gin & Tonic…

Territoriet is not only about wine. Gin and tonic is another passion. Currently they offer 18 different types of G&T. Each drink is named after a specific person, which is a friend of the house in some way. I don’t know all of them, but I believe some are the owners. Atli from Pjoltergeist has his own drink at least, with Icelandic söl seaweed! The sommelier Liora Levi has given her name to a pretty pink one, and wine maniac Rune Rake is also featured on the menu. I guess I am not a proper regular customer and friend of the house until I have my very own G&T some day!

Ingredients lined up for the gin & tonics.
Ingredients lined up for the gin & tonics.
The current selection of 18 different gin & tonics.
The current selection of 18 different gin & tonics.
The cocktail gin & tonic mixing area.
The cocktail gin & tonic mixing area.

The One About Great Food…

At Territoriet they know that good wine sometimes need delicious food on the side. The ham and cheese platters they serve are legendary! Maybe the best in town. You can usually get a good toast as well, with seasonal ingredients. In the truffle season you will find truffle toast on the menu! If you are really lucky you might come by when Elisabeth or Karin has brought homemade baked goods, or Magnus is making fresh waffles. On the 17th of May this year he was even doing some crazy liquid nitrogen ice cream in the backyard!

Cheese and charcuterie platter.
Cheese and charcuterie platter.
One of the mouth watering toasts you can order at Territoriet.
One of the mouth watering toasts you can order at Territoriet.
Waffle time!
Waffle time!
Classic Norwegian waffle with brown cheese, sour cream and jam.
Classic Norwegian waffle with brown cheese, sour cream and jam.
You can also just munch on a liquorice pipe like Ronny demonstrates with style here.
You can also just munch on a liquorice pipe like Ronny demonstrates with style here.

The One About Birds…

There used to be a pheasant at Territoriet called Frank. He was the mascot and the motivation of the sommeliers. Now he is kidnapped. The adventure started when someone stole the wooden duck from the wine bar Don Pippo in Bergen, and brought him to Oslo. The revenge was sweet when Frank was abducted shortly thereafter. His Instagram account was hacked as well (yes, Fasanen Frank is online). At first, some proper terrorist-looking guys held him hostage. Then Frank traveled the world. His current whereabouts are unknown. Now, to further confuse matters, another Instagram account has emerged. Pippotoriet follows the journey of yet another duck. I am not sure which one, to be honest. Apparently, to reduce the longing for a stuffed bird Territoriet also kidnapped the one at St. Lars. The circle is complete… or just broken. Let’s just say the story ended with Andreas Viestad (food writer and co-owner of St. Lars) decapitating a live chicken inside Territoriet. No one knows why.

Frank the pheasant in his happy days of freedom.
Frank the pheasant in his happy days of freedom.
Save Frank. Dead or alive.
Save Frank. Dead or alive.
The Don Pippo duck...
The Don Pippo duck…

The One About a Doctor…

There are special events at Territoriet almost every week. If a famous winemaker is in town, he is almost obliged to visit this tiny wine bar in the far southern end of Grünerløkka. I’ve missed quite a few of them, but I did get a chance to meet and talk with one of the biggest names in the Riesling world; Dr. Ernie Loosen. Being a Riesling lover I am of course very familiar with Dr. Loosen’s wines. However, I still consider myself a rookie in the world of wines. Describing flavors and aromas is not my biggest strength. “I know when I taste a good wine, and I know when I taste a wine I don’t like,” I told Ernie. The doctor agreed that this was the most important question he asked himself too:

– Do I like it, or not?

Wine doesn’t necessarily need to be more complicated than that.

Dr. Ernie Loosen in the ladder!
Dr. Ernie Loosen in the ladder!
The grand old dad of Mosel Riesling.
The grand old dad of Mosel Riesling.

The One About Bar Dancing…

Simon works as head sommelier at one Michelin star restaurant Ylajali (which closes its doors in 2015). This year he won the Norwegian sommelier championship, and one of the rewards he got was to make his own wine. What an achievement that must be for a sommelier! The 600 magnum bottles are sold only in Norway. 400 of them are already in the hands of restaurants, and the remaining 200 can be ordered from the wine monopoly here. I had the pleasure of tasting his wine this evening, as well as a 1927 Barone Ricasoli…

The "Simon Zimmermann" Barone Ricasoli.
The “Simon Zimmermann” Barone Ricasoli.
Simon Zimmermann playing around in the ladder at Territoriet.
Simon Zimmermann playing around in the ladder at Territoriet.
I got a taste from this 1927 Brolio Riserva from Barone Ricasoli. The oldest wine I have ever drunk.
I got a taste from this 1927 Brolio Riserva from Barone Ricasoli. The oldest wine I have ever drunk.

The One About Champagne & High Heels…

I love wine. I love Champagne too. But I know someone who are even more crazy about these pleasures of life than myself. Meet the Champagne and High Heels girls… Astrid and Linn are currently doing their WSET diplomas level 4 (Wine & Spirit Education Trust). The class they are following is something similar to a sommelier education. The CHH are regulars at Territoriet whenever they are in Oslo (they live in Brussels). You should definitely follow their Instagram, as well as Linn’s wine blog – Vinstudinen. Check especially this post about natural wine.

Champagne and High Heels at Territoriet this summer.
Champagne and High Heels at Territoriet this summer.
Selected wines swimming in the Bollinger Champagne cooler.
Selected wines swimming in the Bollinger Champagne cooler.
The legendary words of Madame Lily Bollinger, one of the grande dames of French champagne. "Unless I'm thirsty" is the final sentence.
The legendary words of Madame Lily Bollinger, one of the grande dames of French champagne. “Unless I’m thirsty” is the final sentence.

The One About the 1 Year Anniversary…

We arrived quite late, around 10:00 pm, I believe. I’ve seen Territoriet packed with people, but I’ve never seen it this packed before. It seemed like half the population of Grünerløkka had decided to join the celebration. Everywhere we turned there was someone we knew. For a second we almost lost focus on getting a glass of Champagne. Karin saved us eventually. Cheers!

99 luftballons?
99 luftballons?

We drank Champagne. Then we drank more Champagne. Someone climbed the ladder, inhaled helium and yelled happy birthday with a Mickey Mouse voice. We drank Bollinger, of course! Magnus, Karin and Elisabeth all inhaled helium in turns. They woke up the next morning with a major helium hangover, no doubt. We had some more Champagne, until the wine maker Alexander Pflüger came in the door and popped a bottle of his own white wine. It was a great night. I didn’t remember to take too many pictures. That’s probably a good thing.

The roof was flooded with helium balloons!
The roof was flooded with helium balloons!

Where do you prefer to drink wine? What’s your happy place? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Anders Husa

Anders Husa and Kaitlin Orr are food & travel bloggers and creative content creators. From their base in Copenhagen, they operate the largest and most influential restaurant-focused travel blog in Scandinavia.

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