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Entertainment & Nightlife in Norway


All Norwegian cities have bars and pubs that offer a full range of alcoholic beverages and most towns over a certain size have a pub. Most hotels have bars. You will find discos and nightclubs in most cities and in many towns, particularly in the weekends. In the cities the hotels offer restaurant service into the night, but nightclubs in the continental sense are not widespread in Norway. Many of the hotels at winter resort offer after-ski gatherings.

Drinking alcohol in Norway is a prohibitively expensive business – a half-litre of beer will cost up to NOK60 and a 40ml shot of spirit even more. The minimum drinking age is 18 years for beer and wine and 20 years for spirits. Distilling spirits at home is illegal, although that doesn’t deter production of a form of moonshine called hjemmebrent, a lethal concoction of distilled sugar and yeast widely available on the black market. The national drink is Akevitt, a fiery spirit flavoured with herbs.

Many Norwegians go out late on Fridays and Saturdays after a vorspiel (pre-party) involving drinks at home, so the street atmosphere from 10pm on the weekends can be lively, to say the least.

There are no casinos in Norway, as gambling is illegal, other than through the state-run lottery, football pools and horse-racing schemes, for which tickets can be purchased in the ubiquitous ‘kiosker’, small shops also selling newspapers, sweets, hot dogs and soft drinks.


Nightlife, in the sense that most people understand, arrived comparatively late in Norway. For centuries, family life was the lynchpin of Norwegian society, and people tended to socialise at home. Draconian alcohol controls, including a form of prohibition in the early 20th century, did not encourage going out.

Since the late 1980s though, with relaxation of drinking laws, it became possible to drink until 2am. Many pubs and clubs opened to take advantage of the change in legislation.

A publication called What’s On in Oslo has the most comprehensive venue listings and is free from hotel foyers and tourist offices, but good first port of call is Rosenkrantz gate, a street teeming with bars, music pubs and other nightspots. Many nightclubs are located on and around Karl Johans gate. Oslo nightlife is generally relaxed, with neat smart-casual clothing good for everywhere but the most expensive restaurants.

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