Last Summer I recommended a number of coffee shops and book shops in Copenhagen. I drink a lot of coffee - my friends are convinced that I have got to the stage where I need “inflight refuelling” - like those surveillance planes that keep in the air by occasionally meeting up with a flying tanker that trails behind it an umbilical with a cone on the end that dispenses fuel - and I spend a lot of my money on books so bookshops that sell coffee are, for me, about as good as it gets.
Both these coffee shops are on side streets in Copenhagen so probably not the sort of place a visitor would come across by chance.
Tranquebar at Borgergade 14, is on the corner of Landgreven - a long narrow open space (with an underground car park) that runs down to Store Kongengade. The bookshop specialises in travel books but also has good general collections including architecture and cookery. There is a large area of comfortable seating and they serve coffee and food and, on the evening I was there, they also had wine although that may have been because there was a book signing. The book shop has an active programme of music, talks and book signings … the present home page of their web site has a photograph of Michael Palin in the shop. I leave it to you to decide if that is a good or a bad thing.
Democratic Coffee Bar at Krystalgade 15 was established in 2011. It is not strictly a bookshop although it does sell some books and magazines but it is closely associated with books because it has one entrance from the street and one entrance directly out of the lobby area of the public library. Last summer I was staying with an American friend in Copenhagen and she told me about the coffee shop and said she would take me to see the bullet holes. I rarely need any excuse to go to a coffee shop but that must be one of the oddest to keep in reserve for future use. When we arrived at Democratic, after a quick word with the bloke serving, we were shown through the kitchen and out through a doorway into an internal courtyard. I’m no expert, but as far as I can judge, the wall of a stair turret was peppered (I think peppered is the phrase you use) with bullet holes. There was no explanation about who, when or why so I kept fairly quiet in case they dated from 1807 when the the English navy attacked Copenhagen and made a pretty good attempt at raising the city. The Danes are pretty tolerant and pretty forgiving but just in case I tried to pass myself off as American.
Back in the coffee bar we had some excellent coffee and split (shared) some fantastic cakes baked there and when the owner arrived we had a long discussion about wine and tried a few samples he had just brought back from a trip to France as possible candidates for sale in the cafe.
The next day, somehow !! I found myself back in the coffee bar with the plan to have one of the best of the cakes completely to myself. The owner recognised me and rumbled the motive and we then got into a long conversation about baking and what makes a really good cake which somehow involved a lot more free tasting. Obviously the poor man would go bankrupt pretty quickly if everyone reading this post expected free tours of the battlefield along with tastes of wine and cakes but it does suggest that a warm welcome comes with the good coffee.