Barbarelleh in Copenhagen: The place to eat a late-night plate of nachos, cheese and salsa (while sipping champagne)

by: Tim Anderson (

Despite visiting Barbarellah in Copenhagen in a handful of times previously, I must admit I'd never seen the place in quite the right light. Not until yesterday. Or maybe it's just that it's only recently begun to hit it's stride.

As it turns out, Barbarellah is an excellent place to go to kick-off the night on the weekend. Arriving around 11PM yesterday, the place was standing room only - the first time I'd seen it that way - though previous visits were mostly on weeknights. As the night progressed, it got only busier and busier.

Barabarrellah on Saturday night

Since it opened about 3 years ago, Barbarellah has always been a place in Copenhagen with great potential. From the start, those behind Barbarellah had figured out a few things that most other cafes in Copenhagen hadn't.

For example, there was the insight that couches, being rather comfortable, make a quite good addition to a cafe. And by not filling the entire floor space with square wooden tables (and uncomfortable wooden chairs) squeezed as closely together as possible, a less conventional and more appealing atmosphere can be created - something Barbaralleh has managed to do quite successfully. And as music is a rather crucial aspect of ambiance, it's a good idea to have some turntables and a decent DJ set-up - and not just a stereo behind the bar. So Barbarelleh seemed to be off on the right foot from the beginning.

a couple of turntables in the corner - always a welcome addition to a cafe

Yet in spite of this great potential, Barbarellah has been a consistent underperformer.

The service has always been painfully slow and it seems to have taken a while to settle on a specific food concept for the place. Even now, I'm still not entirely sure what that concept is, in fact. There are worse places in Copenhagen for service (read: Cafe Sommersko - avoid, avoid, avoid) but the staff at Barbarrellah can leave you pretty thirsty while you wait. But last night, at least, it was not all that bad.

Barbarellah has a couple decent beers on tap (Hoegaarden and Leffe) - a prerequisite for even being considered as an interesting cafe - and they can make decent cocktails. But what is really unique is that food is served all night - not only until 10PM, the normal Copenhagen cafe cut-off time.

Meaning that at Barbarellah, it's actually possible to order a bottle of bubbly to cheerfully wash down a late night plate of nachos, cheese and salsa. An unconventional combination indeed, but hey, why not?

it's 1AM: some nachos and salsa with your champagne?

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