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Drink: the best bar in Tromsø that feels like a livingroom full of friends

Envision this scene: You stand amidst the aisles of a supermarket, facing an array of jam jars, each flaunting an assortment of around thirty diverse flavours, leaving you in a state of indecision. A predicament indeed, particularly when one considers that jam is merely the first item on a list of forty-five other items on your shoppinglist.

Yet, in the best bar in Tromsø, Agenturet, such conundrums cease to exist. The sole decision demanding your attention is the choice between left and right. On the left, you'll find the wine bar; on the right, the beer bar. Moreover, these two domains elegantly intertwine in the rear of the establisment. Should you regret your choice for left or right, well, reconsider whilst being inside and simply swap sides.

A bar in Norway

Don't be intimidated by the word 'winebar'. Should you not be an adept connoisseur of Chiantis and Pinots, worry not. Merely convey your favoured flavours, and you shall be presented with a direct hit to your preferred palate.

The same principle extends to the realm of beer. I count myself as equally enamoured of beer as I am of wine. As long as a flavour intrigues, bewilders in the most delightful manner, and ultimately gratifies, I stand content. Truly, whether a bottle costs 5 (dollars, pounds or euro's) or 50 bears little significance. Let alone indulging in obsceen displays of my refined tastes. My joy lies in the realm of surprise. No mattter what the price.

The revelation arrived through a beer on the 'beer side' of the establishment. Paradoxically, after my prior proclamation against flaunting expensive tastes, I can unabashedly declare this the most expensive beer I've ever paid money for. However, the cost isn't the focal point; rather, it's the fact that it happened to be the last available of the 'Neon Raptor Carrot and Walnut Cake Pastry Stout'. Yes, you read that correctly. This particular brew was emphatically recommended to me by a fellow beer enthusiast, who, incidentally, also happened to worked at Agenturet. Stout, a type of dark beer, frequently exudes a sweet undertone. Nonetheless, never before had I encountered a Stout that evoked thoughts of carrot cake. Remarkably delectable and worthy of every penny spent.

The stewardship of this establishment by beer aficionados, harbouring a distinct preference for obscure, independent, and diminutive breweries, scarcely surprises. The gentlemen tending to the bar narrate their recommendations with an enthusiasm as if it were their first day on the job. Curiously, this enthusiasm proves most inspiring. Beyond the realms of fine dining establishments, such fervour is a rarity in the hospitality sector (altough the word 'hospitality' clearly suggests the opposite). Hence, Agenturet emerges as a resounding recommendation for anyone paying Tromsø a visit.

As the title implies, the atmosphere within is profoundly convivial; the coziest bar in the Arctic if it was up to me. An ambiance akin to that of a comfortable living room pervades the space. One table accommodates a group of six students engrossed in a game of Besserwisser, while a slightly older Italian couple finds it nearly impossible to conceal their subtle smiles. The majority of the clientele is comprised of local Tromsø'ers (if they can even be called that). It's truly one of those locales that one is loath to depart, a place that indubitably contributes to the indelible memory of Tromsø. Such establishments deserve far more credit then they usually do.

Equally contributory to an enchanting stay is one's lodging. Pertaining to Tromsø, I present two recommendations for surprising reasons: light, or rather, the absence of it. In the summertime, darkness is an anomaly in Tromsø. To ensure and undisturbed night of sleep, thick curtains and effective sound insulation, adept at quelling the incessant squawks of seagulls, are indispensable. In this regard, the Skaret Studios excel.

Permit me to assert, as a former interior designer (yes, I was that in a not so distant past), that these petite studio's are splendidly designed and decorated with both warmth and elegance. Another rationale for my endorsement lies in the autonomy they supply. Equipped with a tiny kitchen, one can either consider to shop for breakfast, or to explore local eateries. This variability lends charm, diverging from the standardized hotel breakfasts. And, there's simply just too many great bakeries in Tromsø to leave unattended.

The second recommendation finds relevance during the dark months in the north, particularly when one can marvel at the Northern Lights in Tromsø. During such instances, impeding one's view with curtains is a bad idea. Rather, one craves candlelit ambience, a sumptuous bed with an expansive view of the nocturnal heavens. Should the need arise to rouse from slumber in the dead of night, there is a big chance one awakens to the splendid undulating emerald northern light curtains straight overhead. For this scenario, I advocate selecting the Aera Panorama Lodge. Analogous to the visit to Agenturet, a winter stay herein endows Tromsø with a memory that shall endure for eternity. It will!


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