Some A-list alternatives for your next After Work

Looking for someplace new to grab a drink in Stockholm after a long day at the office? Contributor Gwen Ramsey has some suggestions that will help you get out of your After Work rut.

Some A-list alternatives for your next After Work
Elverket: olofw/Flickr (File); Wijnjas Ost och Vinkällare

Meeting up with friends or co-workers for an After Work usually means heading to the nearest pub for a beer to celebrate the end of another demanding week at the office.

Cheap drinks, enough room for your group, and great music is all it takes to kick-off the weekend’s festivities.

The best AW’s don’t require much planning and with the list below you don’t have to. This is for those of you who want to break out of your Friday rut and are looking for an alternative to the norm.

There is something for everybody, whether your co-workers are craving a change of scenery or if you simply want to impress someone special.

Hope to see you out there on Friday!

Södermalm: Fotografiska

Instead of Gondolen try Fotografiska Museum.

Many say that the view from Fotografiska is the best in the city. Fotografiska unfortunately has only a small selection of wine and beer but Paul Svensson and his team make up for it with a wide variety of bar food and snacks.

The crowd is diverse, music is great and there is more than enough room for your entire department to relax and wind down. You have to pay for a ticket to the museum so I would make sure that the exhibitions are of interest to you before you go. This is definitely for those of you who want a little more out of an AW.

Gamla Stan: Le Bar

Instead of O’Leary’s try Le Bar.

This is a solid neighborhood bar in the middle of the tourist traps. Le Bar stands out from the other AW hangouts for three reasons:

1. The music is at a reasonable decibel level so that you can actually have a conversation.

2. The service is dependable and friendly.

3. To put it simply, they offer really good bar food.

And if you like it enough to explore what else their kitchen has to offer then try their sister restaurant Brasserie Le Rouge.

City: Scandic Grand Central Hotel

Instead of the Nordic Light Hotel try the newly opened Scandic Grand Central Hotel.

T-Centralen is a convenient spot to meet friends who work in different corners of the city. However until now, the surrounding area hasn’t had much to offer the AW crowd. The newly opened Scandic Grand Central Hotel fills that void.

This bar has got something for everyone including classic cocktails for traditionalists and trendier concoctions for your more daring colleagues. Want to make a night of it? Stay for dinner in the Teatrebrasseriet followed by live music in the Acoustic Bar.

Vasastan: Köttbaren

Instead of Storstad try Köttbaren.

Köttbaren is the latest in the F12 group of restaurants. They don’t take reservations which means that snagging a table here on a Friday night is a game of “how long can you wait until you give up and grab a hot dog on your way home”.

Thankfully you don’t need to actually get a table to appreciate what Melker Anderson and his team have created for meat loving carnivores. Their butcher stand by day turns into a bar by night. Bring 2-3 friends and order your favorite glass of wine along with the charcuterie platter (185 kronor).

Östermalm: Brasserie Elverket

Instead of Sturehof try Elverket.

Elverket is one of the best options in Östermalm if you are searching for an alternative to the Stureplan scene. Elverket is a true neighborhood bar and restaurant. Whether your drink of choice is beer or champagne, everyone feels at home here.

They kick -ff AW on Fridays with free tapas starting at 4pm.. If you are an oyster lover then this is the place for you! The last Friday of every month is “Ostronrally”. Oysters start at 12 kronor each and the price increases by the hour. The party continues until they run out of oysters which is usually around 7 pm, so get there early.

Kungsholmen: Wijnjas Ost och Vinkällare

Instead of Orangeriet try Wijnjas Ost och Vinkällare.

Alf Wijnja purchased this gourmet food market in 1993. The location has since then been resold and fashioned into a wine bar and restaurant, but the charm of this turn of the century building still remains.

For a wine bar, Wijnjas Ost och Vinkällare is as unpretentious as they come. They have a lengthy wine list with wines by the glass starting at 65 kronor. Don’t overlook their wines by the bottle either. If you see something you like then they are more than happy to open it, even if you just want to buy a glass. AW on Friday is your opportunity to try their extensive selection of cheeses.

Each glass of wine is paired with a carefully chosen cheese, compliments of the house. There is lots of room for the entire gang but both the bar and lounge fill up fast so get their early to secure a nook for your group.

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The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.