On a recent trip to San Francisco, I was fascinated by the influx of quality colonial corner stores focusing on local organic products combining deli and café services, all with their own brand of neighborhood personality and style. Arriving back in Copenhagen, I was baffled and somewhat dismayed about the lack of selection of the same type of store in a city that has such retail diversity. But then it has been awhile since I have wandered down Stefansgade in Copenhagen’s most dynamic and lively district, Nørrebro
Lured by the luscious sweet scents of pressed organic oranges, I entered Stefanos Grønne Hjørne/Stefanos Green Corner, to be met by its upbeat owner Chem. This charming store, into its 4th. year, maybe small in stature, but it has a big heart. The emphasis is on quality and as close to 100% organic as you can get. Chem and the gals make you feel welcome and I was momentarily transported back to San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. Refreshed and uplifted, I explored some of Stefansgade’s anchor points to see if there were any other developments, and low and behold. Knast, the recently opened interior and design store represents the healthy tendencies in sustainable and handcrafted design. Especially, Made By Anders, with his blend of urban camper style meeting urban dwellers has found a niche that will have people flocking to Stefansgade 3. Designkollektivet, is another small scale, but ambitious platform for 6 designers showcasing their beautifully crafted materials from customized leather goods to Japanese inspired plant hanging systems. Common for both Knast and Designkollektivet is the emphasis on combining differing design disciplines for a common goal.
The adjoining street, Jægersborggade has long established itself as one of Copenhagen’s most unique focal points, a village within a village. Since the chefs, Kim Rossen and Christian Puglisi opened Restaurant Relæ on this relatively short stretch, Jægersborggade has developed into a wonderful window for local niche brands and young entrepreneurial spirits that just capture the soul of this neighborhood. Blink at your peril and up pops another little gem. Kaktus epitomizes this by focusing on succulents and cactus plants playfully exhibited. The simple presentation and interiors engages with the customer. My store host, Maja, was rightly proud of this project and with succulents attracting an ever growing audience, Kaktus can only blossom. If the emphasis has been tilting towards Nordic traditions then, La Bouchée, will be having the Francophiles in Copenhagen putting on their berets and clapping their hands. Chilled Sancerre and Rosé from the south of France and goats cheese from Corsica giving this end of Jægersborggade a more international flavor. Finally, a liquor store with a difference. Den Sidste Dråbe/The Last Drop has been flying the flag for original brands of spirits, from their own Vodka, to relatively unknown brands of snaps and bourbon. It is an engaging space, tiny, but utilized to the last drop.
This area is rapidly becoming popular with international visitors with en eye for something original and who are taking advantage of local residents renting their apartments out via Airbnb. It is easy to see why exploring Stefansgade and Jægersborggade is such an enjoyable experience.
Photo credits: Phillip Mills