Monday, February 18, 2008

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll...Swedish Nightlife

Just as people in many other parts of the world, Swedes have no lack of traditions, cultural heritage, and sacred traditions, this post is on something quite a bit different then that:
The Weekend Party

No matter how cool or damp the weather is on a given stockholm evening, you can always count on a hot and steamy party to be going on at one of the many bars, lounges, clubs, discos, etc that are located in and around downtown Stockholm.

This weekend ritual is not as transparent as it seems to many of us that live in other parts of the world. There are some very important differences not the least of which is the creation of the förfest or pre-party. Drinking in Stockholm, or even in Sweden for that matter is quite an expensive affair especially when you take into account Sweden's strict regulations on alcohol sales and consumption, only legally allowed by the System Bolaget. The short story here is that alcohol is expensive, very expensive, in fact it is on average 2x as expensive as prices in Canada where the prices are already inflated. The country has had its problems with alcohol abuse although from my experience here, these strict rules do not do much to curb them.

So I believe the förfest was developed in order to a) save people money, b) meet up in one central place before going out, and c) getting into the party spirit. There is a delicate balance that needs to be maintained when drinking at a pre-party, and I have seen many "half decomposed examples" of people with an inability to perfect this on the t-bana on our way out to the clubs. There is also the problem that if you appear to be too psyched in the lineup the asshole bouncers can and do quite easily prevent you from getting inside.

Once you are inside the club, the Fest can begin, or does it? If in student cities outside Stockholm the number of bars can and do prevent a majority from entering so was created the Mellanfest a time where after you get your stamp guaranteeing you re-entry, you go back home to party and continue drinking gratis. When finally you do get inside, depending on the depth of your pockets (t.ex whether your a student) the drinking inside may slow down a considerable amount. Hence the goal for some is to maintain this tipsy balance without overdoing it to ensure a proper fest.

The night life here is definitely vibrant and with the variety of choices you have the option of upscale or down home with advantages and disadvantages to each local. Entry into the more posh and expensive clubs in Stureplan is normally easiest around 10pm with it getting harder and harder the longer you wait if you happen to pee standing up. If you happen to want to get in after midnight and are a group of only guys and don't happen to know the bouncer or owner, it might be worth your while to check out the night life in Södermalm.

n Södermalm you will find that the rules of entry are quite a bit more relaxed as are the drink and entrance prices. Not only are the rules of entry more relaxed but from my experience the people seem more down to earth and easier to talk to as well.

Many clubs are open late here in Stockholm with several closing at 3 and others that close at 5am. The T-bana shuts down from the center at about 3:30am and for many this is their last time to get out of the center to the suburbs without having to worry about the night bus. The T-bana can be quite unreliable at this time with drunk people trying to get on and off and who knows what else happening at stations besides the one you are at.

Once you do get home some of the die hard party animals might continue their partying with what is known here as Aftonfest. This is where you migrate back home and continue the party which typically ends in people passing out around the flat after a bite to eat.

1 comment:

  1. A small correction: it's "efterfest" and not "aftonfest" (aftonfest would me evening-party).