The Hedonist: Copenhagen

What to see and where to be seen
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The Independent Travel

In Denmark's cosmopolitan capital – the hometown of supermodel Helena Christensen and the birthplace of designer Arne Jacobsen's Egg chair – aesthetics count for a lot. So, I decide to ditch the clothes I'd packed and head to Magasin du Nord (00 45 3311 4433; shop.magasin.dk) in search of something significantly more stylish to slip into. I'm in a rush, so I don't find much, but a pair of too-tight Acne jeans will have to do. I ask the blonde-haired, blue-eyed sales assistant whether she thinks they're too close for comfort. "It's the look here," she says in a sing-song kind of way.

With my confidence restored, I return to Hotel Nimb (00 45 8870 0000; nimb.dk) and team them with a plain white shirt and glossy black tuxedo jacket for a smart, streamlined look. Nimb is Copenhagen's sleekest super-stay, housed in a building that dates back to 1909 but which is thoroughly contemporary inside, with interiors that mix modern furnishings with age-old antiques.

All dressed up with nowhere to go, I attempt to book a table at Noma (00 45 3296 3297; noma.dk) – the world's best restaurant, don't you know – but am told by the lady on the reservations line that I can't have a table until February. I tell her that I'll be starving by then and will have to eat elsewhere. But I'm not feeling stroppy for too long. As I step out of the car in Copenhagen's very own Meatpacking District, I realise that this part of town is as of-the-moment as of-the-moment can be, and I've got my name down at its supposed crowning glory: Fiskebaren (00 45 3215 5656; fiskebaren.dk).

Decked out with grubby white factory tiles and a concrete-topped central bar, it's all very New York. My dinner partner and I lap up every square-inch; our leather booth for two is sumptuous and sexy, and we feel like shades-on superstars as we pore over the menu of divine Danish seafood. I'm ravenous. Like a man possessed, I order piled-high plates of scallops and oysters for my starter ("Not to share," I tell the server somewhat curtly), and a beautiful marbled rib-eye steak for a main course. I feel slightly ashamed that I didn't go for the restaurant's signature seafood – the hake baked with brown butter is a particular highlight – but there's only so much saltwater one can stomach before a night of a thousand cocktails.

Jumping back into the car, Velkommen Til Medina by Danish superstar Medina blasting out of the speakers, we make our way back into the centre of the city and rock up outside Ruby (00 45 3393 1203; rby.dk). Secreted away in an 18th-century apartment building on the waterfront, it's got a real insider feel about it without being swathed in velvet ropes.

I can't help but feel smug as I slink past the beady-eyed bouncers and make my way up the four deceptively steep steps. But I know I'm going to have trouble making my way back down them, particularly as Ruby's pièce de résistance is its cool cocktail menu. I waste no time in necking three Ruby Daiquiris (made with homemade rhubarb jam shaken and not stirred with vanilla syrup, fresh lime juice and five-year-old Angostura rum). An intimate orange glow emanates from the dazzling chandeliers overhead, ornate oriental rugs are underfoot; a crowd of impeccably turned-out locals are dressed to the nines. Ruby was credited as the pioneer of the city's cocktail scene when it opened in 2007.

I take a tumble on the steps on the way out. But unlike in London, the bouncer helps me to my feet and then pretends to fall over himself to save my embarrassment in front of the long line waiting to get in. I hop into a taxi and head over to the bar at Japanese restaurant Umami (restaurantumami.dk). It doesn't take long to top up with another tipple, this time in the zesty form of a Ginger Passion cocktail. While sitting at the Zen-inspired bar, I chat to DJ Nicoline, who invites me to her set at Simon's nightclub (00 45 5338 9003; simonscopenhagen.com) a little later.

I don't quite remember the last hour or so at Simon's, but waking up between the Nimb's fine thread-count sheets soothes my head.

In a misguided attempted to nurse myself back to health, I check-in for brunch at The Royal Café (00 45 3312 1122; theroyalcafe.dk). While its menu of "smushi" (described as "open-faced sandwiches") doesn't line my stomach enough to risk braving the rides at Tivoli Gardens ( tivoli.dk), I can attempt a gentle stroll beside the canal in Christianshavn. I join a gaggle of Japanese tourists beside the water, and breathe in the crisp Copenhagen air...

A Hedonist’s Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see hg2.com

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