E nglish speakers of the world need not worry too much about any misunderstanding when visiting Iceland. Apart from the oldest generation folks here speak excellent English and a number are fluent in Scandinavian languages as well.
Neither is there much need to worry about not getting anything to wet your throat during romantic evenings. Bars in Reykjavik are mushrooming like drug-resistant super bugs and slowly local bar owners are realizing folks want more variety. You thus have something to choose from if beer, wine or other spirits tempt you.
But that is pretty much only possible in Reykjavik city. Elsewhere, you can certainly find bars of some kind but these are sometimes only open during weekends and the decor and standard of many are way below zero. Thus, unless you pay a fortune for a pint at your hotel your options are none.
Which is why we recommend learning the word “vinbud” before taking flight here. Vinbud is the local name of the government controlled wine and spirit monopoly. These are found in most larger towns in most parts of the country but opening times vary a lot. Selection options will not make you drool but at least you can buy some wine without overrunning your bank allowance. Prices in Vinbud are generally 40% to 70% cheaper than in hotels and bars. Then again, prices are also 80% to 800% more expensive than you are used to from most civilized countries.
Learning the word is simple enough. “Vín” means wine and is pronounced exactly like the word mean or lean except, of course, you substitute v for m or l in those cases. The latter word “bud” means store and the pronunciation is almost exactly like saying “booth” in English. Combine those two and practice a few times and Voilà!
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