Cheers! Skál! Bottoms Up!

Anna's 42nd Editorial
Words by Anna Andersen
So far, there really hasn’t been much to celebrate this year. We didn’t win the Eurovision Song Contest. Only a third of us are happy with the government. Thousands have protested in front of parliament. Our teachers went on strike. Our airport employees went on strike. Our pilots went on strike. And none of them were entirely successful. Yet, according to a report by Arion bank called ‘Er kominn tími til að taka fram kampavínið?’ (“Is It Time To Bring Out The Champagne?”), the bubbly stuff has made a comeback.

Of course, as the report suggests, the rise in champagne consumption probably says more about the economy and people’s faith in it than it does anything else. “Most people consider champagne a luxury good and therefore it is one of the first things that households, which could previously afford it, cut down on when times are tough,” the report reasons. “At the same time, sales rekindle when households are optimistic about the future.” Thus, the bank sees champagne sales as a reflection of the current state of the economy as well as an indicator for its future.

This perhaps explains why sales peaked in 2007 (at 22,106 bottles). After all, we thought we were living the dream, and enjoying (albeit briefly) the world’s highest standard of living, according to the U.N.’s annual Human Development Index report. Then, unfortunately, the bubble burst in 2008, and we had to come to grips with the fact that we perhaps couldn’t afford to indulge in that Veuve Clicquot (not that there was much to celebrate anyway…). The so-called kreppa set in and champagne sales fell 70% over the next three years, down to 6,624 bottles in 2010 (which was incidentally the year Ne-Yo released his (sort of) hit single “Champagne Life”).

Apparently though, things are looking up now. Sales have increased steadily over the last few
years, and there was a 17% jump in sales during the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year. But whether or not it’s time to bring out the champagne depends on whether you simply enjoy living like every day is your birthday (indulging in “them fast car nights and
them big boat days”), or if you see it as celebratory drink (although the fact that we just voted a xenophobic party into the Reykjavík city council hardly deserves a toast).

On another note, champagne clubs are on the decline. In the last year, 101 Reykjavík saw two of them close down, as it turns out they were actually fronts for strip clubs (and stripping has been illegal in Iceland since 2010). Today, there is just one such club left, in 108 Reykjavík, and it apparently sells “a glass of champagne” for 6,000 ISK (dubious, right?) and access to a “secluded VIP area” for 1,000 ISK/minute with a minimum of 10 minutes (suspicious, no?).

Lest we forget that these seedy institutions still exist, we decided to include this particular club in our fourth annual Bar Guide, in which we review and rate every single bar in 101. Now, shall we go fall into it or “eigum við að detta í það?” as they say in Icelandic?

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