Midwinter is far from bleak in the Swedish capital. Yes, the days are short and dark, but the locals know a thing or two about keeping warm. They hang glowing stars in windows, burn torches outside cafés and restaurants, and hit the Old Town’s glogg stalls for steaming cups of mulled wine. And in the bars and clubs around the Stureplan neighborhood, some of Europe’s best nightlife really starts heating up.
WHERE TO STAY At the centrally located 65-room Berns (8 Näckströmsgatan; 46-8/5663-2200; www.berns.se; doubles from $306), the bedrooms are minimalist and the public spaces baroque. What’s more, some of the city’s top mixologists staff the cocktail bar. For a base right next to Stureplan, try the newly redone and highly polished Scandic Anglais (23 Humlegårdsgatan; 46-8/5173-4000; www.scandic-hotels.se; doubles from $264).
WHERE TO EAT A meal among the city’s elite in Café Opera (Opera House; 46-8/676-5807; www.cafeopera.se; dinner for two $150), a gilded and frescoed salon with a rich, seafood-heavy menu, is a must. Then head through to the Opera House to catch a performance of Pippi Longstocking: The Ballet. Performances begin November 25 and continue through January.
WHAT TO DO Start at Riche (4 Birger Jarlsgatan; 46-8/5450-3560), a bistro-bar that attracts an affluent post-work crowd. After 10 p.m., move on to Laroy (21 Biblioteksgatan; 46-8/5450-7650), a decadent bar-club that pulls in a fashionable set. From there, it’s just a few steps to Sturecompagniet (4 Sturegatan; 46-8/5450-3715), which cemented its reputation as Stockholm’s most exclusive club by opening V, a 250-person VIP section. End the night at the White Room (29 Jacobsbergsgatan). Echoing the scene outside, the interior is snow-white and theatrically lit. —Stephen Whitlock