I couldn’t believe my ears. The DJ was playing Chuck Brown’s “Block Party.” Do Danes have block parties and barbecues? Would they be playing the Godfather of Go Go at such gatherings? First a Grammy nod, now Chuck has gone global. I have hit Danish nightlife pay dirt at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I entered. There were a few tourists listening to a jazz mixologist upstairs. It was a tad odd to see a guy in Ray Bans with headphones spinning jazz tunes. Guess there wasn’t a band available. But the bass was bumping downstairs in what looked like Copenhagen’s version of the Cotton Club. Small tables with white table clothes and candles look over the dance floor and a stage boasts the “Jazzhouse” in soft blue lights. Trumpeter Terence Blanchard played there during Copenhagen’s Jazz Festival earlier this month. But now the DJ was playing Chuck and I was starting to wind up, especially when he played “Double Dutch Bus” followed by “Jungle Boogie.” It’s clear that Danish youth have been fed a healthy helping of soul and I am very appreciative, as are my fellow dancers. It appears to be girls night out and a gaggle of women have taken over the dance floor flailing their arms, hair, entire bodies, this way and that.
Now, when I told people that I was going to Denmark, particularly my single women friends, they were certain that I’d see all sorts of attractive, tall blond Danish men. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case. I’ve mainly seen middle-aged, married Danish men with 2.5 kids on vacation. I even had occassion to dance with a couple at the Jazzhouse. These guys, extremely happy to be out without the wives, made great dance partners. One was tall and gangly and the other short and curly-haired. Both were very polite and quite complimentary. I jumped and bounced to the classic 80s song “Our House” by some UK band with one and started enthusiastically dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” with the other until we realized that it was the super extended remix version. Then I spotted one–a cute Dane–except he didn’t look the way most would expect. He was dark haired, not particularly tall, and smartly dressed. If I am not mistaken, he was smiling and making eyes at me. How fun! Then they play our song,”I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. No, I am not making this up. He comes over and grabs my hand to dance. He speaks very little English and I can’t catch his name over the music, but it doesn’t matter because he’s cute; and he’s spinning me and he’s singing to me. He’s extremely tone-deaf, but I think that’s cute, too. (See what a cute Dane, in my opinion, looks like, below.) We were only meant to have the one dance. He seemed to be double dating with a friend or brother. Their blond dates didn’t appear to be into dancing, so they left. I, however, kept dancing with married Danish men until about 2 am, when I decided to call it a night. I met Rami and Peter on the walk back, two silly teens, who asked what I would prefer: Have a kangaroo in my house or live in a kangaroo’s pouch. I chose the kangaroo pouch, because I didn’t want a kangaroo to destroy my house and mistakenly kill and eviscerate me with its powerful hind feet and claws. They didn’t expect my very complete answer. I didn’t share the source of my extensive and very random animal knowledge. Sometimes having worked at Animal Planet comes in handy.
Before dancing with Danes, I dined with the hip and trendy variety at Geist, a spot I noticed on my first night in Copenhagen, a few blocks from my hotel. It turns out this is the new hot spot in Copenhagen with a celebrity chef named Bo Bech running the moody, well decorated place. The staff was super attentive, taking my coat and umbrella and seating me at a communal table with two couples.They were so into each other that they barely knew I was there, which was fine. I was ready to be focused on my food. Geist serves the Danish version of tapas and the waitress says that two is usually enough for most people, so I order a turnip, ginger and shrimp dish and a suckling pig, mashed potatoes and salted butter dish. The suckling pig turned out to be the dish of the night. The mashed potatoes were the consistency of a custard, the pork was juicy and slightly fatty with a salted butter foam on top. What makes pork better? Butter. It was ridiculous. I went light for dessert, which was strawberries in a thickened balsamic vinaigrette with slices of frozen whipped cream on top. With coffee or tea they bring out white cotton candy, which they call candy floss, to end the meal. It was top notch all the way. This one wasn’t in the guide book.
But I did take Lonely Planet’s advice and hit Copenhagen’s main shopping areas–Stroget, Straedt and Latin Quarter –during the day as the sky spit rain and openly cried rivers off and on. There were the places you see everywhere like the H&M, Top Shop, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton, etc. But further exploration lead to cute jewelry shops and home stores selling colorful Danish designed soap dishes, pillows and the like. When I could take down my umbrella, I took a few photos. Check them out.