Food & Drink
Historic Boltens Gård is now a charming food market
Half-timbered architecture, cobblestones and light chains overhead. Green trees and even some birdsong. Boltens Gård once again has a sense of being a tranquil idyll despite the sounds of skilled craftpersons still at work, a building with as colorful a past as the merchant who gave his name to it.
Henrik Bolten was a self-made man rising from a poor background to become a prosperous merchant, who acquired the title of baron by marriage, purchased various castles and manor houses and built this palace on Gothersgade 8, before he fell on hard times and ended his days in poverty.
In more recent times, Boltens Gård became famous as a playground for the jet set, where rich people, celebrities and the crown prince popped vintage champagne and commoners downed jelly shots. “The new Boltens Food Court will not be a place for binge drinking and raucous behavior,” says Managing Director Lars Moesgaard, when we meet him.
“We’re a food market not a nightclub,” he says. “While we do have special beer and a cocktail bar, we aim to appeal more to tourists, families and friends than drunken crowds. Mothers should be able to breastfeed, families to bring young children and friends to enjoy an evening together,” Moesgaard says.
He, along with all the stallholders and even the cleaning staff, previously worked at Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen. Even though that creative food market has been a huge success, they don’t want a clone on Gothersgade.
“We all adored Papirøen, but we're not trying to recreate it here,” says Moesgaard. “This is a different kind of space, with a different kind of spirit. We were able to experiment and play around on Papirøen, which isn’t possible here with all the rules and restrictions that go with historic buildings in the center of Copenhagen,” he says.
Certain of the principles behind Papirøen on recycling, design and sustainability have, however, found their way to Boltens Food Court. The furniture is secondhand, not cable reels as such but recycled commercial furniture. The stallholders are designing their own places, and are using city gas and biogas to prepare food instead of electricity to reduce the environment load.
“Plus, there are a few things we can do better here,” says Moesgaard, “Not least the WCs. Here, the bathrooms are of a high standard on all floors, and are gender-neutral, so women won’t have to spend half the evening standing in line for the bathroom. Another advantage is that stallholders have got their own alcohol licenses. This means you can order the beer you would like to go with your food, rather than having to buy this separately in the bar after eating,” says Moesgaard.
“We've also got high technology installations, such as air conditioning, extractors, a common payment system and plenty of opportunities to open the court up to bring the city feel in.”
Moesgaard shows us round the impressive main complex on three floors, where the stalls will soon serve everything from pizza, confit of duck and fish and chips to Brazilian BBQ, burgers and Danish comfort food. You can sit down and eat indoors or outdoors, at small or large tables, on the roof terrace, in the courtyard or on the stairs. No matter where you sit, you’ll enjoy views over historic Copenhagen buildings. Elegant premises with a Vilhelm Hammershøi atmosphere can be hired for business or parties, while the courtyard includes a cocktail bar, café and beer counter with pac man and board games.
Visitors can also explore the premises where there are plenty of fun and surprising discoveries to experience.
“This is all part of the charm, one of the fascinations of here is that you can be part of creating some new history,” says Moesgaard.
Published: April 17, 2019