Tromsø is known for its lively nightlife – and you can often find keen partygoers on the city’s dance floors.
The term “The nightlife city of Tromsø” emerged in the 1970s when many new places to go out suddenly sprung up in Tromso and it appeared all were full to overflowing. The city’s bars, nightclubs and restaurants can collectively cater for around 20,000 people, and although the happy 70s have now passed, Tromsø remains a very lively and social city. During term time, the city is home to more than 10,500 students (+upper secondary school pupils), which means the nightlife city of Tromsø is standing firm. However, all adult age groups in Tromsø go out, even the city’s 102-year-old who visits his favourite bar with the assistance of his walking frame!
One of the most distinctive features of Tromsø is the city’s compactness. Most of the bars and nightclubs are located along the main street, Storgata, making it easy to check out several places in one evening. Starting from the south, the first pub on Storgata is Ølhallen (The Beer Hall), Tromsø’s oldest pub, which opened in 1928. Since this historic pub is also open during the daytime, it is a natural starting point for a pub crawl. By the way, Ølhallen was known as a male bastion to such as extent that it was not until 1973 that the first female toilet was opened. The male toilet also houses a small local art gallery. The student house Driv is now located in the same building.
There are several other places that have a virtually legendary status on the Tromso nightlife scene. Skarven pub is a sure winner every time the sun shines. You will also find outdoor seating areas at several places along Storgata.
Tromsø has a reputation as a festive place, which is surrounded in both history and myths. Thomas von Westen, who was known as the Sami apostle, wrote a letter of complaint to the King during one of his missionary trips to the north (in 1717-1723). His complaint concerned the sale of liquor very close church in Tromsø. It is worth pointing out that the person responsible for liquor sales was one of the pastor’s sons.
Possibly the best known story from the Tromsø area is the one about fisherman Eidis Hansen from Labukt in Balsfjord. He had been on a long fishing trip to Finnmark. When he came ashore, he was thirsty for a drink so he rowed all the way from Labukt into Tromsø to stock up on alcohol and other supplies. Upon arrival at the general store at Prostneset, they refused to serve him. He was so angry that he walked down to the seaside and found a huge rock weighing weighed 371 kg, which he carried up and placed right in front of the door of the general store. If they were not prepared to serve him, then they were not going to serve anyone else either! After several attempts to move the rock, the shopkeeper pleaded for mercy: If Eidis moved the rock, he would give him liquor. According to the story, they agreed on the spot!
To this day, the huge red granite rock remains at Prostneset, not far from the Tourist Information Office. It now bears a small brass plaque. However, the most fascinating part of the story about Eidis Hansen is the chandelier that now hangs at Elverhøy Church. This was given to the church as a gift by his parents because the men of the church had prayed to the Lord that their sick and infirm son Eidis would grow up. His incredible strength was proof that someone’s prayers were answered.