Inside Sodermalm, the world’s third coolest district*

*as voted by Vogue

Mixing the buzz of Shoreditch with the laid-back indie vibe of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Sodermalm is a haven of Scandi cool.

Stockholm is made up of 14 islands, each with a character and charm all of its own from the museum and forest gem Djurgarden to the history and majesty of Gamla Stan.

To the south of the city centre is Sodermalm, a large island which over the past two decades has built up a reputation for being the beating heart of independent and bohemian Stockholm.

Shedding the pretensions so often associated with hipster hangouts, Sodermalm has an inclusive feel of a place that is lived in not just by students or creatives, but by families. Brands like J. Lindberg and Samsoe & Samsoe sit neatly next door to Swedish fashion heavyweight H&M. Rather than being exclusive, cool bars and restaurants happily open their doors to families, children mingling with the Negroni-sipping 20 somethings. 

Sodermalm is also home to a vast array of independent brands and businesses, which impress the visitor with their sense of taste and distinct Scandi identity so often copied around the world.

Here is our pick of the brands:

Nitty Gritty

Nitty Gritty

Founded in 1991 as a reaction against the homogenous mainstream fashion scene springing up in Stockholm, Nitty Gritty is the concept that lifestyle shops like Shoreditch’s The Goodhood Store aspire to be. Split across a men’s and women’s store, Nitty Gritty is effortless in its design simplicity. Each clean, bright space features a perfectly curated mix of international mega brands such as Stone Island, New Balance and Comme des Garçons, alongside cool indie labels like Common Projects, Universal Works and Sunspel. The larger of the two, the men’s store comes complete with a hair salon stocking cult US haircare brand Davines.


Papercut 2

Reminiscent of London-based magazine and bookstore chain Magma, Papercut is a haven for design-hungry eyes. Filled with international indie magazines, books (both fact and fiction) and a wide selection of films, Papercut truly is a visual feast. It would be easy to spend hours flicking through books on how to set up a startup business in Copenhagen or select the perfect typeface, but with Nitty Gritty just next door there are other temptations just waiting to be explored.



Swedish lifestyle chain Designtorget makes it easy for worshippers of the Scandi interiors aesthetic to get their fix at half the price. Plant pots and asymmetric bookcases sit happily next to industrial-style lamps sporting exposed lightbulbs and minimal brass candlesticks. This particular store on Gotgatan is located in a mixed use space, also home to a magazine shop, independent fashion designers and a local branch of Swedish coffee chain Wayne’s Coffee.



Grandpa is the kind of shop anyone visiting Stockholm longs to stumble upon. Filled with carefully curated items from denim by Dutch label Kings of Indigo to lightweight Patagonia shell jackets and interior and lifestyle items from Grandpa’s own-brand label Low Key, this store has much to recommend it. Clearly a favourite amongst locals with deep pockets and an instinctive sense of style, Grandpa ticks all the boxes.



Those in search of a dose of traditional Swedish fare should look no further than Pelikan. Dating back to 1664, the wood panelled beer hall and adjoining sister bar Kristallen (see above) offer visitors a rare taste of historical Stockholm with a modern twist. Think Swedish craft beers served alongside meatballs and mashed potato covered in cream sauce with a side of gherkins and lingonberries. Perfection. 



Located in the SOFO area of Sodermalm, Bleck truly is a hidden gem. Tucked away on the side of Lilla Blecktornsparken (or little park), Bleck is part cocktail bar, part high-end restaurant with a minimal menu of four dishes per night. Amongst them are an open faced pork belly sandwich served with chilli cream and Gruyère, and a hickory smoked sausage with potatoes and kale. All best enjoyed under the fading light of a setting sun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s