Ordinary beer and lager is readily available in supermarkets at a reasonably low price. But access to strong alcoholic beverages is, as in Norway, Finland and Iceland, quite restricted and expensive. The only place to buy strong alcohol including starkÃ¶l beer which contains more than 3.5% ABV over the counter is in one of the state-owned shops called Systembolaget (http://www.systembolaget....) also sometimes referred to as simply "Systemet" or "Bolaget". They have limited hours of operation, usually 10-6 Mon-Wed, 10-7 Thurs-Fri, and 10-3 on Saturdays, with long queues on Fridays and Saturdays. Closing time at Systembolaget is more than rigid no matter how long the queue outside the store is, something the Swedes themselves joke about. They are always closed on Sundays. Most shops are of supermarket style. The assortment is very good, and the staff usually has great knowledge. Systembolaget does not serve customers under the age of 20 and will most likely ask for identification from younger looking customers. This also applies to any companions, regardless of who is making the actual purchase.
Beverages are heavily taxed by content of alcohol, some liquor is very expensive vodka is around 300 SEK a liter at Systembolaget, but the monopoly has brought some perks - Systembolaget is one of the world's largest bulk-buyers of wine, and as such gets some fantastic deals which it passes on to consumers. Mid-to-high-quality wines, and exclusive spirits, are quite often cheaper in Sweden than in the country of origin; sometimes even cheaper than if you were to buy the wine directly from the vineyard. This does NOT apply to low-quality wines, however, due to the volume-based tax on alcohol.
All brands are treated equally and there is no large-pack discount. Therefore, microbrews cost largely the same as major brands, and might be a more interesting choice. Beverages are not refrigerated.
The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is Absolut Vodka, one of the world's most famous vodkas. There are several brands of distilled, and usually seasoned, liquor, called brÃ¤nnvin or akvavit. When served in a shot glass with a meal it is called snaps not to confuse with the German "Schnapps". It is part of custom to drink snaps at midsummers eve and at Christmas.
Sweden does produce some outstanding beers, and have in the recent years seen a rise in the numbers of microbreweries. If you are looking for great local beer keep an eye out for breweries like "SlottskÃ¤llans", "Nils Oscar", "NÃ¤rke kulturbryggeri", "JÃ¤mtlands Ã¥ngbryggeri" and "Dugges Ale- & Porterbryggeri". You may have some trouble finding them, unless you go to a bar specialized in providing uncommon beer, or one of the well stocked "Systembolag", but you will find a few of them in every major city. Despite this the most common beer is the rather plain "international lager". The beer you get in normal food shops is called folkÃ¶l and has 2.8 or 3.5% alcohol. You are able to find a variety of different brands of beers in food stores, Swedish, English and even Czech beer. Sweden has a seasonal beer for Christmas, julÃ¶l. It is sweeter than normal beer and usually seasoned with Christmas spices, mostly it is of the beer type ale. All Swedish breweries make at least one type of julÃ¶l. Wine is popular, but the Swedish production is very modest.
Drinking alcohol in parks is generally legal, if notifications don't state the opposite. Drinking on public transport vehicles is prohibited, with the exception of trains or boats serving alcohol in a bar.
bars and nightclubs
The minimum age requirement is 18 to get into bars and to buy regular 3.5% ABV or less beer in shops to prevent teenage drunkenness, some shops have decided to enforce a minimum age of 20 for 3.5% beer as well, and 20 in Systembolaget. Many bars have an age limit of 20, but some especially downtown on weekends have age limits as high as 23 or 25, but this rule is arbitrarily enforced. Bring passport or ID.
Some posh clubs mandate dress code, vÃ¥rdad klÃ¤dsel is casual dress; this is also arbitrarily enforced. For male guests, proper shoes not sneakers or sandals, long-legged trousers not blue jeans and a dress shirt is almost always good enough.
Age or dress rules are not rigid, and doormen have the right to accept or reject any patron for any reason other than gender, sexual orientation, creed, disability or race. Though illegal, a few nightclubs are infamous for rejecting "immigrants", which usually means anyone with hair and skin darker than the average Swede, on pretexts such as "members only," "too drunk," or "dress code"; men of Middle Eastern or African origin are most often subjected to this. You might avoid this problem by dressing properly and behaving well.
Sweden has enforced non-smoking in all bars, pubs and restaurants, save outdoor areas such as terraces, and designated smoking rooms where drinks are not allowed.
The prices at clubs and bars are often expensive compared to other countries: a large beer half a liter usually costs 45-55 SEK ~US$7, but many low-profile bars advertise stor stark 0.4 L of draft lager for as little as 25 SEK. A long drink costs around 60-110 SEK. For that reason many Swedes have a small pre-party "fÃ¶rfest" before they go out to get buzzed before they hit the town and go to nightclubs.
Large clubs can require a cover charge, usually about 100 SEK or more at special performances. They usually offer a rubber stamp on your hand so you can re-enter as you like without having to pay again.
Be aware that you often have to stand in line to get into a bar or a club. Many places deliberately make their customers wait in line for a while, since a long queue indicates a popular club. At the very fanciest places in the major cities, the queue is often replaced by a disorganized crowd, and the doorman simply points to indicate who gets in and who does not to be sure to get in either be famous, very good-looking or a friend of the doorman. Or simply a regular.
Most bars that close at 01:00 or earlier, will have a free entry policy. Most bars and clubs that remain open until 03:00 will charge an entrance fee. There some clubs in the larger cities that remain open until 05:00. Their entrance fee will usually be around 200 SEK ~US$28.00 and their entry policy will generally weigh less favourably for the non-rich, non-well-moisturised, non-Swedes, non-friends and non-regulars.
The club's wardrobe or coat-checking fee is often mandatory, usually around 20 SEK.
Authorized security guards carry a badge saying Ordningsvakt, see #Stay safe. The club's own doormen carry a badge saying EntrÃ©vÃ¤rd. Though not allowed to use force, these should be taken seriously.
Moonshine hembrÃ¤nt is popular in the countryside, though illegal. Though some shipments can be as good as legal vodka, most are disgusting, so you should stick to the real thing.
In some Swedish cities generally the larger ones, clubs are quite often arranged illegally and underground outside of the city center. This is because of the notoriously strict liquor and nightlife jurisdiction. Alcohol taxes are high, clubs and bars are legally required to also have a kitchen in order to serve alcohol, clubs and bars must close at certain times and always employ a number of certified security guards in accordance with the closing time and guest capacity. These aspects contribute to the development underground cultures in several cities. These are, naturally, not listed and are often informed of on a word of mouth or online community basis. Generally, such clubs play techno, house and other electronic music, and so, ask locals for advice in legal clubs that play the same genre. The Swedish word for clubs arranged illegally is svartklubb literally black club.
Swedish consumption of coffee kaffe is among the highest in the world. Drinking coffee at home or in a cafÃ©, an act called fika, is a common Swedish social ritual, used for planning activities, dating, exchanging gossip or simply spending time and money. Swedish coffee is usually stronger than American coffee - but still not the espresso of France or Italy. Italian varieties espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte are available at larger city cafÃ©s. One coffee will cost you around 25 SEK $3,5/â¬2,8.