Kabin space
Photo by Liz Clayman, courtesy of Kabin

The RundownNew York

All About Kabin, New York’s Newest Norwegian-Inspired Cocktail Bar


Alex Tangen’s story is a familiar one to anyone who has moved to New York and found themselves missing some essential part of their previous home life. For British-born, Norwegian-bred Tangen, it was the relaxed pub and cabin culture of her native Norway and of London, both of which she hopes to telegraph in her new cocktail bar, Kabin.

Opening on June 26, Kabin is the city’s newest “Norwegian-inspired” spot which, yes, means there are meatballs and aquavit on the menu. But you should also know it’s got a decidedly New York style all its own, courtesy of Tangen and her team.

Ahead of the opening, we sat down with Tangen to chat all things community, teamwork, and caviar in this latest edition of The Resy Rundown.

The Resy Rundown

  • Why We Like It
    It’s a Nordic-inspired cocktail bar (think crisp, clean lines, and Scandinavian minimalist design) that’s the first-ever hospitality venture from cool-girl owner Alex Tangen. Expect Swedish meatballs, oysters, and pickled mackerel on a menu that was developed by D.C-based, Michelin-starred chef Johnny Spero.
  • The Vibes
    Sleek, Scandi, cool girl, with an air of fun that comes from the brightly colored cocktails and big, bold windows overlooking the city.
  • Essential Dishes
    Swedish meatballs, of course. Plus, smoked mackerel, the “ice-cold” oysters with grains of paradise, and if you feel like a splurge, the Norwegian waffles with Kaluga caviar.
  • Must-Order Drinks
    You’re here for the cocktails. It’s Norwegian-inspired, so go for something that involves aquavit or lingonberry. Kabin’s take on a martini, the Kolio, is worth a trip. The non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails are nothing to scoff at, either, if you’re so inclined.
  • Who It’s For
    Anyone yearning for a more relaxed cocktail bar scene akin to a London pub, but who still wants to sip a craft cocktail and be surrounded by a sleek, well-designed space.
  • How to Get In
    Kabin accepts and encourages walk-ins for drinks and food at all times, and takes reservations between 4 and 10:45 p.m. nightly.
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Kabin interior
Photo by Liz Clayman, courtesy of Kabin
Kabin interior
Photo by Liz Clayman, courtesy of Kabin

1. The name is very on the nose.

The inside of Kabin is both cozy and sleek, designed to make you feel like you’re in a “retreat from New York City,” Tangen describes.

Nordic cabins, the seaside, and Norwegian nature shots all played a part in inspiring the bar’s design aesthetic. The space was designed by Jeanette Didon, who also designed Brooklyn’s Aska, a Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant, and Ekstedt in Sweden.

“We have these super-high ceilings and a beam structure that is inspired by cabin design,” Tangen notes. “[But] we ‘New York-ified’ the aesthetic a little bit.”

This means plenty of rolled steel, lots of black, and enormous windows that quite literally make the city a focal point. There’s also a big center “sauna-style” banquette seating in the middle with dark wood accents, as well as a large communal table through the bar, both of which are perfect for hosting groups.

Aquavit at Kabin
Aquavit, anyone? Photo by Liz Clayman, courtesy of Kabin
Aquavit at Kabin
Aquavit, anyone? Photo by Liz Clayman, courtesy of Kabin

2. It’s not just Scandinavian by design — it’s a lifestyle.

Norwegian cabin culture wasn’t just an inspiration for the interior design (or the name). For Tangen, who grew up in London with Norwegian parents, the lifestyle that surrounded winter and summer cabins was one that she missed most after moving to the U.S.

“We would spend all summer down south in our seaside cabins, and then in the winter, we would go up to the mountains to spend time in winter cabins. It’s just this really big retreat away from the city, up into nature. That’s really what we’re trying to do here [at Kabin],” Tangen explains.

She hopes that the spot will also be reminiscent of London pub culture, which she categorizes as a bit more communal and “less rigid” than the New York cocktail bar scene. She anticipates having plenty of room for walk-ins, and wants to do all she can to avoid turning anyone away.

“We’re not a ‘no’ place. If people want to come and sit and hang out with us, we’re gonna make that happen,” Tangen says. In addition to plenty of standing room, there’s a total of 66 seats, too.

The menu also inspires a sense of community and encourages sharing. “We’re doing some spirit infusions that you can buy by the bottle and make your own spirit tonics. The point is that it becomes a bit of a communal activity — you can pour shots, highballs, whatever you want [at your table],” Tangen explains.

You’ll also find Norwegian waffles, served with Kaluga caviar and designed to be torn apart. “Norwegian waffles are big, with five ‘hearts.’ It’s a rip-and-tear situation that you can then add your caviar to,” she adds.

Kabin Lillesand cocktail
The Lillesand cocktail. Photo by James Song, courtesy of Kabin
Kabin Lillesand cocktail
The Lillesand cocktail. Photo by James Song, courtesy of Kabin
Kabin Kolio cocktail
Kolio. Photo by James Song, courtesy of Kabin
Kabin Solodden cocktail
Solodden. Photo by James Song, courtesy of Kabin

3. The drinks are Norwegian inspired, but not gimmicky.

“I never wanted the [cocktail list] to be gimmicky Norwegian,” says Tangen. “I said to my team, ‘Let’s do this in a New York fashion — not just a shot of aquavit and done.’” And in contrast to what you might usually think of as Nordic minimalism, everything on the drinks menu is intentionally colorful and vivid.

Industry veterans Pamela Wiznitzer (of Seamstress) and Eloy Pacheco (of Leyenda and Dante) consulted on the bar menu. “It’s been amazing to work with them [on the cocktail list]. They’ve pulled in lingonberries and cloudberries — all these fun flavors that I think will stand out a lot in the New York City cocktail scene,” Tangen adds.

You will also find aquavit in several of the cocktails, like the signature Kolio, but that drink is also made with tequila, manzanilla, bitters, olive, and Bénédictine. Then, there’s the Lillesand with pisco, lingonberry, gin, citrus, and cherry, and the Sno, a take on a white Negroni. Prices range from $19 to $20 a cocktail. “The cocktails are all named using Norwegian words that resonated with me growing up,” Tangen notes.

There’s also a robust non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktail list, with options that go far beyond sodas and juices, each costing $17 apiece. There’s the Hav, a non-alcoholic take on a martini, and the Blikksund, a zero-proof take on a margarita, made with elderberry and orange blossom.

Kabin oyster
Oysters. Photo by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Kabin
Kabin Swedish meatballs
Swedish meatballs. Photo by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Kabin
Food at Kabin
D.C.-based chef Johnny Spero consulted on the menu. Photo by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Kabin
Food at Kabin
D.C.-based chef Johnny Spero consulted on the menu. Photo by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Kabin

4. The food comes from a Michelin-starred chef.

For the food menu, Tangen tapped Johnny Spero, the Michelin-starred chef behind D.C.’s Reverie and Bar Spero. “We’ve really been working on getting the dishes to be approachable,” she says. “Nothing is too precious, but it still looks perfect and tastes amazing.”

Yes, there will be Swedish meatballs (inspired, of course, by IKEA), but there will also be oysters with elderflower and grains of paradise; beef tartare with rugbrød, a Swedish rye bread; and a tuna tostada with nasturtium.

“I think it will evolve and change as we see the need. There will be a lot of seasonality involved, so in winter we may add some heavier and heartier dishes to the menu,” Tangen adds.

For now, larger dishes include a Jarlsberg Hasselback potato, a pan-fried fish cake, and pickled mackerel served on Swedish flatbread with trout roe.

As for Tangen, she’s just excited for this, her first hospitality business venture, to open soon. “At the end of the day, this is my passion project,” she says. And lucky for her, she’s had a lot of great help along the way, too.

Kabin takes reservations from 4 to 10:45 p.m. nightly. The kitchen closes every night at 11 p.m., but the bar stays open until midnight on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Ellie Plass is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. Follow her on Instagram and X. Follow Resy, too.