“The Bird”, as it is known internationally, is a novel concept executed with considerable skill. Having served coffee continuously since 1963, Fuglen has one of the longest pedigrees in Norway. Located in downtown Oslo, set slightly apart from the main streets in the area, it is at once both close by and tucked away. A steady flow of students and businesspeople keep it busy during the day, while the evenings from Wednesday to Saturday are dominated by young people enjoying drinks and cocktails.
Recently, under new owners, the concept has been expanded to include a well regarded cocktail bar and a highly selective range of vintage objects and furniture, mainly from the 1950s and 60s, the golden age of Nordic design. Their website describes it as “having a real sense of place, [where] the walls radiate history and identity, telling the tale of an era of optimism and belief in the future.”
One of the owners, Einar K. Holthe, has won the Norwegian Barista Championship and the Nordic Barista Cup; Halvor Digernes, the bartender, is the current Nordic champion in the Linie Cocktail Awards. Peppe Trulsen is an expert on design of the 1950s and 60s.
“There is a general Fuglen feeling – We have an old-fashioned attitude to quality & service which reflects our vintage boutique. We take the time to make everything by hand, inhouse and from scratch”, says Ben Symes, an Australian and a new addition to the Fuglen team.
If one thing is emblematic of Fuglen, it is just that: the consistency and thoroughness with which things are done. Regardless of whether it is cocktails, design objects or coffee, everything is spot on and forms a cohesive whole.
The black coffee served at Fuglen is a choice from four different roasteries in the Oslo area: Supreme Roastworks, Tim Wendelboe, Kaffa and Solberg & Hansen. All coffees in stock are offered equally, and brewed using a variety of methods: aeropress, french press, filter, pour over, or even cold brewed. With this variety of coffee available to them, the coffee at Fuglen is selected with both seasonality and regional variety in mind.
The interior of the original shop from 1963 has been kept intact, and Fuglen has the ambiance of a highly stylized time capsule – that also doubles as a showroom. Almost every part of the interior is for sale. They have recently been featured in global publications such as Monocle, where it was just listed as one of the world’s five best retail concepts in 2011.
This year, they and their design firm won the most coveted award in Norwegian design: “The Mark for Good Design”, awarded annually by the Norwegian Design Council. This is an exceedingly rare accolade, and a confirmation for all the people involved with Fuglen.
Visit Fuglen at www.fuglen.no