Röda Huset

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We take a trip to Stockholm to visit the award-winning bar and restaurant, Röda Huset. Hampus Thunholm, Founder and Owner of Röda Huset, reveals more about the climate-forward venue, detailing the elements which have contributed to the bar’s success. 

Hampus, please tell us about Röda Huset.

After I moved back to Stockholm from Åre, working at the two Michelin-star restaurant, Fäviken, I took part in the opening of the cocktail bar, Lucy’s Flower Shop. From there came the opportunity to partner with visionary restaurateur, Vimal Kovac. The dream of my own bar, nurtured over a decade, finally unfolded into the reality that is today Röda Huset.

Please talk us through the venue’s food and drink offerings, as well as the role of Scandinavian culture/ingredients within the menus.

In a country like Sweden, where the annual temperature ranges from -30 °C to 30 °C, a drink made from true, honest produce can never taste the same all year. Adaptation by season is the centre of the drink programme at Röda Huset. This includes respecting the ingredients Sweden supplies and, through traditional and modern techniques, maximising and changing the flavour profile of the very same ingredient – just like the climate itself. Spirits take a backseat as we shine the spotlight on locally sourced flavours and produce.

For the food, we use as much local produce as possible, and what’s in season. We have a traditional European cooking approach spun with our personal flair, soul and take.

Congratulations on placing 31 on the 50 Best list. What would you say have been the key elements to the venue’s success?

A powerhouse for a team is number one! Secondly, if we put great food, drinks and service aside, the location and building itself has played an instrumental role in its success. Located at the most hectic and pulsating part of Stockholm, even Sweden maybe, we want to offer some Northern calmness and tranquility; a slice of coming home to, or stepping into the world of, Hampus Thunholm. Our little simultaneous shard of city vibe, the comfort of being at home and nature’s serenity, if you like!

 Another crucial element to the venue’s success is our knowledge of the region and country in terms of produce and producers. Lastly, and often forgotten when goals are set, a clear vision is vital. We always knew, and still know, where we want to go, what we want and how to get there. 

Please tell us a little more about the role of sustainability in your venue.

Everything is built around sustainability. It’s not a checkbox for us, it’s the natural way of working. This even goes for the actual building itself. Everything from minimising landfill waste during the construction, to the species-rich rooftop with delicate dry meadow flowers; not only to nurture vital pollinators, but also to serve as a reservoir, harvesting rainwater for both irrigation and toilet flushing. The LEED Platinum certification stands as a testament to this!

The drink programme is very much built on a foundation of cutting transportations, not using citrus and so on. It has been natural for us, rather than trying to please what’s in Vogue. It’s just the way it is and it’s simply the best way for us to work.

How does the venue stay current with trends in an ever-changing industry?

Most important to us is the commitment to staying up-to-date with our producers, what’s available and what actually can be grown in our end of the world. For instance, not too long ago it was believed to be impossible to grow quality grapes and watermelons in Sweden, but here we are. As to cocktails, we always keep an eye on new and improved techniques and the how-to. We are never scared, or too proud, to try a new approach to enhance or change the flavour of an ingredient. 

What advice would you give to an up-and-coming bar and restaurant?

Make sure you have achieved what you want to achieve first. Once you take the leap and the doors open, the venue will demand your total devotion. You don’t want the haunting feeling of being torn between the bar and unfulfilled aspirations. Secondly, make sure your vision and foundation are rock-solid. But at the same time, never be too proud or stubborn to keep a student mindset. Never stop learning and let knowledge flow, not only from within, but also from the world around you. Absorb insights from those beside you, the more you learn, the higher your bar can soar!

What can UK venues learn from you? And if you were to open a bar in the UK scene, what aspects of your venue would you bring?

If UK venues were to take a page from our playbook, they would start with the essence of our cocktails—the structured foundation, built upon strictly local flavours and ingredients. Beyond the bar counter, we’d bring our service logistics, cleanliness and crew care. It’s not just about mixing drinks, it’s about creating an environment where every member of the team thrives. A little bit of Scandi hospitality and heart, if you like.


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