ÅBEN: Something’s Brewing in the Old Slaughterhouse



At ÅBEN brewery, you can hear and smell the beer production. There is no clear division between guests and production, and among steel tanks and pipes, you can get something on your plate and in your glass.

Located at Slagtehusgade 15 in Kødbyen (The Meatpacking District), in a former slaughterhouse, lies the ÅBEN brewery. Drawing inspiration from the area’s rich industrial history, the old building has been transformed into a lively place, welcoming guests for a unique brewery experience.

Nothing is hidden in the old hall, and no matter where you are, you’re right in the middle of beer production. And if you sit on one of the stainless-steel chairs among the tanks at the bar, you can get a cold beer tapped straight from the tank in the ceiling.

Former Cooling Hall

The white-painted industrial building from 1932 was designed by Copenhagen’s then city architect Poul Holsøe. Built in reinforced concrete and easily recognizable with its clear blue window- and door frames. Inside, the floors are nearly rust-red, the curtains white, and almost everything else is in shiny stainless-steel. The curtains, that divide the space, are semi-transparent and resemble the characteristic plastic curtains found in slaughterhouses. The floors and tiles on the walls are the original ones.

Previously, the building was a so-called cooling hall – the place in a slaughterhouse where animals were hung to cool after slaughtering. The slaughter rails in the ceiling had space for 980 slaughtered cows. Today, the rails have a different function, and now there are 14 steel tanks hanging horizontally from the ceiling. Besides the tanks, there are also the many pipes connecting them, and a low-hanging catwalk in the ceiling. The catwalk is used when brewing in the larger tanks on the floor.

Meatpacking District’s Industrial Heritage

Although today the signs of the building’s previous function are clear, the transformation was not entirely easy. The building had fallen into disrepair. Therefore, three things were important for Pihlmann Architects during the transformation: The building’s cultural heritage should be preserved and given new life. At the same time, it also required modernization in accordance with today’s standards. Lastly, it was important that the building should give visitors a sense of having experienced something special.

After the transformation, production is once again the focal point in the old cooling hall – just as it has historically been in Kødbyen.


If, after your stay in Kødbyen, you are interested in more architecture, you can take a bike ride around the area. For instance, ride along Sønder Boulevard, or go up Skelbækgade, where you will quickly get a view of the Kaktus Towers by Bjarke Ingels Group and Copenhagen’s compact IKEA by Dorte Mandrup. From there, you can bike over the Cykelslangen (The Bicycle Snake) towards Gemini Residence, from which you can explore the district of Islands Brygge.