Oliver’s Garage – Ice cream with Arne Jacobsen in Charlottenlund

Trailing up the coast north of Copenhagen are a string of four white, sandy, couldn’t-be-anywhere-else beaches, accessed both by train and by bike.

From south to north, Charlottenlund is the third of the four, and it’s our favourite east-coast-of-Sjælland beach for the twin reasons that it hosts the super Nordic-looking søbad (sea bath) of minty green pontoons and changing buildings that my father swam from as a child, and that it’s edged with grassy lawns (somehow making ridding kids of the sand between their toes and getting them dressed after a swim a little easier).

But it’s also because just north of the beach, between it and its northern sandy neighbour Bellevue Strand, is Oliver’s Garage, a pitstop serving ice cream so sublime, we sometimes pedal the 20 minutes out to it from the city for no other reason than to indulge.

Make no mistake: the ice cream is. Just. Fantastic. But Oliver’s is about more than the scoops (and the coffee and grilled sandwiches it also serves): it has a significant design history, too.

This is because the ‘garage’ of Oliver’s home is a gas station designed in 1937 for Texaco by Arne Jacobsen, the granddaddy of Danish architecture and design. Always a fan of function, curved lines and the longevity of things, Jacobsen created a swooping ‘hat’ for the garage forecourt and clad the attached building in vertical, Metro-arranged white Meissner tiles. The business Oliver’s Isbar has been stationed inside the old payment kiosk since 1996, and has since renovated its home both outside and in, later changing its name to Oliver’s Garage.

Gas is still available out front, where there’s also low, comfy, sofa-style seating, as well as high stools and tables. To the side of the building is a large courtyard (a safer spot to occupy, perhaps, with toddlers!), furnished with more tables, that leads through huge garage-style doors into the ice cream store itself. This manages – of course it does! – to combine drive-in-style styling with Scandinavian simplicity, with grey graphic wall tiles and a rough, rich red floor.

Oliver’s Garage is a place for everyone – design buffs and ice cream lovers alike – and is a welcome point along a journey. Or a cool destination in itself.

Spring and autumn: every day, 9am-8.30m. Summer: every day, 9am-10pm. Winter: closed.

Kystvejen 24
2920 Charlottenlund



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