Locals Only: Prins Thomas Shares His Five Favorite Spots in Oslo
Prins Thomas has been turning out records since 2005, yet the Norwegian producer still prefers to let his music—and his well-documented sense of humor—do most of the talking. His forthcoming third album, the simply titled III, is an effort Thomas describes as having "no great concept, no specific theme, no scheme, no plan... no space disco but still plenty of space." The LP is set to drop on April 28, and just a few weeks later, Thomas will be at the helm of 10 Years of Full Pupp, a compilation looking back at his label's first decade in action. Given this flurry of activity, we figured that the time was right to pick Thomas' brain for our Locals Only series. Although he continues to spend a lot of time on the road, Thomas still makes his home around Oslo; as such, we knew that he could nonetheless be counted upon to tell us about a few can't-miss spots in the Norwegian capital.
Dronningens Gate 27
There's a fancy "Ristorante" on the second floor of Baltazar, but the one to go for is the "Enoteca" on the first floor, preferably even a seat at the bar. Killer Italian food and wines. Try the vitello tonnato. It's the best I've had outside of Italy.
For a quick bite to eat, you should also try Crowbar (Torggata 32). Go right upstairs to the second floor, order a ginger ale, chicken kebab, and pork scratchings. Don't mind that there's nowhere left to sit or the annoying loud hipsters sneaking in line—it's all forgotten when you get your first bite.
After moving out of the city a couple of years ago, I sadly don't get to go out for drinks as often as I would like, but when I do, I usually go here (or the tiny Robinet a stone's throw away). The best tables get taken early, but the drinks make up for it. A strong Bloody Mary for me please.
This place is really precious to me, as I've been playing here regularly for 16 years now, currently for the last eight years under the Full Pupp banner with my co-residents Espen Haa, Magnus International, and Blackbelt Andersen. Wonderful staff, varied music programming, friendly vibe, a powerful soundsystem, and probably the most open-minded crowd (on a good night) this side of Japan. In the summer, you can have a beer and a decent meal outside, play ping pong, and listen to the bartender's poor choice of music while viewing the little river that runs by. Watch out for badger-sized rats.
Record Store: Råkk Og Rålls
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, you can still find some gems here. Not that much disco, and not a shop with a specialized hipster pre-picked "cosmic/Kraut/Balearic" section, but the store makes up for it with plenty of jazz, Scandinavian sounds, synth/EBM, '60s pop, '70s rock, and literally tons of bargains.
I do want to give a special mention to Roland Lifjell at Filter Musikk (Skippergata 33) for supplying Oslo with new "dance" music on vinyl, as there hasn't been a specialized DJ store here for about 10 years now.
Unique Location: Tronsmo
Kristian Augusts Gate 19
A place I seem to go to only when in need of a Japanese work permit (the embassy is nearby). They have a fantastic selection of music books, cartoons, art books, funny postcards, etc. The perfect place to kill an hour just browsing. Typically, I'll leave with five books, even if I came for one specific title. They also get props for always keeping Don Winslow's and George Pelecanos' older books in stock.