Lonely Planet Writer

Oslo's newest bar wants to be the worst in the world

Oslo’s latest drinking establishment isn’t about creating happy memories, catching up with friends or even dancing; it’s about making you deeply unhappy. But that doesn’t seem to stop people wanting to visit.

The Schizophrenia room at Oslo's newest bar. Image by andershusa.com
The Schizophrenia room at Oslo’s newest bar. Image by andershusa.com

The Misfornøyelsesbar (Displeasure or Dissatisfied Bar) aims to create an unpleasant experience for all its visitors. Even before it had opened, it had gained quite a reputation. According to the bar’s Facebook page, they announced and then rescheduled the opening a few times, leaving potential patrons baffled – and hopefully dissatisfied – about whether or not they’d ever get inside.

When the doors finally did open, many may have wished that it didn’t. There are three rooms named Paranoia, Schizophrenia, and Anxiety, and they’re each designed to mimic the signs of the conditions. Paranoia is filled with hundreds of eyes, Schizophrenia with neon colours and visualisations of mental disorders while Anxiety is filled with distraught faces. Also noticeable is that genitals feature heavily in the design (not pictured).

The anxiety room is designed to mimic symptoms of anxious behaviour. Image by andershusa.com.
The anxiety room is designed to mimic symptoms of anxious behaviour. Image by andershusa.com.

The interior design is no accident. The bar previously served as an asylum for more than 75 years until 1905. A hidden room upstairs is intended as a kind of tribute to those who were locked inside the building, although it also serves as a horror room for visitors.

The bar is always on an ‘unhappy hour’ where drinks cost extra and the staff make a point of being rude and surly. Pregnant women get a discount on alcohol at the bar and the opening times are confusing and frequently subject to change without prior notice. And if you think the website will be of help, there is virtually no information on it.

Some of the artwork on the wall. Image by andershusa.com
Some of the artwork on the wall. Image by andershusa.com

The reviews have been mixed but that’s probably to be expected for an establishment that prides itself on creating dissatisfaction. Many on social media called the bar “disappointing”, “unpleasant” and complaining about the service from the “angry and introverted bartender”, while in the same review proclaiming they can’t wait to return.

The artist Christopher Nielsen. Yes, you have to sit on tiny chairs in some areas of the bar. Image by andershusa.com
The artist Christopher Nielsen. Yes, you have to sit on tiny chairs in some areas of the bar. Image by andershusa.com

The concept was created by artist Christopher Nielsen and it serves as both a bar and an art exhibition, designed to provoke. He has already faced some criticism as to whether he is ridiculing mental illness, however he said he approached the subject with love and respect and has been applauded by some for addressing the issues head-on. Whether such a bizarre concept has longevity remains to be seen, but for now, Misfornøyelsesbar is making headlines and drawing patrons in for a look. If they can find out when it’s open, of course.