Amazing history

”A swill and a sip, but haste – before Charles XI’s halberdiers catch us all in the act.” This is how things might have sounded in the year of our Lord 1694, when widow Anna Lindberg ran a tavern in one of our five small buildings on the corner of Österlånggatan. The tavern was in fact illegal, and King Charles of Sweden was known for his harshness.

One of His Majesty’s farmhands took over proceedings at the end of the 17th century, doing a roaring trade. The tavern was right next to Fiskestrand after all, where boats from the Stockholm archipelago docked with fresh fish and the tourists of the day landed right outside the tavern’s front door. Soon after in 1715, “Tre Kungar” (“Three Kings”) appears as the name of our tavern. Perhaps the poet laureate Carl Michael Bellman renamed it when reciting a ballad in the vault? The name then changed to “Tre Prinsar” (“Three Princes”) and the venue began offering tastings in French. The Bernadottes were the Kingdom’s masters and arbiters of taste. The tavern continued to be known as Tre Prinsar well into the 19th century.

Solid evidence of older taverns in the area is conspicuous by its absence. The area’s excellent location, as seen from the point of view of the traveller, is documented in the late 19th century: “The area has the finest and most wholesome situation in Stockholm, next to the Norrland, Finnish, German and winter post steamboat docks at Skeppsbron.”

On 22 April 1969, AB ICA-Restauranger opened Fem Små Hus at Nygränd 10, with nine historic rooms in five small buildings. St George and the Dragon show the way: the fifth alleyway from the Royal Palace.