Copenhagen after hours

Following the plenaries and panels, Sibos comes alive.

As night slowly falls on Sibos 2005 and the day's conference sessions wind down, the real business of the yearly gathering kicks off.

Come 4pm Blackberrys are replaced by bottles, as Sibos turns into Copenhagen's most populated and spread out bar. When the drinks start flowing and corks popping, the foresight of exhibitors comes to a head in the form of onsite beer taps and glamorous waiting staff dispensing the goods to deserving invitees. Virtually every stall is complete with these onsite necessities and the swarming crowds attest, the idea goes down very well with delegates, day pass holders and members of the media.

Given the size of Copenhagen's Bella Centre and the huge amount of exhibitors, visiting every onsite party is close to impossible. However, certain financial organizations and technology vendors have carved out a niche as the place to be seen around Sibos.

When the festivities begin, the HSBC stand is never short on punters looking for a swift drink before returning to the hotel or, as is more often the case, moving on to another party. The same goes for the large-scale Deutsche Bank and Citigroup stands, which are routinely drawing crowds that would put most inner-city bars to shame.

On the technology side, Sibos sponsor SWIFT has been packing them in and has one of the better selections of quality European ales on tap.

Unfortunately for some, party revellers typically leave the Bella Centre around 7pm to make way for the ground staff. However, for the more ambitious, the night is only starting.

Away from the conference, attendees to Sibos 2005 are pretty much guaranteed a good night out, without dipping into their own pockets. Throughout the day, on-the-ground public relations personnel work overtime to ensure bumper turnouts to their offsite parties around the Danish capital.

Under the backdrop of Scandinavia's coveted Northern Lights, buses and taxis are filled to the brim as they scramble to meet up with colleagues and clients at one of the several parties.

JPMorgan Chase's shindig took place on Monday night at a charming and spacious inner-city French restaurant complete with antique Campari posters and a bountiful selection of tasty tit-bits. Attendees pondered Day 1 of Sibos while sipping on European wine and cloudy Danish beer.

When the JPMorgan soiree wrapped up at 9pm, guests ferried themselves by taxi to one of the numerous other parties under way around town.

Those with hangovers on Tuesday felt no relief as CheckFree and Sunguard pulled out the big guns for their Sibos receptions. From 6pm CheckFree turned Copenhagen's historic and plush Thorvaldsens Museum into a walking Danish fable with Vikings and mermaids pulling the beers and serving herring, wild boar pate and smoked salmon. With a DJ mixing up classics by Hall and Oates and Isaac Hayes, revellers were free to gaze at the marble statues and walk around areas of one of Copenhagen's most fabled galleries.

Following the CheckFree party it was off to the city's Tivoli Gardens for the massive party thrown by technology provider SunGard. Spread over two floors in the iconic amusement park, partygoers were treated to a live band, an enormous buffet and plenty of unabashed mingling. The unending beer and wine was also a big draw card. Wednesday was by no means a slow night on the town, with Misys and Wachovia drawing the masses to their parties. And, of course, the epic conclusion to Sibos 2005 is just hours away with the closing party to be thrown by SWIFT.