The 13 Best Bars in Dubrovnik, According to Local Tour Guide Ivan Vukovic Vuka
Beach Bar Dodo is carved into a stone cliff | Courtesy of Beach Bar Dodo
After spending the day walking around its 16th-century stone walls and narrow cobblestone streets, settle in for the evening at one of Dubrovnik’s many bars. Local tour guide Ivan Vukovic Vuka shares his insider picks for the best wine, cocktails, beer and live music venues.
When it comes to bars in Dubrovnik, it all boils down to what you’re in the mood for, whether it’s a hole-in-the wall place along the Adriatic Sea at sunset or a natural cave that’s been converted into a bar. Ivan Vuković Vuka, a tour guide who was born and bred in Dubrovnik, has been giving tours there since 2006. He offers several different walking tours, from a Dubrovnik City Tour to a Game of Thrones-themed itinerary. Vuka also knows the best bars in Dubrovnik – you can try a glass of Croatian wine in a shipyard-turned-winery one night and listen to a jazz band as you people watch in Old Town the next. Vuka gave Culture Trip the inside scoop on the best bars in Dubrovnik.
Ivan Vuković Vuka has been giving tours of Dubrovnik since 2006 Courtesy of Ivan Vukovic Vuka
D’vino Wine Bar Dubrovnik
Wine Bar, Wine, Croatian, $$$
D’vino Wine Bar Dubrovnik focusses on wine from small wine producers throughout Croatia, and has the largest selection of wines by the glass in Dubrovnik – more than 60 varieties. While Vuka recommends trying a Croatian wine – after all, Zinfandel originated in the country – D’vino also has selections from countries including Italy, Chile and Australia. In fact, the owner is Australian with Croatian roots, Vuka says, and is known for mingling with the customers and explaining everything about local wine. And if you can’t decide what to drink at D’vino, they offer wine tastings, too, as well as wine flights. “It’s a great atmosphere,” Vuka says. “So sit back and relax and enjoy wine on beautiful Palmotićeva Street in the Old Town.” He also recommends pairing some local finger food with your wine, such as anchovies, stuffed peppers or cheese marinated in olive oil.
If you want to get out of the more touristy Old Town area, Vuka knows just the place: Lekri, a 17th-century shipyard and family house turned winery about three kilometres (1.9 miles) away. Located in the Lapad area, Lekri not only produces local wine, but homemade liqueurs, too. While tasting their wines and liqueurs, Vuka recommends snacking on their ham, cheese and dried figs. For a more in-depth experience, you can also take a one-hour tour and learn the ins and outs of wine making, as well as hear about Dubrovnik’s shipbuilding days. As if the wine and cheese were not enough, Vuka says the winery also offers views of the majestic sea. “You will love the ambience,” he says.
According to Vuka, Caffe Bar Tinel is a “must-visit place where people from all cultures from the city gather together”. Although it can be pretty packed during the summer, he says it’ll provide you with an authentic experience of how local residents spend a lot of their time: sitting, talking and drinking coffee for hours on end. “We call it fjaka, ‘the art of doing nothing’,” he says. While straight wine is available, Vuka notes that Caffe Bar Tinel is more known for gemišt (white wine with mineral water) and bevanda (red wine with still water). “Go into the bar, grab a pillow and then sit on the steep stairs outside in the middle of the street,” Vuka says. Beforehand, Vuka suggests visiting War Photo Limited, a gallery focussing on war photography that is just 10 metres (33 feet) away and “a place you should not miss while in Dubrovnik,” he says.
Finding Beach Bar Dodo may be a bit of an adventure, as it’s carved into a seaside stone cliff, but Vuka says it’s definitely worth it. “It’s a perfect rest stop after visiting filming locations and just a three-minute walk outside of the city walls,” he says. “Walking through a maze of narrow streets brings you to the beachside bar, where locals chill, kayak or play water polo.” Aside from the picturesque views of the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea, you can enjoy a cocktail from the comfort of one of the rope swings at the bar. The bar also often hosts live music acts.
Buža means hole-in-the-wall, which accurately describes the location of Bard Mala Buža – not to be confused with Buža Bar, a nearby cliffside bar. Of the two, Vuka prefers Bard bar. “They have a fantastic choice of cocktails and sometimes there are open-air music concerts, since it is a perfect venue for music,” he says. He warns that the prices may be higher than other places, “but that’s the price you pay for the amazing location, atmosphere and killer views, especially at sunset.” Plus, in the daytime, you’ll spot people swimming in the sea or cliff jumping.
Bar, Mediterranean, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food, Street Food, $$$
Courtesy of Cave Bar
“Cave Bar More is a place not to be missed,” Vuka says. More means ‘sea’ in Croatian, which describes this waterside bar perfectly. It is located in an actual cave that was discovered while the hotel above it was being built, and provides the perfect setting after a day of sightseeing in Dubrovnik. “Just imagine a natural cave sitting at the bottom of a hotel, then transformed into a beach bar, where you can also go swimming,” Vuka says. The bar has a few Game of Thrones-inspired cocktails on the menu, such as Mother of Dragons, with ingredients including rum, elderflower liqueur and the enigmatic ‘magic mix’. And if you get hungry, the bar has a lunch menu and also sells snacks, like a prosciutto, cheese and an olives platter. After dinner, or a Game of Thrones drink, go out on the seaside patio and watch the sunset.
Bar, Mediterranean, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food, Street Food, Coffee, Tea
Glam Café, also known as Glam Beer Therapy, is primarily known for that very thing: beer. “Sometimes you just need a beer, right?” Vuka exclaims. “Glam Café is conveniently situated on the same street as D’vino and offers a huge selection of Croatian craft beer, from microbreweries to international ones.” He says you can wake up and walk the city walls, then head to Glam Café for breakfast, beer or both.
“Right by the Dubrovnik cable car station – which is a must when it comes to things to do in Dubrovnik, especially for sunset – there is a typical bar where lots of local bikers go,” Vuka says. He says since Airbnbs have become more popular in this area, you may find some tourists, too. But, regardless, “you will enjoy the views of Old Town and Lokrum Island,” he says. At the bar, he recommends trying pelin, short for pelinkovac, a local spirit made from herbs and wormwood. “If you drink one a day, you will never be sick again – at least according to my grandfather,” Vuka says.
Celtic Bar “Belfast” is located in nearby Lapad. It has a pub feel and is “definitely not a place for Glasgow Rangers fans,” Vuka jokes. If you only want one beer, this is also not the place. “It seems like every third round is on the house!” But for an all-night affair, this is the place. “If you leave at dawn, no worries, as there is a bakery just in front where you can buy burek (a traditional pastry filled with meat or cheese) and a yogurt drink while you wait for a bus, taxi or Uber to pick you up,” Vuka suggests.
The Dubrovnik Beer Company (DBC) is an “architectural masterpiece” that’s a bar, microbrewery and rock ‘n’ roll stage all in one, Vuka says. “Feel at home: take a brewery tour and then do some beer tasting in the Tap Room, from lager to stout – but I like the IPAs the best,” he says. The brewery is in Gruž, a semi-industrial area which has recently become one of the city’s hippest spots. “Everybody knows about the Old Town, but now people want to explore some residential and ex-industrial areas, too,” he says. And while you’re in the area, Vuka also recommends checking out the recently opened Red History Museum to learn about the communist era.
If you’re looking for an iconic jazz and blues club in the heart of the Old Town, you’ve found it with Jazz Caffe Troubadour. “It’s renowned for having live jazz music during long, hot summer nights,” Vuka says. “It is also a great place for a short stopover in the shade after sightseeing – be sure to try some tapas and signature cocktails.” He adds that it’s the perfect spot if you want to sit at a bar that’s in the middle of one of the most prominent public squares, Bunićeva Poljana. “But try getting there during happy hour, as it is not a cheap place,” he recommends.
According to Vuka, another great place for drinks in the industrial part of town is Love Bar – a rooftop bar atop an old factory. Since it can be hot during summer days, Vuka suggests going at sunset and exploring the Gruž area beforehand. “There is also a port nearby to do a day trip to the Elaphiti Islands,” he says. By the time you get to the bar, there will probably be live music or a DJ spinning. And if you’ve never tried travarica, a strong rakija containing more than 40 percent alcohol, now’s your chance.
Just a 15-minute walk from the Old Town in the Montovjerna area, you’ll find Roxy Club. “It’s been the same place, same people for almost half a century,” Vuka says. “And smoking is allowed inside, so you’ll get the feel of a New York City underground blues and jazz bar from the ’80s.” If you’re looking for somewhere more low-key than a rooftop bar or jazz club, Roxy Club is the place. As for what to drink, Vuka suggests trying a Croatian lager, either Karlovačko or Ožujsko.