Croatia’s second city has music inspiration on every corner. And you can’t beat romance-filled evenings spent dancing the night away in surroundings that redefine the term picturesque. With live jazz, open-mic nights and spectacular big-name gigs, Split has plenty to offer the travelling music aficionado.
This arena is actually home to three venues of varying sizes, with up to 6,000 people able to cram into the biggest. Dvorana Gripe (Arena Gripe, essentially) has been a staple of the Split entertainment scene since it opened in 1979, and it houses a range of cafes, nightclubs and restaurants as well. It might not be as mighty as it once was, but write off this place at your peril.
Largely dormant during the summer, Kocka is a guaranteed winner in the wintertime. That is especially true if volume is your thing, as this club serves up a steady diet of rock, indie, punk and more. Located in the basement of the Youth Centre – where all the best gig venues are – Kocka has been one of the most beloved music venues in the city for years, although it always seems to be on the verge of oblivion. Appreciate Kocka while you can.
Split has no shortage of nightclubs that will inspire revellers from dusk until dawn, but there is something about Jungla Club that takes the proverbial biscuit. The flexibility of it all shines through, making Jungla a smashing place for an early evening beer or somewhere to party the night away. The roster of DJs is just about as good as anywhere else in Dalmatia.
Gather round, gather round, welcome all to the circus! No, not that kind of circus, although what happens after hours is anyone’s guess. Split Circus hosts some of the best gigs in the city, with local international acts clamouring to find a space on the schedule. Everything about this place is tailored towards live entertainment, with attentive staff and a regular roster of crowd members who add their own shine to a Split institution.
There used to be a rule when it came to bars and clubs in the former Yugoslavia – if it is located in a random office building, the chances are you are in for a rambunctious evening. Quasimodo keeps that tradition alive in Split, with an unbeatable schedule of live music that is the envy of cities across the region. People start bands with the specific dream of playing at Quasimodo, that might be the best way to sum this place up.
Is it possible to be iconic and a cult favourite all at the same time? Marvlvs Library Jazz Bar would suggest it is. Everything about this place is top-notch, from the historic setting (the birth house of Croatian poet and philosopher Marko Marulić, no less) to the atmosphere, bridging the gap between literature and music with style, charm and character. Quintessential jazz classics dominate the speakers, but you’ll find a wide range of live entertainment events here, from acoustic nights to poetry.
Rock and metal
The premier metal pub in Split, Splash is the place to visit if you’re hankering for some chunky riffs and monumental melodies. You know what you’re going to get from a top-quality metal pub and Splash doesn’t disappoint, serving up beer in great quantities alongside a veritable conveyor belt of rock and metal classics, covering everything from Maiden to Priest via Halford, Sabbath and more. Metal pubs always seem to be hyper-friendly places, and Splash is no different.
Split is a great place to be a singer-songwriter. There are a number of open-mic nights around the city, while the serenity of the Adriatic provides a quite spectacular backdrop to the fragility and vulnerability that is synonymous with acoustic ballads. Mythos puts on the best acoustic nights in the city, helped no end by a fantastic position close to the beach in Firule.
To je to is Croatian for “That is that”, but you’ll find no resignation at this great cafe and pub on Vukovarska. It has a reputation for being the most friendly bar in the city – no small feat. And the entertainment offering is embellished with karaoke, open-mic nights and plenty more. To Je To is also home to the smallest stage in Split, so make of that what you will.
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