Novi Sad might not have a nightlife scene that rivals mighty Belgrade, but then again, not many cities across the world do. Serbia’s second city still ticks all of the other boxes, with a vibrant blend of ornamental cocktail bars and characterful bars, making Novi Sad a fine city for a night on the town.
If you weren’t aware of it beforehand, you’d be able to work it out in no time once you step foot in Shamrock’s Bar. The name is something of a giveaway, but this is an Irish Pub and a half. Scarves and flags take up every inch of the walls, and the Guinness is well and truly flowing. There are plenty of other drinks too, and a personable owner who will go out of his way to enhance your experience.
There are plenty of craft beer pubs in Novi Sad and more are popping up all the time. Mazut Pub deserves its spot in the upper echelons when it comes to quality. A mass of local and international brews are in the fridges, along with the best of the best Serbian craft on top, all in a classic pub setting — albeit one with brass instruments hanging from the ceiling.
The back wall of Gerila is covered in old newspapers from head to toe (or ceiling to floor, in this case), and that is more than enough to arouse our interest. The childishly endearing barrage of pop songs over the stereo is completely at odds with the rest of the place, and it works far better than it should.
The Beatles are illustrated high above the bar, although it seems as though they’ve enjoyed the amber nectar this time. Gradska Pivnica (City Pub, literally) is an old-style beer dungeon with big tables and plenty of space across two floors, although that doesn’t mean it will be easy to find yourself a seat. Located just off the main city square, beer lovers will be in their element here.
More of a cultural centre than a bar per se, dom b-612 is an influential organisation in a unique location. All of the best parts of European squat culture as embraced and embellished, making dom b-612 Novi Sad’s answer to places like Metelkova in Ljubljana and Cetinjska in Belgrade. Live music and other events fill the calendar, so keep an eye open for the weekend parties.
Novi Sad has a strangely hefty collection of pubs for a city of its size, and Martha’s maintains a popular reputation among locals. The two bars see plenty of service, and the Friday night DJs are a weekly highlight in the Serbian Athens.
Sometimes you can’t beat a cozy atmosphere and an unpretentious aura, and that is exactly what is offered by Škripa Pub on Jevrejska. Located at the top of a famous Novi Sad street, Škripa offers several craft beers from brewers all over Serbia, making the most of its relationship with a local brewery.
Cocktail bars haven’t quite caught on as much as specialist beer spots, but there are positives to take from that. The relative monopoly that bars like Havana Cocktail & Concept Bar have in cities like Novi Sad guarantee a quality atmosphere over the weekends, the likes of which take a good bar and make it great. The concoctions are undeniably great too, which obviously helps.
Entered from one of the many side streets in Novi Sad’s city centre, Tehnolog’s is another popular drinking hole in Serbia’s second largest city. The beer-oriented bar ticks the craft brew box as well as any other, and adds an extra dimension to the enjoyment in the shape of some excellent American-style hot dogs. The beer garden is pretty fantastic as well.
Belgrade is famous for its boat clubs, and while Novi Sad doesn’t come close to matching the hedonism of Beograd, it doesn’t mean it is completely without its own barge parties. Splav Cristal is the pick of the bunch, and you can be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to the capital once you make it to the early hours here. Loud music and louder personalities combine all through the night.