Belgrade might not have an old town in the classic sense, but it does have Dorćol. The iconic neighbourhood offers the finest cafes in the entire region, with every street featuring something different on the lounge and caffeine front.
The world needs more places like Meduza. This spot straddles the line between intended carelessness and attention to detail, with an interior that is as much stripped down as it is built up. The contradictions end there, however, and the Dorćol bar peddles a fine range of drinks to go alongside inventive DJs and a vigorous atmosphere. And yes, the toilet is behind the bar.
Named after Milivoje Blaznavac (or more specifically, his moustache), this Dorćol bar has carved out a name for itself as a premier place to head, no matter the time of day. When exploring the chaotic aesthetics of the garden, check out a patch of land that has more neon and eccentricity crammed into it than you might believe possible. The beer isn’t half bad either.
Those who spent years collecting records are in luck, as vinyl is back in fashion with a vengeance. Leila is as much a record store as it is a cafe, and the two blend together to form something very special. A recent move to Dorćol hasn’t stopped the momentum one bit — if anything, it is busier than ever. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of checking out the vinyl and letting your coffee go cold. You won’t find a better mix of class and charm anywhere in the city.
Many of the places in the city that have outlawed smoking have done so on the back of the health food revolution, but it takes a brave cafe to do the same. Dorćol’s Pržionica backs up its bravery with one of the best espressos in the city, a blast of caffeine that rivals any of the other great coffee spots in Belgrade’s old neighbourhoods.
There are plenty of cafes in Belgrade that may claim to be ‘iconic’, but Centrala has the credence to back it up. The cafe on Simina in Dorćol is where the young intellectuals of the capital go to discuss the topics of the day. The place gets very busy practically every night of the week, so don’t be surprised to find yourself in the middle of a lively debate or two.
Look for the quirky logo and head down the stairs into one of the most charming cafes in Dorćol. The drinks and atmosphere make Shsh Bar one of the most popular in the area, and the intriguing art hanging from the walls certainly helps with the latter. All of the art is actually for sale too, created by local artists looking to make their way. Good coffee and supporting independent art? Count us in.
The name should be something of a giveaway. Cafe de France is exactly what you would assume: a Parisian-style cafe in the heart of Dorćol (well, on Dobračina, to be exact). Tea, coffee, cocktails and more can be found, a bevy of beverages to accompany a pastry or delicate sandwich. Serbia and France have a long and storied history, and Cafe de France keeps the good parts of that going.
The name translates to ‘Ministry of Coffee’, and the lofty ambition of the moniker is matched by the hot stuff steaming in the cups. One of the newer cafes in Dorćol, it didn’t take long for Ministarstvo Kafe to pick up steam and attract the coffee-loving people of Belgrade, impressing all who tumble in. It may be the most efficient ministry in the country.
Nestled in the centre of Strahinjića Bana, Pastis is easy enough to find. There are plenty of cafes on the famous street, but Pastis is often heaving with people from first light to late at night. Named after a popular French spirit, Pastis combines the elegance of Paris with the erratic soul of Belgrade, although there is little chaos to be found here.