Coffee lovers are in for a treat in Belgrade. Claims that the city was the location of the first cafe on the planet should be taken with a rather large pinch of salt but there is enough variation and quality in the caffeine culture here to satisfy even the most demanding of coffee addicts.
In a neighbourhood full of charming cafes, Meduza might well be the most delightful that Dorćol has to offer. There is little in the way of pretence here, which might be surprising when you consider that the space doubles up as an independent gallery, but this is the warm embrace that Belgrade surprisingly provides. The best customer service in the city also helps. A stone’s throw (literally) from Belgrade’s only mosque, Meduza is as close to a ‘must visit’ as you are going to get when it comes to caffeine dens in the Serbian capital.
Older generations might not be overly thrilled, but the days of ‘white, black or frothy’ coffee are long gone. Caffeine is serious business, and coffee is undoubtedly now a craft. Kafeterija is one of Belgrade’s finest when it comes to brewing the beans, with a wide variety of coffees on offer. The chocolate croissants can only be described as ‘decadent’, although the chances are you’ll only be able to mutter an unintelligible seal of approval.
If you hear of a cafe called Amélie, you are likely to presume no small amount of French influence to sit alongside comfort and a somewhat vintage look, right? You are going to be absolutely spot on with this gem. Amélie is everything you want it to be and a little more, a slice of down-to-earth class in the centre of the Serbian capital. The coffee is great, but don’t discount the cocktails and fruit juice.
The neon moustaches that decorate the outdoor area of Blaznavac may well be reason enough to recommend it, but this Dorćol spot has plenty more going for it. Those looking for an up-scale cocktail bar can find that, but the dingy beer lovers among you will be just as enthralled with this place. Anywhere with a giant pink moustache is fine by us.
Those who spent years collecting records are in luck, 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 indeed. 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.
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.
19Grams is without doubt one of the most fashionable cafes in Belgrade, but don’t go in expecting this to be all style over substance. 19Grams serves some of the most consistent coffee in the city, prepared by staff who obviously care about the brews they are putting together. The location couldn’t be better either.
It isn’t entirely clear how, but the street on which Užitak is situated manages to be right in the centre of the city yet free from the hustle and insanity that makes Belgrade, well, Belgrade. There is a lot crammed into a relatively small space here, and while in the wrong hands that could lead to a mess aesthetic, Užitak gets it right on the line. There is plenty of inspiration for young creative types too, whether through the relative quiet or the many sights around the room.
First things first, don’t get Skupština confused with the National Assembly. We’re pretty sure that the coffee on offer in the political building won’t be up to the standard of the brews waiting on Vlajkovićeva. Skupština is perfect for the daytime and possibly even better at night. The interior is extremely industrial (you have been warned), and it also does a great line of cakes and sweets for those looking to complement their caffeine with something a little sweeter.
Aviator may be a coffee chain, but don’t let that put you off. This isn’t a sterile conveyor belt like many cafe chains, as Aviator goes out of its way to provide a truly genuine and enjoyable coffee experience. There are six locations throughout the city, and if its popularity is a sign of anything then there may well be more coming soon. Great coffee, an amenable atmosphere and friendly service, what more does one want from a coffee spot?