Meduza is one of the best spots in the entire city, let alone Stari Grad | Courtesy of Meduza / Facebook
It almost goes without saying at this point, but Belgrade well and truly is one of the finest nightlife spots on the planet. The city’s two rivers are dotted by boats that start the party late and end it even later, and they take pride of place at the forefront of most coverage of Belgrade’s party scene.
But what of the bars of the old town? Belgrade doesn’t exactly have a Stari Grad in the same way that most cities do, but it still exists in some form or another. It stretches over a wide area, and within those borders are some of the finest watering holes in the entire city. Beer lovers, cocktail drinkers, wine sippers and the rest, you are in for a serious treat.
One of the liveliest beer bars in Belgrade’s old town, Gunners Pub is located next to Student’s Square and is popular with drinkers both young and old. A great selection of beers is available, including the best of the best when it comes to Serbian crafter breweries, and some of the best staff in the entire city. Using beer kegs as urinals is a genuine touch of genius, too, and the rock music makes for a truly excellent pivo experience.
With the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project laying waste to Savamala, many young entrepreneurs took it on themselves to establish a new nightlife centre in the city. Cetinjska was established in 2015 in what had become a carwash, with new bars, pubs and clubs popping up all the time. Zaokret has become one of the busiest spots here, and with a vibrant mix of homely aesthetics and a packed events calendar, it is easy to see why. The little back garden is one of Belgrade’s most underrated outdoor spots, too.
It might not be the easiest to find, but don’t let that put you off. Samo Pivo is another excellent pub for fans of beer – as one would assume from a pub whose name translates as ‘Only Beer’. Samo Pivo is industrial in style and it manages to avoid feeling forced with a mixture of great beer and a vibrant atmosphere. You need to head to the underground pass by Hotel Moskva to find it, so simply go down the steps and follow the commotion.
Skadarlija is Belgrade’s Bohemian Quarter, but visitors expecting a riotous party scene may be a little disappointed. The street is home to some fantastic restaurants, but the major nightlife is around the corner at Cetinjska. Red Bar is probably the busiest bar on the street, and what it lacks in individuality it more than makes up in energy and atmosphere. This place gets packed over the weekend, and not by mistake.
Known better as the ‘Federal Association of Globe Trotters Belgrade’, this may well be the worst kept secret in the entire city. You need to ring the doorbell to gain entry, before following the stairs down to the basement of an apartment building. The interior is unique to say the least as it’s a hodgepodge of vintage artefacts and tropical fauna that is initially jarring but almost certainly works. The bar is a favourite among the creative people in Belgrade, and is unlike anything else in the city.
You’d expect a bar called ‘Idiot’ to be a little unusual, right? Well, this little spot near the Botanical Gardens doesn’t disappoint. Belgrade is an eclectic city at the best of times, but this bar on Dalmatinska likely takes the biscuit when it comes to the variation of its clientele. There is something undeniably punk rock about it all, although that is more in terms of ethics than tunes.
Equally as vital as a daytime coffee spot, Dorćol’s Centrala is an iconic staple of the old town’s nightlife. This is a student hotspot. And by ‘student’ we mean the old academic version of the word as opposed to ‘young person getting drunk instead of learning’. There is plenty of alcohol flowing nonetheless, but the atmosphere is built from discussion as opposed to disco.
The world needs more places like Meduza. This is the sort of spot that straddles the line between intended carelessness and an 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.
Not to be confused with Centrala, Bar Central is the very dictionary definition of a classy cocktail bar. You won’t find ‘classy cocktail bar’ in the dictionary, of course, but you get the idea. This is where to go if you fancy dressing up and trying a variety of colourful concoctions. The bartenders know exactly what they are doing, too, and are fully deserving of all the awards and accolades that have been thrown their way.
If you close your eyes and imagine what a place called ‘Miners Pub’ might look like, you won’t be far from the truth. What the pub lacks in light it more than makes up for with a huge beer selection – one of the best in the city. Craft brews from all over the world are available, along with a delightfully relaxed atmosphere and actual darts, not the soft tip nonsense that plagues much of the continent.