The FIFA World Cup is back once again, and the tournament will be passionately watched all over the world — nowhere more so than in Belgrade. Serbia has qualified for the first time in over a decade, and the capital will be full of footballing festivities in June and July. If you’re hoping to watch a game or three, head to these places to do so.
Despite the name (and the clearly visible emblem on the wall), Gunners Pub isn’t actually an Arsenal bar. What it is is one of the finest craft beer spots in the city, and one that fully understands the perfect combination of great beer and the beautiful game. A couple of TVs through the bar will show the games, providing a little bit of respite from the intense sun as well.
One of the finest beer drinking spots in the city | Courtesy of Dogma Brewery
A short walk from Ada Ciganlija sits the headquarters of Dogma, one of the finest craft breweries in the entire region. The tap room is now open for enjoyment, and work continues to enhance the space as much as possible. Anyone looking to combine fantastic beer with an afternoon in the sun and a relaxed atmosphere should load up the Car:Go account and get out here, pronto.
Another packed game at Spasićev Pub in Belgrade | Courtesy of Spasicev Pub / Facebook
A sports bar in all but name, Spasićev Pub takes the crown for best sports-centric bar on or off Knez Mihailova. The service can be a little slow during busier times, but you’ll struggle to find a better atmosphere anywhere in the city. The establishment peddles an excellent line in pub grub too, and there can’t be many better experiences than a plate of greasy food, a conveyer belt of beer and Germany beating Brazil 7-1, although the latter happening again is a bit of a long shot.
Rob Roy's garden is one of the most popular outdoor spaces in the city | Courtesy of Rob Roy BBQ / Facebook
The area around Belgrade’s train and bus stations isn’t exactly the most appealing, but Rob Roy 1884 bucks that unenviable trend. Another spot peddling a fine line in beer and grilled meat, the bar is putting on what it calls a ‘Festival of Beer and Football’ during the tournament, and you don’t need us to explain just what exactly that means. The garden is an excellent place to enjoy an afternoon of football.
An enraptured crowd of sports watchers at Jarbol | @ Jarbol Caffe Bar / Facebook
Situated a little walk from the centre of Zemun, Jarbol is located in a residential street and thus offers something a little bit different to the rest of the district’s pubs and clubs. You are more likely to catch locals here for a start, nipping in for a beer after work or settling in to a long night of imbibing ahead of a day off. This is also the best place to come in the summer to watch sport on television, although the terrace does get packed very quickly.
Belgrade’s main pedestrian drag is home to a plethora of cafes, bars and restaurants, and almost all of them will be making room for a TV screen or three during the FIFA World Cup. If you aren’t bothered about atmosphere and are more interested in architectural surroundings and a spot of people-watching at half time, simply head to Knez Mihailova and sit down with a good view of a screen. Be sure to stay out of the sun though, that cat has claws.
Immediately next to Knez Mihailova is Republic Square, the main meeting point in Belgrade. Rumour has it that a large projector screen will be put in place here for all of Serbia’s World Cup matches, which makes a lot of sense. This is the beating heart of Serbia after all. Even if the screen doesn’t prove to be a success, the area around Republic Square is home to plenty of good cafes that will be showing the matches.