Defined most simply, špica is the Saturday morning custom of having coffee in Zagreb’s city centre. This ritual is about seeing and being seen, fitting in perfectly with the local stereotype of being in touch with the latest trends.
Literally, špica means the point of something sharp. Traditionally, this impromptu stage for fashionistas, paparazzi and hush-toned trendmongers takes place on the café terraces along Bogovićeva (by the Hotel Dubrovnik on Gajeva) and flows west onto Cvjetni trg, Flower Square. Everyone goes to špica and everyone gossips.
On any given Saturday between 11am and 2pm – apart from the end of July to the end of August when everyone’s at the Adriatic, and the first half of January when everyone’s skiing in the Alps – crowds sip and pose. The point of špica is more than just coffee. Fifty years ago, this was a hangout for jazz and veteran musicians in a strict order of priority. Today, similar social rules apply but on a wider scale. And the turf is strictly divided. Locals know full well why they are plotted up at Preradovićeva and not in Gajeva, at one particular bar or another, even in the same street. It’s all about choosing your clan, according to profession, financial status, cultural preferences, clothing and lifestyle.
Observe the crowd at špica and if you feel that you belong, sit and enjoy your coffee. Though foreigners are generally believed not chic enough to participate in this improv runway event, this could be your chance to truly rate your ability to travel under the radar. With the sun out and blue skies above, throw on your blazer, leave your trainers at home, put your Porsche keys and iPhone on the table and check out the scene from behind D&G sunglasses – assuming they’re still in. If people pretend not to notice you, you’re in.
Top špica spot
Head to Bulldog Pub for a prized seat in špica-ville.
See all cafés and café-bars in Zagreb