Bars

The best places to drink in Croatia – reviewed undercover by our expert critics

12 incredibly cosy bars in Zagreb
Bars and pubs

12 incredibly cosy bars in Zagreb

As the trend for craft beer and faux-industrial interiors gathers pace, a night out in Zagreb can increasingly resemble a night out in...well, pretty much anywhere else in Europe. The uniformly modern decor of Zagreb's newer haunts doesn't represent the city's taste for homely bars and pubs, though. Warm, welcoming and slightly rough-around-the-edges, these cosy bars are as traditional as they come. In winter, there's nothing better than lounging around on a shaggy sofa, sinking a pint with the hospitable hum of chatter in the background. Here's our pick of traditional boozers to warm up in when its cold outside. RECOMMENDED: the best bars and pubs in Zagreb.

Croatia Q&A: Why are there no Starbucks in Croatia?
Travel

Croatia Q&A: Why are there no Starbucks in Croatia?

The coffee chain of Starbucks is about as ubiquitous as a brand can get. Founded in Seattle in 1971, it has more than 30,000 stores worldwide, selling large servings of coffee in cardboard cups to office workers on breaks, city walkers on the go, students on their way to class or parents on the school run. It is almost as omnipresent in European cities as McDonalds and within the last week, Starbucks opened their first outlet in the great coffee-loving nation of Italy. Its grandiose new Starbucks in Milan is housed inside the historic and beautiful old post office building in Palazzo delle Poste, just moments walk from some of the city's most iconic attractions, Duomo di Milano, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the world-famous opera house Teatro alla Scala. Being such a new concern, only time will tell if Starbucks Milan will be yet another of the brand's big successes. But, Starbucks are no dummies. You can bet they've done their research. From its appearance, you can tell no small amount of money has gone into their new Milan store. They must feel confident they've done things right. This poses the question, why haven't this most thoughtful, far-reaching and ambitious of brands put their considerations to Croatia yet? Why is there not one single Starbucks outlet within the country? Well, just because Starbucks doesn't exist in Croatia, doesn't mean that the brand hasn't considered opening a store here. Rumours of an outlet opening in capital city Zagreb stretch back

The best bars in Rijeka
Bars and pubs

The best bars in Rijeka

There's seemingly a bar on every corner in Rijeka. Proud of its Mediterranean café culture, the city's streets are lined with bars of all stripes. From classic downtown bars to grungy pubs and trendy nightspots, here's our pick of the best bars in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to Rijeka.

The best beer gardens in Zagreb
Bars and pubs

The best beer gardens in Zagreb

When summer hits the city, there’s no better place to sip your drink than an outdoor beer garden. The term is rarely used in Croatia: al-fresco drinking spots are usually called a terrace. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a shaded, leafy beer garden to escape to on a swelteringly hot day. Although some of these venues push the boundaries of what might be considered a beer garden elsewhere, each provides a nicely secluded retreat from the heat and bustle of the city centre. RECOMMENDED: Find more great bars in Zagreb

Zadar café guide
Restaurants

Zadar café guide

Proud of its Mediterranean coffee culture, Zadar is blessed with an excess of cafés sprinkled across its endless rows of terraced streets. Whether you’re after a quick caffeine fix or somewhere to escape the thronging crowds, our local experts have picked out the best very cafés in Zadar. RECOMMENDED: where to eat, sleep and drink in Zadar.

Best bars in Croatia

The 50 best bars in Croatia
Bars and pubs

The 50 best bars in Croatia

The best bars in Croatia are an eclectic bunch, each drawing character from the towns or regions they call home. The best Zagreb bars concentrate on music or design; the best bars in Split lend themselves to a night around Diocletian’s Palace; whereas the best bars in Dubrovnik take advantage of the city's jaw-dropping Adriatic vistas. Throw in a few quality wines and cocktails in Istria, a couple of happening spots in Rijeka, Opatija and Zadar, and the picture is complete. Check our expert's guide to the best bars in Croatia.

The best Zagreb bars
Bars and pubs

The best Zagreb bars

People in Croatia's capital city always give themselves time to linger and socialise over drinks. Whatever the time of year, new Zagreb bars are always raising and lowering their banners across the city centre and beyond, while traditional landmarks stay firm. Time Out's experts discover the best places to sip across town.

The best bars in Rijeka
Bars and pubs

The best bars in Rijeka

There's seemingly a bar on every corner in Rijeka. Proud of its Mediterranean café culture, the city's streets are lined with bars of all stripes. From classic downtown bars to grungy pubs and trendy nightspots, here's our pick of the best bars in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to Rijeka.

The best Dubrovnik bars
Bars and pubs

The best Dubrovnik bars

By day, Dubrovnik and its overcrowded Old Town seem the perfect place for sandal-wearing coffee-sippers. But by night, Dubrovnik bars spring to life, with a number of atmospheric spots serving up anything from fine Dalmatian wines to fancy cocktails. Dip in to our essential drinking guide.

Great places to drink in Dubrovnik

Buža II
Bars and pubs

Buža II

The more well known of the cliff-face bars; tourists follow the 'Cold Drinks' sign from the open square of Rudjera Boškovića. Prices are a little steeper but you get a thatched roof and table service. Buža II also the same jaw-dropping view – if you can find a table in high season.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
D'Vino
Bars and pubs

D'Vino

Opened in 2008, Dubrovnik's first real wine bar is presided over by Australian-Croatian Sasha and his friendly and informative team. D'Vino manages to stock more than 100 varieties, 76 available by the glass. Every decent Istrian, Slavonian and Dalmatian label is here, including Grgić Plavac Mali and Zlatan Plavac. The house wine begins at 25kn and the venue lays on wine tours. Savoury meat-and-cheese platters are tailor-made to complement the wine. It's a comfortable, modern, intimate space to enjoy a drink – with a few seats outside in summer.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Sunset Lounge
Bars and pubs

Sunset Lounge

The titular sunset view is in full panorama here in the chic surroundings of the five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. On a clear day you can see Mljet. Afternoons mean happy-hour drinks, evenings a piano player. Cocktails (60kn) comprise 35 standards, there are specialist Perković brandies (carob, fig, nut) and wines run from a basic 20kn to the best local labels rarely found by the glass.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Banje Beach restaurant, lounge & club
Nightlife

Banje Beach restaurant, lounge & club

Occupying a lovely beachside location, guests travel by land and sea to get to Banje – there’s even a private pier to anchor your dingy, boat or yacht. During the day, this is a superb, seafood-orientated, fine dining Mediterranean restaurant. By night, Banje transforms into a clubby beachside cocktail bar. It's hired for fashion parties – but the place is far from intimidating and prices are reasonable.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

Great places to drink in Zagreb

Alcatraz
Bars and pubs

Alcatraz

This place has been around for a few years and it's a real locals' hang-out. The interior of Alcatraz is crowded with American number plates, beer flags, and mannequins – one of which wears a Mick Jagger mask and seems to be a part of the party. The weekends see it packed with locals, who stop by for a myriad of bottled beers – loads of Belgian speciality brews alongside the excellent local Velebitsko – and the DJs jamming rock and dance tunes. There are also a slew of home-made rakijas (grappas) such as honey, cherry or blackcurrant.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Sedmica
Bars and pubs

Sedmica

Cult bar Sedmica does little to advertise its presence on the street. The clue is a small sign above a residential doorway. It's the meeting place of people from the creative arts, an obvious rendezvous spot before a private view at a trendy gallery or for an impromptu cast party. You enter through a corridor lined with concert and exhibition posters. Inside, a small room contains a crowded bar counter upon which stand taps of Fischer's and Erdinger. Long, thin marble tables provide a place to prop, otherwise you can join the boho crew on the wrought-iron mezzanine behind.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
The Beertija
Bars and pubs

The Beertija

Opened in autumn 2012, the Beertija was one of the winning courtyard terrace locations of the 2013 outdoor drinking season. While the terrace sits behind trees and shrubs protected from the busy road, main body of the bar itself is in a neighbouring basement. Decked out in a mixture of red-brick and grey, it’s pretty post-industrial – there’s a glass-wall smoking tank in one corner for days when it’s too cold or wet to light up outside. As the name suggests (Beertija is a play on words based on the term ‘birtija’, a kind of Balkan pub), the accent is on amber liquids, with a simply mind-boggling choice of local and imported ales. This is probably the only place in town where both Newcastle Brown and cult Montnegrin Nikšićko pivo crop up on the same menu, alongside all manner of heady dark liquids dreamt up by crafty Belgian monks. There’s also a list of beer snacks that run from garlic bread to smoked pork hock, and a rock/alternative soundtrack that seems to go perfectly with this kind of food and drink.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Craft Room
Bars and pubs

Craft Room

Is Zagreb finally getting the craft beer scene it deserves? The recent popularity of Craft Room would imply so. This elegantly styled boozer stocks progressive beers from near and far – and it’s always packed with punters. The vibe is more gastro-pubby than your standard Zagreb café-cum-bar. This theme is accentuated by a modern day hunting lodge aesthetic, and food here tends towards the classic, pairing beer with brew-tavern favorites like burgers, chips and stew. Make this your first stop for new releases from regional breweries. There are 12 beers on tap – around half of these are local, with one or two from the UK and Germany. If these don’t take your fancy, there are over 150 bottled options. The atmosphere gets a bit headier on weekends. A DJ plays from a catalogue of funk, blues and rock and roll, and the place fills up quickly. Phone ahead to reserve if you’d prefer not to jostle for a table.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars