Its international party pedigree now a decade old, Hvar is still holding strong: Hula Hula is particularly excellent. Despite this, Hvar still imposes a 2am closing time for bars in town, and 5am for clubs.
A fair amount the post-bar partying takes place at Carpe Diem Beach on Marinkovac or on private yachts – hence the tag of exclusivity despite the fact that few of the venues actually feel five-star.
Opened in 1999, Carpe Diem is still the line in the sand and the landmark cocktail-swigging hang-out of celebs and the yachting fraternity. After daytime coffee, ‘Sunset Grooves’ greet the post-beach crowd from 5pm. There’s a fashion show twice a week. Then DJs kick it at night. Behind a loggia façade, it’s surprisingly ordinary inside, with just higher-than-ordinary prices and standard music for the genre. Its reputation stems from its VIP scene in high season, upon which Hvar hype is fuelled. Its reservation-only policy in August (put your name on the list as you pass by in the day) means that the terrace (and separate bar) operates as a celebrity zone. Carpe Diem’s new venue in Stipanska Bay on Marinkovac, Carpe Diem Beach, is a ten-minute boat ride from town. Amid pine forest and beach are bars, terraces, restaurants and a spa area.
This is the place for in-the-know locals up for daytime partying and après-beach relaxing. The spot is a short walk round the coast from the Hotel Amfora on a reasonably isolated jut of coastland called Majerovića. The decor is Bali-meets-Adriatic with comfy wooden recliners, fringed umbrellas and a wooden bar. The owner, Wolf, has lived all over the world and has brought his own concepts to Hvar. While lounging with a Piña Colada or Margarita, listening to the soulful tunes and watching the sunset in one of the few spots in town where it actually disappears into the sea, you can order a meal from the bar’s adjoining sister bistro, Bubba Gump – salads, Thai curry or big snacks.
Currently the busiest of the bars on the marina-side strip, Red Baron has an ideal location and you don’t have to shell out too much to enjoy it – prices are reasonable for Hvar. The other key to its success is its outdoor-lounge feel, with chairs and tables pressed up against ancient stone walls on one side, and an open-sided awning providing clear views of fancy yachts on the other. Cocktails, Hvar wines and sweet-and-heady Dalmatian prošek are on the drinks list; while music is up-tempo without being club-volume deafening – all in all, the ideal place for a refined, but not too refined, night out.
Pršuta is your sanctuary when Groda is groaning elbow-to-elbow in high season. Affable owner Vidan won’t hesitate to discuss the history and/or the culinary specialities of Croatia. Wooden beamed ceilings and antique furniture surround sofas, pršut hams hangs from above. A glass of top-quality red (30kn-70kn), such as a Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru, matches perfectly with a plate of regional sheeps’ cheese or whatever Vidan decides to bring out that day and share with the room. It is not uncommon for perfect strangers to become friends and sample each other’s tipples. The wine cabinet even contains a ’47 Bourgogne. There is, at any given moment, more than 1,000 euros’ worth of wine open behind the bar – and a guitar sitting in the corner for anyone who feels the inclination.
In tune with Hvar town’s new cosmopolitianism, the BB Club appeals to the party-minded fraternity whose yachts gently rock on the bobbing waves in the harbour outside the restaurant door. A DJ spins on the waterfront terrace while mixologists fix quality cocktails – note the Hvar Rose Martini of vodka, Vermouth, grenadine and orange bitters. There are burgers, club sandwiches and Mexican dishes too.
The first thing Zoran, Loco’s owner, will tell you: Loco has the best coffee in town. It’s definitely the least expensive – and it is good. This is one of the few places in town that doesn’t automatically raise its prices every season. Consequently, locals drink here. One of several establishments lining the main square, the Loco Bar is a tremendous place to relax before submerging into or emerging from the crowded Hvar alleyways. Upstairs in the classic old stone and wood interior, Zoran’s paintings are on display and for sale in his atelier. Outside, striped lounge furniture, a happy and funky assortment of musical sounds and decent mixed drinks – as well as various snacks – make this one of the brighter spots in the locality.
While neighbouring Nautica themes on wood and white sails, Pinetta tends towards wine-bar style with warm-coloured comfy sofas on tiled or stone floors surrounded by stone walls. It’s the ideal place to sample Hvar’s autochthonous red Plavac wines from Svirće and Sveta Nedelja. Nibbles include anchovies, pâtés, cheese, cold cuts, bruschette and salads but most people pick it for its relaxing ambience. A few tables line the alley outside.
Opened in 2011, this colourful but relaxing spot close to Hvar’s main square puts on live music every night – jazz, soul, blues, standards, the four- piece house band – from April to September. By day, the CPC serves superior breakfasts, fancy cakes and fine coffees, and standard cocktails.
Hvar's nightspots attract the rich and famous to its beach and waterfront. But Pink Champagne shows that it's possible to create a similar kind of buzz just outside the town centre. Partnered with one of another leading spots, Hula Hula, this luxurious and upscale club is with a burlesque feel hosts nightly cabaret and regular DJ parties. The real fun usually begins around 2am, when all other spots are getting a little bit tired, with performers on stage and a packed dance floor, no matter if it's an '80s night or electronica. VIP booths available by reservation only.