Recommended Rijeka bars
Opened in November 2018, Three Monkeys Bar has been an immediate hit among Rijeka's mid 20's to early 40's crowd thanks to its swish décor, the theatre of its exemplary service and its refined cocktails. A long, thin venue with funky, exposed lighting hanging from above and a DJ sometimes perched at the end of the bar on weekends, it is frequently busy in the evenings with parties or groups of friends savouring cocktails dressed with slices of cucumber or orange zest and served in deliciously chunky glasses. By day, it serves one of the best coffees to be found in the city, although its vast array of high-quality spirits is also available if you're in the mood. All drinks are prepared by knowledgeable, friendly and extremely well-presented staff.
The first of Rijeka’s café-bars to get really serious about craft beer, this is still one of the best places to enjoy a pint or two. Not only is there a long menu of choices on draft or by the bottle, there’s also a neat-but-cosy auntie’s living-room ambience to the whole place, with framed pictures and old-school wallpaper overlooking a solid collection of dark wood tables.
Living-room-style hangout that will appeal to those who like a bit of culture with their coffee – the floor-to-ceiling shelves are absolutely stacked with books, CDs and vinyl LPs, while a small annexe serves as a cute art gallery. Literary readings and live music feature several times a month; on other days it serves as a mellow social hub for the city’s reading, writing and chatting community.
CukariKafè is a cross between a modern art gallery, a film set for a children’s fairy-tale adventure and a passenger steamer cruising up the River Nile. Everything about the place exudes character: the list of speciality beers includes not just Duvel and Chimay but several lesser-known Belgian brands as well. And unless you specify otherwise, tea will be served with a dandy slice of fresh orange.
A slick, modern glass-enclosed structure, sitting all by itself on a pier in the main harbour, houses an upmarket bar that draws a mix of yuppies, tourists, hipsters and hard-drinking barflies. The bar’s terrace is on the sea; inside is a carefully designed, dimly lit space, with high tables and tall stools in the middle of the bar area, and lower chairs with zebra-striped cushions at the two ends. The darkness releases inhibitions, and the techno and trance music inspire a good time. DJs and dancing at weekends.
On a small square on a hill in Rijeka’s Old Town, a Guinness sign announces this quaint old-style wood-and-brass pub with exposed brick. There’s Kilkenny beer too, but thankfully it’s more than just another faux-Irish joint: The walls are cluttered with interesting local art, and the windy bar and upstairs gallery are packed with interesting local people, mostly in their twenties and thirties. Music ranges from electronica played by the staff to occasional Irish folk bands. Australian barmaid Anita is friendly and welcoming.
Uphill from the centre in Trsat but well worth seeking out, this Rijeka branch of Zagreb’s Beertija bar sticks to the same formula – a superb range of bottled beers from all over the world, and well-chosen weekend DJs. Look out, too, for indie nights, Doors tribute bands and all kinds of excuses for a party.
It’s rare for a hotel café to function as a happening bar that’s good enough to pull in outside custom. It’s a trick that Cont (as in Continental, the name of the hotel to which is attached) has pulled off rather well by turning itself into lunch bar and craft-beer pub, with a selection of draft ales from the St Vid (Rijeka) and Medvedgrad (Zagreb) stables, and a lot more in bottles. There’s a week-day offering of marenda (‘elevenses’) chalked up on a board outside (available from 10am to 1pm Mon-Fri, they’re great value if you’re ready for an early lunch), and an all-day menu of burgers, pastas and goulashy stews. With a wedge of outdoor seating under lime trees, it’s a great place to kick back.
A great little café with cushions, carpets and chandeliers setting an old-fashioned living-room tone, and with outdoor seating right in front of one of Rijeka’s most instagrammable street murals. As well as being a popular coffee-and-cake stop, it’s also an outlet for locally based tea-blending outfit Samovar (whose shop is just across the way). Sporting energising names such as ‘Torpedo’ or ‘Rijeka Riser’, their blends mix strong black and green teas with floral flavours and aromatic spices.
Still feeling new after its 2015 opening and a fixture on the Old Town drinking circuit, Bar Bar describes itself as a wine and tapas bar – and, although it’s the drink that most people are here for, there’s always a more-than-tempting selection of nibbles ranging from pršut and cheese to marinated fish and steak tartare. Bar Bar has made sensitive use of the ancient building it’s housed in, with bare bricks and ancient stonework adding character to the snug interior; the action frequently spills out on to the street on warm weekend nights.
This smart café with a busy terrace has been one of central Rijeka's most popular meeting points since the late nineteenth century, when the Filodrammatica functioned as a municipal cultural society. Nowadays the caryatid-encrusted Filodrammatica building is shared by the brightly lit VBZ bookshop and this plush cafe at the front, which boasts sumptuously upholstered benches and the odd chandelier. As well as coffee, cakes and alcoholic drinks, it serves a range of breakfasts and light-lunch sandwiches.
At the quieter end of the main Korzo thoroughfare, Fiorello honours the little-known fact that a famed New York mayor, Fiorello La Guardia (as in the airport) started his diplomatic career at the US consulate in Rijeka. Beyond the name, it doesn’t overdo the theme, rather provide a cosy spot for a few drinks, with seating outside. Lively when there are live football games on, it has a pleasant buzz by day, when regulars chat over cups of quality Filicori Zecchini coffee from Bologna.
Kosi Toranj has a winning terrace on a small hidden square with an aged leaning tower that gives the establishment its name. The interior is an attractive needle-shaped room, with two long glass walls, big art and low, lounge seating. A popular place to watch the game, too.
Accessed by scaling a flight of stairs through a Tito-era shopping centre, Nad Urom is one of those unique places you’re very happy to find. Its terrace not only overlooks the Korzo from its winning vantage point but faces the clock of the City Tower, giving you a bird’s eye view of Rijeka’s landmark sight. Standard drinks at standard prices, with TV football thrown in.
Formerly the Belgian Beer Brasserie and still bearing decorative traces of the Benelux, this prominent terrace bar with an atmospheric interior remains one of the key spots to drink in Rijeka. Located so close to the harbour you can see ships passing from the tables outside, it’s worth a longer linger for its hearty Belgian-style cuisine and, most notably, brews in draught and bottled form from the land of beer.
Beautifully upholstered furniture sits on an old tiled floor, while a sturdy bar counter holds up taps of Bass, Caffrey’s, Guinness and Kilkenny. The framed photographs from around Istria are a nice touch, old regional maps too, with a few busts of Irish writers. Set behind a big, wooden door, halfway down from the museums.
Up in Trsat, this lovely spot is well stocked and well staffed. Along with classic cocktails and long drinks, there’s a long wine list, a Tinto Reserva hiding among the Zlatni Plavac and Dingač. Whiskies such as 14-year-old Oban and ten-year-old Talisker can be sipped in an elegantly carved wooden interior decorated with portraits of famous locals. Nice hot chocolates for winter too. Convenient for a visit to Trsat Castle.