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.
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Where to drink in Dubrovnik
A half-moon of pebbles and gravel set in Seka Bay, Copacabana is one of Dubrovnik's best beaches. Studded with luxury white loungers and deckchairs, there's heaps going on to keep you amused with watersports, paddle boarding and inflatables for the kids. The beachside restaurant provides further inducement to spend the day here with breakfast, lunch and dinner covered. Craving a detox? There are deliciously fresh juices and smoothies available. Hedonists can even enjoy table service of cocktails to your sunlounger. The beach is fabulous for families - there's a giant stretch of coastline for the kiddies to explore, while you can get acquainted with the best of Croatian wine from the beach bar, or enjoy a post-swim massage. The sunset boat trip comes recommended, where you paddle out to see while Dubrovnik is basked in the golden light of sundown. SPONSORED REVIEW
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.
Opened in 2008, Dubrovnik’s first real wine bar is run by a friendly and knowledgeable team. D’Vino manages to stock more than 100 varieties, most of them 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 savoury meat-and-cheese platters are tailor-made to complement. It’s a comfortable, modern, intimate space to enjoy a drink – with a few seats outside in summer. The venue also lays on wine tours.
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.
The more haphazard of the two open-air bars cut into the sea-facing rocks, Bard Bar welcomes sunbathers, divers, drinkers and film fans. Its entry faces the terrace of the Konoba Ekvinocijo; on the wall is daubed '8-20 Topless Nudist'. Down a stone staircase are bar tables and metal steps towards the sea. Films are also shown.
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.
A bit more clubby these days than the honest-to-goodness bar it used to be, to its credit Casablanca still ignores any pressing need to display pictures of Rick and Ilsa on the runway and concentrates on the serious business in hand, ie drinking and having a damn good time. The crowd tends to be young, a welcome rarity in Dubrovnik.
This long-established expat bar stands beside another, the Gaffe Pub. Locally-owned Karaka comprises a compact interior filled with pub paraphernalia and two large television screens, the focus of attention on sports nights. There are a couple of tables outside too. Erdinger, Kilkenny and Guinness are among the foreign and domestic beers. Many remain after the mid-afternoon happy hours to close of play - you'll be lucky to find a spot after 10pm. Occasional live music too.
The best of the Irish venues is an Australian-Croatian operation - look out for the board announcing that week's Sky Sports matches on the right-hand side halfway up Dropčeva. Within, downstairs, is a cavern-like space decked out in wooden benches, green cushions and framed old Guinness ads. On offer are all-day breakfasts, fish and chips in Guinness batter and sundry pub meals until 6pm, complemented by draught Harp, Erdinger, Kilkenny, Laško, Strongbow and the black stuff.
This characterful shoebox of a bar is known as 'Luci' after Luci Capurso, owner and ex-member of vintage beat combo Dubrovački Trubaduri. Shying away from his Eurovision Song Contest past, Luci serves the regulars, pleasingly oblivious to the piles of money being made at inferior bars on his doorstep.