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.
Where to drink in Dubrovnik
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.
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.
Old film and beer ads brighten the space; posters promote long-forgotten Olympics and pool-table lightshades of coloured glass advertise Coors beer. Cocktails come in creamy or killer varieties, football or music videos are screened and staff buzz about in daft blue shirts with some bullshit motto on them. Recommended.
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.
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.
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.
Even this grunge bar in a Stradun side street has its own dinky little lantern, although you can't see any middle-aged tourists lingering over a pint. The walls are decorated with a seemingly random mosaic of posters, book covers and pictures torn from magazines (Gogol, Mogwai, Kill Bill and Hendrix all get a decorative look-in), but it's the hard-living black-clad drinkers hunched around the counter that make the place.
Set on a small stretch lined with party bars, the Roxy has been Dubrovnik's prime musos' hangout for the past 25 years, with letters from the Beatles Fan Club, an old Animals album and an original Penny Lane 45, all framed and mounted. There's a Seeburg jukebox, too, just for show – chat-level sounds come from the CD player.