Music & Nightlife

Find the best clubs and nightlife in Croatia – and where to see the best live music shows, festivals and concerts

Jeff Mills
Music

Jeff Mills

Few DJs have done as much to further the now global phenomenon of techno music as Jeff Mills. Alongside Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Carl Craig, he is a member of a cabal that has cemented the reputation of his home city, Detroit, within the genre, the once Michigan capital now as synonymous with the music as it used to be with Motown. Such was his prowess on turntables that he earned the nickname of The Wizard when establishing himself on Detroit's radio stations and in its clubs during the 1980s. Alongside Mike Banks and Robert Hood, he co-founded the Underground Resistance collective and label, before Hood and Mills left. He then formed the Axis label and his Purpose Maker label and alias under which early classics such as 'Alarms' and 'The Bells' would emerge. These songs are acknowledged classics, even more relied upon by DJs today than they were upon release. Mills has continued to expand techno's boundaries and was one of the first electronic dance music producers to engage with orchestral collaboration. This year he will play the opening concert of Dimensions Festival before and audience of many thousand in a collaboration with Afrobeat's pioneering drummer Tony Allen. But, before then, you can catch him in the smaller environs of Boogaloo for a Future Scope party which will utilise each of the venue's rooms. Appearing in support of The Wizard are Shipe, Felver, Herya, Life4Funk, Krekman, Matya and Sonic Illuminati, with F.O.R.M. Performing live.  

Jazz cycle: Darko Rundek with Croatian Radiotelevision Jazz Orchestra
Music

Jazz cycle: Darko Rundek with Croatian Radiotelevision Jazz Orchestra

Darko Rundek has been combining folk music elements from the Balkans and around the world with rock and pop music since the end of the 1970's and has played concerts to thousands all around the region. He has played in legendary Yugoslavian era group Haustor, as a solo artist and more recently with Darko Rundek Trio and also the Ekipa band. Having recently agreed to play over the course of several nights in Belgrade with various incarnations of his bands, he returns to Zagreb this April to play alongside the large and highly experienced Croatian Radiotelevision Jazz Orchestra. In recent times the orchestra has collaborated with some of the country's most exciting musicians and composers, such as Mimika, so this date should prove to hold unique arrangements of one of Croatia's most interesting and adventurous musicians.

The Young Gods
Music

The Young Gods

Ever-evolving Swiss post-industrial band The Young Gods return to Zagreb for their fifth appearance in the city. Centred around a trio comprising over vocals, drums and electronics, they are capable of issuing shamanic-style electronic rock grooves although their sound has been more accessible in recent releases. They have recorded 11 albums to date including hit singles like 'Did You Miss Me?', 'Envoyé!', 'Longue Route', 'Skinflowers' and 'Kissing the Sun' and have influenced many other artists such as David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails and U2.

Pestilence
Music

Pestilence

Although around since the mid '80s, Dutch death metal legends Pestilence really became popular from the early 90s as extreme metal peers to the likes of Sepultura, Deicide, Obituary and Carcass. The band have released eight studio albums to date and are notable for being accomplished musicians. They've undergone a bunch of line up changes in their lengthy career, but are still lead by founding member, original guitarist and longtime vocalist Patrick Mameli. Support comes from fellow Dutch metallers Bleeding Gods and young Bulgarian death metal outfit Grimaze.

MONO
Music

MONO

To Japanese band MONO, genre labels are irrelevant. But their sound is often described as post-rock and is clearly informed by shoegaze bands as well as grunge-era art rock experimentalists like Sonic Youth. They also cite classical music as a key influence and their sound veers from extended quiet sections to eruptions of intense, distorted guitars. The band celebrate their 2oth anniversary this year and tour the world in support of their newly released tenth album 'Nowhere Now Here'.

Discover Croatia's best nightlife venues

The best live music venues in Zagreb
Music

The best live music venues in Zagreb

Zagreb may not have the star-power of other European capitals but the city punches well above its weight when it comes to awesome music venues. From giant stadiums to scuzzy rock bars and sweaty techno clubs, let our experts point the way with this handy guide to Zagreb's best music venues. RECOMMENDED: music and festivals in Croatia.

The best clubs in Zagreb
Nightlife

The best clubs in Zagreb

Visitors don't always discover the best clubs in Zagreb. Lurking in unlikely locations, they're  guarded by a close-knit circle of regulars and are largely unadvertised. But if you're looking for somewhere to party, you might be surprised at Zagreb's proficient offerings - behind the city's pretty facade lies a thriving subculture, whose holy houses are the post-industrial warehouse clubs scattered around the city. As with neighbouring capital Belgrade, Zagreb's party scene has a hint of Berlin about it, with its unwavering focus on electronic music and that special sense of camraderie that comes from co-raving for whole weekends. Here are the best clubs in the city. RECOMMENDED: more great nightlife in Zagreb.

Dubrovnik nightlife guide
Clubs

Dubrovnik nightlife guide

Dubrovnik nightlife is unusual - while the city has an abundance of bars, clubs are relatively few. But what they lack in quantity, they more than make up for in quality. Clubs here tend to capitalise on the city's brilliant architecture; you might find yourself raving in a cavernous 16th-century fortress or between the stony walls of ex-quarantine barracks. Head to one of these places after hitting one of Dubrovnik's many spectacular bars, and you're guaranteed a special night. RECOMMENDED: more bars in Dubrovnik.

LGBT+ guide to Zagreb
LGBT

LGBT+ guide to Zagreb

The rainbow flag doesn't flutter quite as brilliantly in Zagreb as in nearby European capitals, but that's not to say Croatia's capital hasn't got a characterful queer scene of its own. Although compact, a range of organisations and queer-friendly venues work hard to make sure the city's LGBT+ scene is as inclusive and buzzing as possible. Read on for the best gay bars and queer spaces in Zagreb.

Recommended live music events and concert venues

Tvornica kulture • Zagreb
Nightlife

Tvornica kulture • Zagreb

Tvornica kulture (‘The Culture Factory’) has established itself as Zagreb‘s leading medium-sized venue for live rock and pop. The fashionably black, 1,800-capacity main hall (Veliki pogon, ‘Large Workshop’) has now been augmented by the addition of a much more intimate small hall (Mali pogon), which hosts gigs by local bands and disc-spinning after-parties. Mali pogon also works as a café during the day. Concerts take place several times a week, with club nights featuring DJs and visuals at weekends. Ticket prices range from 35kn to 200kn depending on who is playing. Draught beer 15kn, imported Czech Budweiser in bottles 20kn.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Revelin Culture Club • Dubrovnik
Nightlife

Revelin Culture Club • Dubrovnik

A club venue since summer 2011, the angular 16th-century fortress that marks the eastern end of Dubrovnik's Old Town has become the place to go after drinking-up time has been called in the town centre's other bars. Luckily, Dubrovnik's military architects had the foresight to construct what is an ideal venue for a club: the stark interior of bare stone blocks, complete with arched aisle spaces and lofty barreled roofs, provide the perfect backdrop for the state-of-the-art light-show. What Renaissance Ragusans might have made of the lithe females dancing in cages is another question entirely. With an elongated bar, large dancefloor and plenty of surrounding nooks and crannies, it's the kind of place that can cater for large numbers of people without making them feel pushed around. A lot of leading Croatian pop and rock acts perform here throughout the year. In summer, there'll probably be an international DJ appearing here every weekend throughout the season - 2012 saw Fat Boy Slim, Martin Solveig and sundry others lug their record boxes up Revelin's stone steps.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Boogaloo • Zagreb
Nightlife

Boogaloo • Zagreb

A 15-minute walk south of the train station, Boogaloo is a 1,500-capacity DJ club and live venue, opened in a spacious former cinema and cultural centre –  scene of seminal shows by Laibach and Einstürzende Neubauten in the mid-1980s. Expect a varied schedule of retro parties, house or techno DJs, and live international metal acts.    

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
AKC Medika • Zagreb
Nightlife

AKC Medika • Zagreb

Still going strong despite the municipal authorities' threat to dramatically raise the rent, this shrine to all things alternative grew out of Zagreb’s anarchist movement and is still run as a non-profit-making collective. A courtyard decorated by some of Zagreb’s best street artists has a café-bar on one side, and a concert venue-cum-club space on the other. Events range from anarcho-punk gigs to dub reggae DJs and cutting-edge dance music, with all kinds of other styles thrown in for good measure. Visual arts association Otomptom throw impromptu film evenings screening animation and shorts. Popular with a broad spectrum of Zagreb’s club-hungry youth, Medika is much more than just a gathering point for the grungey underground.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Tunel • Rijeka
Clubs

Tunel • Rijeka

This tunnel dug into a railway embankment is heaving most nights, especially at weekends when there’s usually a band and DJs playing techno and/ or electronica. A vaulted stone ceiling, lasers and a good-looking crowd in their twenties and thirties comprise the decor. Getting to the bar, or just finding a place to stand, can be a challenge. The few tables out front fill up in warmer weather.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

New music

Introducing... Mel Camino
Music

Introducing... Mel Camino

Mel Camino, who hail from Velika Gorica, just outside Zagreb, have been active for the last 12 years, although out of the spotlight of the mainstream music scene. They have released four studio albums to date 'Kapadokija', 'Kolumbo svoje duše, 'Avion bez uzletne piste' and their latest 'Kad?Sad!', all of which can be heard on the group's Bandcamp page. The band has a free concert in Zagreb's Močvara on 29th November and to coincide with this they are releasing a video for their latest single 'Vidova'. Mel Camino's sounds cover ethno melodies, classic/alternative rock, electronic, or mixture of each. Support at the concert comes from Feral Instinct, an alternative metal band also from Velika Gorica/Zagreb and Solarov, a Zagreb band with rock and electronic influences.  

Introducing... Kensington Lima
Music

Introducing... Kensington Lima

Originally from Split, Josip Radić is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has lived in Zagreb since 2005 and Kensington Lima is his new band project. Radić's name may be familiar to existing fans of new Croatian music; he is one half of the extraordinary Valentino Bošković, alongside Branko Dragičević, who have released three spectacular albums since 2014. 'Valentino Bošković is a collaboration,' explains Radić. 'We are both the authors and performers. Kensington Lima is my solo songwriting project. And on the recordings so far, I also play most of the instruments. Some of these songs have been lying around for the last 15 years. After I turned 30 I decided it was time for me to record them.' In contrast to the sometimes zany, sci-fi quoting and humorous pop music of Valentino Bošković, Radić's Kensington Lima project is more of a serious, heartfelt affair. Kensington Lima is frequently acoustic, barren of the electronic or synthesizer sounds sometimes audible in the duo. In Kensington Lima he is clearly combining American country and rock music elements, often to stunningly beautiful and epic effect. 'Kensington Lima's music is informed by pretty much all of my influences, which range from The Beatles, early Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Browne to more recent acts like Wilco, Beck. Or Dawes. They're one of my favourite new bands. It's that kind of west coast rock, Americana sound.' Their sound is not the only difference Ken

Introducing... Mimika Orchestra
Music

Introducing... Mimika Orchestra

Being eight years old, Mimika Orchestra needs much less of an introduction than other groups featured in this column, particularly to those in London where the orchestra was formed and performed over several years. But, for the last two years, the outfit's composer and leader Mak Murtić has been back in his home city, Zagreb. His prolific output and ceaseless musical adventuring has since had as significant an impact as anyone's in the city. Plus, Mimika Orchestra have just released their third album, the fascinating and accomplished 'Divinities Of The Earth And The Waters', so it's a great time to talk about them.Mak Murtić spent seven years studying and working in London where he became absorbed into a young and exciting music scene of infinite musical possibilities involving an infinite number of fantastic players. Some of the musicians he played and collaborated with there are among the most talked about names on the now internationally recognised, new London jazz scene, such as saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia, and tuba player Theon Cross (whose brother Nathaniel Cross plays the trombone in Mimika). 'There were all of these jam sessions going on,' says Murtić, 'I don't think it was really my studies which inspired Mimika.'Meeting so many talents, Murtić's ideas and Mimika's line up expanded drastically; they are now an orchestra who can number anything between 12 and over 20 members in live performance, containing two singers, several brass instruments, st

Introducing... JeboTon ansambl
Music

Introducing... JeboTon ansambl

JeboTon ansambl are a much-loved group of street musicians, frequently found serenading the public of their home city Zagreb, especially in and around Cvjetni trg (Flower square). Their extensive line up can hold as many as 15 different musicians at any given time and even more appear on their debut album, the very recently released Širi Ljubav Ili Šuti (Spread Love Or Be Quiet) which is available to hear on the JeboTon ansambl Bandcamp page and on Youtube. Songs contained on the album have been written and honed in live performance over the last three or four years, the ensemble growing out of the JeboTon collective of Zagreb bands which currently includes Peglica i Komandos, Porto Morto, Sfumato and Trophy Jump. JeboTon also used to contain the much-missed bands Lobotomija, Druker, Hren, Prazna Lepinja, Spremište and Antidepresiv. Members of all these fallen heroes can now be found within the JeboTon ensemble or the current JeboTon bands. JeboTon ansambl is an acoustic outlet for these musicians, many of them playing in more electrified form within their other projects. Their sound is one of acoustic guitars, bass and hand percussion, backed with brass and violin, their vocals delivered collectively in rousing and largely optimistic manner. Like many, the group have ditched their home city of Zagreb this August in order to tour the coast, promoting Širi Ljubav Ili Šuti, bringing good vibes wherever they go and making healthy seaside-dwelling teenagers feel good about the