The best live music venues in Zagreb

The city's finest live music bars, clubs, gig venues and concert halls – it's your ultimate guide to music in Zagreb
Medika, Zagreb
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out
By Justin McDonnell and Time Out contributors
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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.

Live music venues

Tvornica kulture
© Tvornica kulture
Nightlife, Nightlife venues

Tvornica kulture

icon-location-pin 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.

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Močvara
© Močvara
Music, Music venues

Močvara

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Legendary venue that has hosted innumerable international names (the Buzzcocks, Jonathan Richman, Einstürzende Neubauten and Mogwai to name but four) alongside virtually anybody that matters on the domestic musical scene, Močvara, 'the Swamp', is where young alternatives gather for underground fun and a wide variety of live music acts. Set on the banks of the Sava, it holds about 600 people in an abandoned factory imaginatively muralled by graphic artist Igor Hofbauer. The programme ranges from live punk, metal, world and ethno music to retro-DJ nights, gothic parties, alternative theatre and mind-bending one-night-only art exhibitions. Entrance ranges from free to 100kn depending on what's on (check the website).

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Bogaloo
© Nicola Fox/Time Out
Nightlife, Clubs

Boogaloo

icon-location-pin Out of the Centre

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.    

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Medika
©Fumie Suzuki/Time Out Croatia
Nightlife, Nightlife venues

AKC Medika

icon-location-pin 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.

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Vintage Industrial Bar
Roberto Pavic
Bars and pubs

Vintage Industrial Bar

icon-location-pin Zagreb

This capacious music bar occupies a former button factory. The interior preserves the concrete, exposed brick and metal girders of the original factory floor, but clever lighting and comfortable seating ensures that this is far from being a minimalist post-industrial experience. The long (indeed extraordinarily long) bar serves beers from the Ožujsko stable, alongside Leffe in bottles, Erdinger on draught, and the full range of Perković rakijas. With regular gigs and DJ events take placing in the adjoining hall, it's the ideal place for a rock-and-roll night out.

Kset, Zagreb
© Nikola Fox
Clubs

KSET

icon-location-pin Lower Town

KSET is an excellent, adventurous venue for live music and DJs, with events taking place three or four nights a week. Well worth the hassle of finding, KSET has actively promoted new bands for decades, an oasis for underground, post-rock, Americana, avant-jazz, punk, rap, ethno and lots of other stylistically diverse artists. With a 400-person capacity this intimate and friendly space is the ideal venue in which to catch a band on the cusp of the big time. The choice of drinks is limited to beer, wine and fruit juices, but prices are rock-bottom.

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Bacchus
© Fumie Suzuki/Time Out
Bars and pubs, Café bars

Bacchus Jazz Bar

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Just off the first square as you walk up from the station, the Bacchus Jazz Bar is an ideal place to meet friends, listen to jazz and either have a civilised party evening or get revved up for what's to come. Relaunched as a jazz bar in 2008 after several years on the social margins, the bar exudes a homely Dalmatian feel: the owner is from Split, and there's a fig tree next to the terrace, which is tucked into a passage off the street. Inside you'll find a hodgepodge of wooden furniture: a 1960s-era television and telephone, and wooden-plank floors under a brick ceiling. It's almost always busy, so tables will be at a premium. Wines, mainly Dalmatian, have been chosen to suit the mood. There are cocktails too, but few seem to be paying them much attention. Live poetry or spoken-word on Wednesday nights, live jazz or soul on Friday and Saturday.  

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Route 66
© Route 66
Bars and pubs, Café bars

Route 66

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Zagreb's rock bar par excellence, Route 66 features live music, pool tables and sought-after Velebitsko beer. Photos of Bill Wyman and someone from AC/DC mark their respective visits, sealing the venue's reputation as a musicians' hangout. Live bands play two or three nights a week, including Sundays – which is blues night.

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Nightlife, Nightlife venues

SPUNK

icon-location-pin Zagreb

This leading music bar and student hang-out has expanded into the next-door room to double its size and smartened up the decor. Located under the gleaming glass-and-steel National University Library (NSK), it's a coffee-break bar for students during the day, and an alternative music bar serving discerning bohos by night. The interior features comic-book murals by Igor Hofbauer, vintage movie posters and twinkling ceiling panels that look like the sky at night. Indie and cover bands occasionally squeeze into the corner of the room; DJs spin garage-rock discs at weekends.

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Bars and pubs, Café bars

Booze and Blues

icon-location-pin Tkalciceva

Right at the top of the Tkalčićeva strip, this new venue launched in autumn 2014 looks exactly how a music bar should do, with a small stage at one end of a dark but imaginatively lit space and all kinds of musical memorabilia hanging from the walls. Lamps hidden inside bass drums hang above a long bar stocked with the the kind of things that any self-respecting rock-and-roller would want to see – with whiskeys, rakijas and boutique beers (from Istrian brewery San Servolo) lining the shelves. Live music from Wednesday through to Saturday, featuring funk, rock covers, and plenty of blues. 

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Concert halls and stadiums

Things to do, Event spaces

Arena Zagreb

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Zagreb's chief venue for stadium gigs, sports events and the odd large-scale dance and theatre production. Located next to Arena Centar, a giant shopping centre in the southwest of the city, it's easily accessible by public transport.

Music, Music venues

Lisinski Concert Hall

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Opened in 1973, this 2,000-seater is the main classical venue in town, located just over the Sava. Opera, ballet and theatre are staged here, and the Lisinski, named after the 19th-century Croatian composer, also serves as a convention centre.There's a 300-capacity smaller hall here too. The venue saw a serious revamp before hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 1990, and minor renovations in 2009.

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Croatian National Theatre
© Matt Field/Time Out
Theatre, Public and national theatres

Croatian National Theatre

icon-location-pin Zagreb

This neo-baroque landmark, opened by Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef in 1895, played a vital role in the establishment of a Croatian national identity. What you find today is a sumptuous interior – a suitably ornate backdrop for local-language theatre, congresses and promotional events.

Sport and fitness

Dom sportova

icon-location-pin Lower Town

This capricious sports arena is used for basketball, handball, volleyball, ice hockey, gymnastics, tennis, as well as big-name concerts.

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Clubs

Medika
©Fumie Suzuki/Time Out Croatia
Nightlife, Nightlife venues

AKC Medika

icon-location-pin 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
Masters, Zagreb
© Nikola Fox/Time Out
Nightlife, Late-night bars

Masters

icon-location-pin Out of the Centre

The intimate Masters is located next the clay courts of the Maksimir Tennis Centre and in a loft bedecked with wooden floors and a tree-house-style bar. The DJ presides over a relaxed vibe and offers music from deep house to dub, techno to reggae. International names make appearances here in this relatively secret dance enclave.

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Clubs, House, disco and techno

Depo klub

icon-location-pin Zagreb

One of the warehouse clubs tucked away in the industrial outskirts, Depo keeps it simple, with just a large concrete dancefloor and a rudimentary bar - although a new technicolour strobe light ceiling has made it a bit less stark. Most Fridays and Saturdays mean Techno until 6am, with yearly highlights including festivals such as The Future Sound of Zagreb, which brings the cream of Croatia's DJs and dance musicians to the underbelly of Zagreb.

Time Out says
Bogaloo
© Nicola Fox/Time Out
Nightlife, Clubs

Boogaloo

icon-location-pin Out of the Centre

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.    

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Shock Show Industry
Petar Santini
Nightlife, Clubs

Shock Show Industry at Katran

icon-location-pin Out of the Centre

The organisation at the core of the Katran-factory warehouse scene runs weekend club nights that are a mixture of DJ dance culture, live music, mainstream fun and alternative art madness. Despite the grizzled post-industrial minimalism of the location, there’s a relaxed, private-house-party vibe.

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Clubs, House, disco and techno

Taboo

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Taboo is the place if you're looking for the afterparty. Neighbouring the swanky Hotel Esplanade and the train station, it's a party-goer's hideout in the middle of the city. Impeccable soundsystems and dazzling light displays never fail to have revellers electrified. 

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The Garden Brewery
© The Garden Brewery
Bars and pubs, Breweries

The Garden Brewery

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Housed in an old red brick factory in Zagreb's industrial east, The Garden doubles up as an excellent late-night spot, attracting hip-hop legends, international DJ’s and the cream of local talent to the industrial eastern estate of Žitnjak. Every weekend the brewery throws an open-armed party - head there on Saturdays for DJ-led club nights.

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Močvara
© Močvara
Music, Music venues

Močvara

icon-location-pin Zagreb

This legendary venue that has hosted innumerable international names (the Buzzcocks, Jonathan Richman, Mac de Marco) doubles as a club beloved of Zagreb's young alternatives. 

You'll as soon find a Drum & Bass night as a gothic party or the Pride after-party here. Just off the banks of the Sava, it holds about 600 people in an abandoned factory imaginatively muralled by graphic artist Igor Hofbauer. Močvara, 'the Swamp' is a hotbed of open-minded fun. 

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Bars and pubs, Craft beer pubs

Pločnik

icon-location-pin Zagreb

Run by event promoters Pozitivan ritam and organisers of Croatia's Lost Theory Festival, it's well worth the trek from the centre, with its super-cool decor, decent craft-beer selection and late-night music sessions. The music programme is diverse, with everything from reggae to grime; the switched-on staff and artsy, alternative crowd ensure a reliably upbeat vibe.

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Aquarius
© Nikola Fox/Time Out
Nightlife, Nightlife venues

Aquarius

icon-location-pin Out of the Centre

The one club on the Jarun lakeside to be open 12 months a year, this 2,000-capacity, two-floor venue, which opened in 1992, is still ahead of the field. This is largely due to its commitment to mixing danceable beats with innovative DJ styles, augmented by a regular agenda of live music (with international rock and world music predominating) and Dj sets by international big names. The two floors – Aquarius 1 and 2 – pump different sounds but do, on occasion, come together. Friday might feature anything from Goa Trance to RnB (check the website), while Saturdays usually see an eclectic mixture of cutting-edge House and electro. In summer, Aquarius opens its beach branch at Zrće at Novalja on Pag.

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