Aquarius
© Nikola Fox/Time Out

Zagreb nightlife guide

Zagreb nightlife is arguably the best in the country. Discover the finest venues for live music, clubbing and more

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Vienna? Budapest? Ljubljana? Zagreb nightlife is matched by few places owing to the range of regular live music on offer – and for the sheer number of venues to stage it. Zagreb is also known for its music bars – places such as SPUNK transform into small clubs as the night wears on, with occasional live acts too. Read on for our list of the best places to dance the night away.

The best nightlife in Zagreb

SPUNK
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife venues
  • Zagreb
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife venues
  • Zagreb
  • price 1 of 4

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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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife venues
  • 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 presided over by chief resident DJ Martyn Negro. In summer, Aquarius opens its beach branch at Zrće at Novalja on Pag. Entrance fees range from 30kn for club nights to 120kn for gigs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • 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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  • Bars and pubs

One of the flashiest of the currently fashionable nightspots, Bunga Bunga is an essential night out for connoisseurs of Croatian popular culture. Expect Croatian and Balkan dance-pop, dancing girls, and a shake of local celebrities. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Late-night bars
  • Zagreb

A rather tatty-looking café-bar by day, by night the Funk Club is lively indeed. Spontaneous interaction sparks around a horseshoe-shaped bar, while thumping beats come up from the cellar. Down a spiral staircase, in a small plain basement with stone-vaulted ceilings, DJs spin catchy tunes (house, jazz and broken beats) to a dance-happy crowd Tuesdays through Saturdays.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • Out of the Centre

One of the snazziest clubs by Lake Jarun – and in Zagreb – Gallery has hosted DJs such as Ian Pooley, David Guetta and Martin Solveig. The interior is funky-chic and filled with chandeliers and candelabras. Big doormen keep a tight control on numbers and enforce a dress code (no trainers or jogging suits, please). Once you pass the face test, you get to rub shoulders with local bling, actors, sports stars and the odd random hipster thrown in. Fridays are devoted to hip hop and r'n'b, while Saturdays are dedicated to house. The wooden terrace is a boon. If you're in, it's fun. Typical cover charge: 30kn for women and 40kn for men.        

  • Music
  • Lower Town

One of the most enjoyable places for mainstream weekend clubbing with a no-nonsense, dancefloor-filling DJ style, a lighting rig that must have cost a few bob, and a fair share of wacky party ideas. Hangar is an apt description for the large, minimally decorated main room. A centrally located main bar and relative absence of tables and alcoves gets everybody mingling and dancing.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Zagreb
  • price 2 of 4

Fancy a night out at the National Library? The row of retail units that runs along the base of the library building is increasingly being taken over by music bars, of which alternative hangout SPUNK is the most famous. Previously located near Kvatrić Market, the Hard Place rock club moved here in early 2014. It has an excellent live music performance space at the back for local bands (expect hard rock/indie/pop-rock covers), a two-level bar area at the front, and a scattering of outdoor seating.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife venues
  • Zagreb

Everyone knows the Apple, where a generation of thirty- and fortysomethings danced and found romance a decade or two ago. This grungy Tuškanac club, set in one of the nicest neighbourhoods in town, has a worn-in feel and still offers the rocking sounds of the 1980s in its modest dance room with multi-coloured spotlights. DJs mix in R&B and soulful tunes with New Wave, Eighties and other retro genres as a mixed-age crowd jiggle and writhe about the bar and the expansive back courtyard. There are occasional live bands and half-litres of domestic beer run at 16kn. It’s a beautiful 20-minute walk due north from the centre or a quick taxi.  

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