If you fancy yourself a nightlife junkie, Belgrade has probably been on your radar for quite a while. Dubbed as one of the world’s leading nightlife capitals, Belgrade is a city that truly never sleeps—there’s always something cool going on at any hour and on any day of the week. There’s not usually a cover to get into clubs (and if there is, it’s just a couple of dollars) and you’ll find that the cocktail prices are more than affordable, making Belgrade an accessible and exciting scene for any budget. From floating river clubs on giant boats to venues catering to 500 people to warehouse turned jazz clubs, Serbians have mastered the art of fun. Here’s everything you need to know about partying in the Serbian capital.
The bar scene in Belgrade is eclectic, diverse, and always a good time. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect outdoor patio, view of the river, or more drawn to the warehouse-style grunge scene, Belgrade provides a comprehensive bar culture that can take you from a newspaper-lined jazz bar to a sleek cocktail bar to a live music hall complete with chairs made of car tires.
Check out some of these bars for a chill happy hour or a few rounds of drinks before a night of clubbing:
- Jazz Bašta: As the name suggests, this is a great jazz bar located in a building that dates back to the late 19th century.
- Passengers Bar: A great beer bar located in Old Town. Try the pizza and Kaš beer!
- Rakia Bar: You can't come all the way to Belgrade without delving into the world of rakija, the traditional Serbian fruit brandy. Taste more than 50 flavors like the cinnamon or honey.
- Ljutić: Coffee, cocktails, a summer garden, themed parties, and art showings located in Belgrade Old Town.
One of the best parts of going out clubbing in Belgrade is that you can (usually) book a table without being roped into spending hundreds of dollars on bottle service. There’s not usually a set dance floor; partygoers tend to dance at tables or wherever they’re standing. Note that many of the more upscale, mainstream clubs will require a reservation beforehand. There are a few different kinds of clubs in Belgrade: boat clubs, mainstream clubs, and underground clubs. No matter where you plan to go, though, you will probably end up at the Sava waterfront for some boat hopping.
New Belgrade in the summer is all about splavs (floating river clubs or “rafts”), which feature folk singers, go-go dancers, and elite party animals. You can find a splav for any mood or experience you’re looking for (seriously, there’s over 200 of them), from techno to electro to turbo-folk (pop meets Serbian folk). Try Splav Hot Mess for a casual pool party by day and a house, deep house, and R&B club at night. Many of the splavs require dressy attire, so no sportswear, shorts, or other informal wear.
While mainstream clubs tend to play more commercial music and attract a more posh crowd, underground clubs take a more alternative approach to nightlife. The dress code at these clubs is much more relaxed and low key. Here are a few of the most popular clubs in Belgrade:
- Klub 20/44: Sexy lighting, eclectic music, cool parties, and a great view of the Kalemegdan fortress.
- Tranzit: Restaurant, bar, and nightclub in the heart of Savamala, featuring a modern interior, incredible music, relaxed dress code, and vintage vibes.
- Lasta Club: Trendy DJ’s, hip hop nights, and Sunday matinee events that begin around 6 p.m.
- Barutana: An open-air club in the Kalemegdan fortress.
- KPTM: A skatepark turned cultural center and nightclub.
- Drugstore: A former meat drying house that is perfect for the after-after hours crowd.
Live Music and Performances
The best spot in town for some late-night laughs is Club Ben Akiba, which is a two-story venue that offers both a comedy club and bar on the lower level, and an art gallery and lounge on the top level. You can see live standup comedy Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, whereas Friday and Saturday nights Ben Akiba acts as a more traditional rock and disco club.
There are many festivals in Serbia (most notably the EXIT Music Festival in Novi Sad), but perhaps the most popular festival in Belgrade proper is the Belgrade Beer Fest that takes place every year for five days in August. It's free to enter and there are over 450 beer brands represented, plus music performances by local and foreign bands—a great option for the budget-minded traveler. If you prefer something a bit more on the artsier side, try the Jazz Festival in October, the international film festival FEST in February, or BELEF—the Belgrade Summer Festival that features theatre, dance, local art, music, and performances for a taste of the Serbian creative scene.
Tips for Going Out in Belgrade
- Busses shut down at night and there’s no Uber in Belgrade, so taxis will be your best mode of transport. Taxis are plentiful and easy to catch, especially outside clubs and by the waterfront.
- Belgrade is a late-night party town, so prepare to start your night later and stay out until morning. Even if one bar is closing, there are dozens more open until the wee hours.
- Tipping is not obligatory, but 10 percent to 15 percent is seen as standard practice for restaurants. At bars and in taxis, you can usually just round up to the nearest amount.
- While there isn’t usually a cover, you’ll need to make a reservation at many of the clubs and splavs, so check their website beforehand.
- Open-container is totally allowed in Belgrade, in case you needed one more excuse to go out.