Belgrade beer gems
January 1, 1970
Belgrade pubs may not be as famous as those of London or Ireland, but this city is indeed Serbia’s beer-capital. It’s not only that the best of pubs have all sorts of domestic beers you can’t simply buy at a store; it’s the welcoming atmosphere and the lively people that draw you in and won’t let you go.
As a student whose university is in the very center of the city, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering many of both old and new pubs, and here are some of the very best ones we have to offer. If you’re bad at choosing from many different alternatives, these places will give you nightmares. There are endless menus that offer you everything – light beer, dark beer, pale ale, dark ale, Belgian, German, English, and, of course, Kabinet – which is a domestic brewery that will always leave you aching for more.
Given that all of these offer an incredible amount of good booze, I’ll focus more on what makes each place different than the other, what kind of atmosphere awaits you and give you some of my personal favorites.
Old London Pub
This pub on two levels is situated in Gavrila Principa. And, as is usual, the first level is merely the beginning. As you enter it, you can sit and watch a game with your local bartender. But if you prefer a challenge, you’ll take the Hogwarts-like stairs down and find a room made completely out of bricks. You can sit facing a TV, put your legs inside a fireplace (with no fire, though – no need to worry!) and wait for your turn at pool or darts. If you get hungry, you can also order some of the best meals I’ve ever tried at a pub.
Personal favorite: beer with chocolate aroma
If you find yourself around Knez Mihailova – Belgrade’s most famous street – just turn down and in no time you’ll be in Brace Jugovica 2a, where good music that ranges from Rolling Stones to Depeche Mode will keep you awake as strong beers try to take you down. Named after fans of famous English football club Arsenal, the inside of a pub is an homage to them. Besides that, guitars and bass guitars are hanged everywhere and there’s a wall filled with beer corks – each of them unique! This place offers you some of the strongest beers you’ll ever have the opportunity of trying.
Personal favorite: Alien – oregano-tasting beer
Samo Pivo (Just Beer)
The location is the first thing that drew me to this pub. You can find it in Balkanska 13, but if you’re coming from Terazije, you might need to do some light hunting; you’ll eventually come upon the stairs leading you down (seemingly into just another street and nothing more), but down at the bottom, a gem is spread out for you to enter in awe. You can choose the inside or the outside, and if it’s at all above 15 degrees, the outside has a great view of the life of people from the center of the capital. Everyone feels welcome thanks to their lovely service – the music is just right and just loud enough, and you’ll sit there feeling like you’re on a terrace in the middle of the street.
Personal favorite: Any Thornbridge
Opened just half a year ago, BeerWood is like the heir its parents hope will successfully continue the tradition of creating great beer choices and a lovely atmosphere. And so far, it looks like it’s doing exactly that. Close to Dorćol and Skadarlija, places filled with great drinks and meals, at Cara Dušana 8 you’re bound to make some new friends. It’s not as big as the others, but it offers you darts, too, and on Wednesdays, if you manage to be the best at them, you’ll also get a free bucket of chicken wings! And besides those chicks, the boys of Gradske Cure (City Chicks) will play Serbian pop-rock hits of the eighties and nineties every Saturday at 9 pm. They’ll stir up your emotions whether you speak Serbian or not! And just for your sitting pleasure, you can choose the chairs with different flags painted on them.
Personal favorite: Paklena Pomorandža (Clockwork orange) – domestic beer of Dorćol, and worth its name
If you walk down to Zeleni Venac, an area famous for its many street vendors, don’t miss the chance to visit Jug Bogdanova 5. Bridge pub is one of those places you can’t help but return to. The big table and comfortable benches are usually reserved for bigger groups of people, while smaller ones are always at your service. Besides great beer, they also offer the best mulled wine that is guaranteed to make you feel healthy and happy. And if you, by any chance, enjoy football (primarily English), there’s many flags and scarves to keep your gaze moving all around. If you’re into music more than football, there’s also a jukebox to cater to your taste.
Personal favorite: tamno (dark) Nikšićko
Bonus round: Beer fest
Exit festival might be the most famous one in Serbia, but Beer Fest is definitely the one Belgrade is most proud of. As soon as you find yourself in the vicinity of Ušće (the shopping center close to this outdoor event), you’ll see waves of people moving towards the sound of free music -Serbian bands as well as famous foreign artists (we had Rudimental visit us just last year). The more you approach it, the more free things you are able to get but most important are, of course, many different types of ciders. And once you’re finally inside the Beer Fest grounds, there will be plenty of new beer for you to try, fresh and new each year, and all of them irresistible; so make sure to visit Belgrade in the middle of August when this festival is held and enjoy your week!
Personal favorite: strawberry-taste beer