Beer drinking: a favorite pastime for beer lovers around the world but most importantly for those of us lucky enough to drink beer in Croatia. With the sudden craft beer revolution, newly built breweries, and the ever growing amount of pubs popping up throughout our favorite Croatian cities, today we bring you the best institutions for drinking beer in one of the best - Split. Bottoms up!
We all know that nothing quenches your thirst better on a blistering hot summer day than an ice cold beer. We also know that drinking beer in Croatia is almost as necessary as drinking water. You almost never see a cafe table without a half liter sitting pretty atop it, and you know all the local bars are pumping up taps with your favorites. Since beer is considered the cheapest way to drink in Croatia (and the definite quickest way to get drunk) what does cheap beer mean in Croatia and how do you know when you’re getting ripped off? We’re here to bring you the beer pricing guide to Croatia in hopes that you’ll never order wrongly at a bar or restaurant again.
The brains behind The Garden Zadar (Garden Festival, Garden Lounge and Garden Tisno) brings us another new garden themed project to look forward to, and I think we are all going to like this one. We present to you The Garden Brewery, setting up shop in the heart of industrial East Zagreb.
The people of Split (or Splićani as we like to call them) like to drink. They like their drinks hot, cold, mixed, and everything in between. Therein lies Sanctuary, Split’s first dedicated sports, cocktail, and whiskey bar. Having opened in March of 2016, Sanctuary is quickly becoming a staple for cocktail enthusiasts, and is surely paving the way for craft cocktail rookies.
It could be a job of the century, probably the safest investment in history of brewing business. Picture this: Split is completely football crazy city, and Hajduk FC is more a religion than a sport in Split and Dalmatia. What is more connected with ifootball than drinking beer? And now, the logical conclusion is: let's produce a beer called Hajduk 1911, and sell it all over Dalmatia, with direct royalties for the club. Sure hit.
That's exactly what Hajduk did, joining forces with Osijek Brewery, and creating a pils named after the club founded in 1911. Just to be sure, taste of this pils was chosen by the Hajduk fans, who will be the main customer group. They had public tasting in Split, Zagreb and Makarska, and had chosen among three varieties.
Previously, Hajduk had contract with Pan brewery, owned by Carlsberg, but now they decided to go with one of the smaller players on the market. Timing is good, even though national season is over. Who will resist to taste some new beer while watching World Cup matches? Even if not delighted with it, it's always good to go with the local community. And nothing will boost your reputation in Split like doing something good for Hajduk.
It sounded like a disaster, but it seems things are not as bad as they looked like. Sometime around New Year, one of our favourite beer spots in Split, Dva tona pub closed down its venue in the heart of Diocletian's Palace, leaving beer lovers on mercy of mainstream brands like Croatian leading Ozujsko and Karlovacko, or their franchises from Tuborg to Staropramen. Now, we have some good news - Dva tona is coming back! Few days ago, they premiered photos from their new spot being under construction. It's unfortunately out of city center, close to our beloved Basket and out of usual tourists' path which will make them rely mostly on local customers. Still, it's great to see them back. Follow for news on Facebook.
In the meantime, there are some other great beer places. First those with not so particular taste, there is a category of those which overcome poor selection with an atmosphere. We mentioned Basket, but there is also incredible Tri volta, Dalmatian sort of pub. For nice view, look for F-Marine on Zapadna obala, Žbirac at Bačvice Beach, and Dvor overlooking Firule beach. And, of course, there is Charlie's Bar, a backpackers' paradise with the most central position you can imagine.
And then we are coming to places where any beer-picky person can enjoy. For example, few months ago we discovered Kobaje, great place where anyone will feel like home, especially if being 20-something. Maybe it looks like sort of fast food at first sight, but with selection of 50 plus beers from all over the world, and great sausages - it's a place to check. No matter it's off the beaten paths, worth of walking there. Can't wait for the moment Ultranauts will discover it on their way to Poljud stadium. Football fans already did.
Recently, one of our favourite spots To je to announced that they got nice micro-brewing selection, including some that could have been found only in old Dva tona.
Similar selection can be found also in NoStress, and great Istrian beer from micro-brewery San Servolo can be found in Brasserie on 7. Beer is not the first thing that would come up to mind when Brasserie on 7 is mentioned, but combined with their masterpiece burger... Well, close to perfection.
And, last but not least, there is a spot which is pretty unique not only in Split, but even beyond it. It's called Mali ducan, which means simply Little Shop. And little shop it is. This place is basically a street corner shop, with basic groceries. However, after nearby Matejuska became extremely popular as a summertime spot for local and visiting youngsters to hang out, usually with a beer in a hand, Mali ducan turned into the best supplied beer spot in Split. Their recipe is as simple as their name: kids want beers to buy and drink in public at Matejuska, where it's tolerated and almost desirable. Mali ducan offers it. Simple as that. Naturally, you can buy beers and take it home, to hotel or apartment you rented. We wrote about it, there is no way Total Split would have missed such paradise. Nobody really knows how many brands they offer, but it's counting more than hundred, for sure. Check out this photo album on its Facebook page, called All beers you can buy in Mali ducan.
Here is the map for full experience of beer in Split.
A year passed since we passed out beer-lovers cathedral in Split, pub called Dva Tona in the middle of Diocletian's Palace, at Carrara's square. Ever since, we enjoyed in their excellent selection of international beers, that can't be found anywhere else in Split, in spite of some recent attempts.
In the meantime, Dva tona became hugely popular place, with good music, mostly based on 1980s New Wave, after all their name is Croatian translation of Two Tone, famous record label for that era. Beer selection went mostly up, rarely down, and now they will celebrate its first birthday. And some celebration it will be. Today, a Facebook event page hit me, with announcement of more than 20 days of festivities, well adjusted with the holiday season. Nothing precised had been said what will be happening during this long party, except there will be several DJ performances during this time, and possible live concerts. In short, be surprised. And follow Facebook event for news.
Split is in chronic shortage of good beer houses, and one of the exceptions so far were our friends at the probably best local pub Dva Tona, or a store called Mali dućan at Matejuška. Elsewhere, beer selection is usually limited to Croatian beers, or imported mainstream brands. Now, new player is in town, although not in the tourists packed city center, but a little bit off the beaten paths.
It's called Kobaje, which is the local slang name for sausages (Croatian "kobasice"), and is pronounced something like Cobahyeh. It's based in Gripe neighbourhood, just accross from some of the most favourite fast-food joints for local youths. Although not in very crowded area, definitely good position, especially if focused on locals, at least in wintertime.
What is different in Kobaje than in dozens of similar places where it's possible to have sausages, sandwiches and other simple food with beer? Well, the major feature is beer selection. They offer more than 50 international brands from USA, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, etc, with some of them premiered in Split.
Place is far from being fancy in any way. It's basically an eatery, almost fast food, with simple, even ascetic setting. They call themselves a pub, but it's more like one of those great, casual joints somewhere in New York's East Village. Same are the customers. Sitting there with a company of 40-somethings, we looked like watching our own kids not to get drunk. Most of the clients are 20-something, but unlike other places, there is no loud music that kills any conversation. Actually, there is no any music. And nobody complains, because Kobaje will probably be a starting point for the night out.
But, there is food. Simple, feeding, and affordable. Mostly sausages, with nice amount of sides, but also some other meat varieties. It will be interesting to see if young tourists will find out about this place, with its prices and great atmosphere it might be a hit. Looking forward for another Brooklyn Lager, or three.
Possible idea for Split bars and pubs owners - if there is a number of tourists coming to Split because it's a set for Game of Thrones, why not offering them official beer, approved by HBO? It would be an excellent finish after touring all the locations in and around Split where HBO's show was (and will be) filmed.
We learned about Valar Morghulis beer from the most dedicated Game of Thrones fans-oriented blog, Winter is Coming, which recently re-uploaded several our stories about Split as a GoT host city. They just published very detailed review of this beer, named after saying Jaqen H'ghar teaches Arya Stark. Beer is described as the closest to Belgian Chimay, which is recommendation good enough for me.
So, Dva Tona, or any other pub, what are you waiting for? Producer of Valar Morghulis is US, New York based brewery Ommegang. Race is on.