Sanctuary: Split's First Craft Cocktail Bar

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.

Conceptually, Sanctuary came to fruition behind the simple idea that a proper craft cocktail bar in Split did not exist, and many of the bars in Split were doing the same thing. Introducing craft beers, high end whiskey, and prohibition era cocktails to the people of Split was an important mission for Sanctuary staff, and a storefront location followed shortly after.


The initial response from locals was more than satisfying. With good price points (35 kuna for well and menu cocktails, each having a minimum of 2 shots per drink) and an extensive cocktail list, Sanctuary was well on their way to proving that a craft cocktail scene in Split could exist, and now it will.


Sanctuary encourages drinking cocktails out of the appropriate glassware with proper presentation, including garnishes, that elevate the being of your drink. Their menu boasts over 60 cocktails, from basic classic cocktails to traditional prohibition era cocktails (think of your Manhattan or Old Fashioned). On the other side of the menu, Sanctuary focuses on tropical drinks such as Pina Coladas, Zombies, and Hurricanes - essentially your favorite summer concoctions.


As they do tend to sell a lot of the more juicy cocktails, Sanctuary is constantly trying to encourage their patrons to try things they haven’t before. Pushing the boundaries of the former craft cocktail shy Split crowd has been an important mission for the bartenders at Sanctuary, and they are often encouraging their audience to experience with new liquors, ideas, and flavors to fully experience the art of cocktail making. They’ll even whip you up something based on what you like!


Sanctuary carries an extensive selection of liquors, and has worked hard to develop a selection of over 37 different bottles of bourbons and whiskey, and over 100 bottles in the bar. Their whiskeys come from every region of Scotland, Denmark and India to name a few, and they are currently building their selection of gins and vodkas. They also have one of the largest tequila selections in Split.


Lately they’ve been selling a lot of Bloody Mary’s (something hard to come by in Split, and get excited, they can make them spicy). Tropical drinks are popular as is expected in our warmer climate, and Mint Juleps and Espresso Martinis have quickly become fan favorites.


Sanctuary focuses on seasonal ingredients, with a seasonal rotating menu, and will do weekly specials depending on what local fare they can find in Split’s very own Green Market.


Let us not forget about the beer! Sanctuary is all about rotating local beers. They try to keep a varying selection based on availability, and are always serving Croatian craft beers on tap. Sanctuary is constantly looking to expand their selection, and currently carries Zmajska, Barba (Split’s first craft brewery) and different variations of Križevačko. They carry bottled domestic beers such as Zlatni Pan and Ožujsko Amber, but also other craft beers from around the world such as Medvedgrad, wheat beers and Somersby Cider.


Sanctuary also, being the sports bar that it is, plays all major sporting events, and boasts several large TV’s.


Sanctuary is open Monday through Saturday from 8am for coffee, 12pm on Sundays, and will have you quickly hooked on their considerable (and admirable) array of your new favorite drinks. Sanctuary is located Poljana Stare Gimnazije 1, and is anxiously awaiting your arrival.


Photo courtesy of Tea Radić