Before we take over Podgorica for a weekend of fun with the Zenker Brothers, George FitzGerald and more, we’ve endeavored to explore the city and find its cultural gems. The Montenegrin capital, which was known at Titograd until 1992, is a small city with only about 200,000 residents, but it’s chock full of chill places to have a beer, read a Serbian novel or catch hardcore bands and techno DJs. We enlisted one of those 200,000 locals, Vladan Djurisic, to name some of the places any tourist in Podgorica must visit.
If you ask a Podgorican local to point you toward a local nightclub, don’t be surprised if their directions lead you to the football stadium. That’s not a bad joke—that’s actually the location of one of the best clubs in town. While some try hard to attract attention, District sits in the lower levels of the stadium, as if it were hiding from passerby and intent on remaining underground. In a city with few nightclubs, District is the champion of Montenegrin youth. Aside from hosting some of the events at this year’s Electronic Beats Festival, it often hosts DJs from abroad as well as top-of-the-line regulars from the Montenegrin scene, including the club owner and veteran Podgorican DJ Gilerz. The sounds on offer generally range from deep house, techno and drum’n’bass to disco, funk and even jazz. Getting in can be tricky because only about 200 people can fit in the space, but if your name is on the list or if you’re charming enough, you won’t have a problem.
Photo courtesy of DJ Gilerz.
Kulturni Centar Gavroche
There’s another club located in the external layer of the football stadium’s premises: Gavroche. It’s not a club per se; it’s more of community center with nice people and great music. It has hosted a wide array of activities, from plays for children to all kinds of workshops, but it’s also the place to be if you’re down to see alternative, indie or jazz concerts or the occasional techno set. And if none of that is your vibe and you’d rather have a beer and chill in a comfortable and pleasant setting, Gavroche is still the spot for you.
Photo via Facebook.
Karver, another venue involved in the forthcoming Electronic Beats Festival, is actually a bookstore, so the city takeover presents a rare opportunity to hear electronic beats there. But it’s worth a visit on ordinary occasions as well because it’s a nice, quiet and relaxing place under a bridge not far from the city center, next to the Ribnica River. Embraced by patches of green and surrounded by walls decorated with inspired graffiti, Karver is a refuge for creative talents of all stripes.
WWW isn’t an incomplete web link; it’s the name of one of the first, if not the first, internet cafés in Montenegro. Nowadays, it focuses on being a simple café, and a pretty nice one at that. It’s an interesting place to sit and unwind thanks to the decor, which boasts comfy, ’90s-style sofas, colorful paintings and some old lady’s framed underwear. Occasional live jazz acts also enhance its ambiance.
Montenegro Pub is real rock’n’roll, so if that’s your style, you’ll feel at home here. With regular rock and punk live acts by local bands and performers and rare (but no less entertaining) DJ gigs, Montenegro Pub is the epicenter of Podgorica’s alternative scene.
Photo by Luka Zekovic.
When other cafés and pubs call it a night, Berlin persists. It doesn’t have the cleanest of toilets, but at 2 a.m. and after four or five beers, the hipsters, musicians and actors don’t seem to mind. And after some drinks and a conversation with the interesting people who haunt the café, chances are, neither will you.
Photo courtesy of Pecha Kucha.
Alan Ford is a pub-café hybrid near the Montenegrin National Theatre where Electronic Beats will host this year’s closing party. It stands apart thanks to the tasty Montengrin snacks that pair real well with good, cold beer.
Photo courtesy of Predrag Tomovic.
Soba Culture Club
On most evenings, Bokeska is one of the busiest streets in Podgorica. There are plenty of cafés around, but the first one to catch your eye will probably be Soba. Its name means “room,” and the venue is just that: a colorful room on the street with beautiful paintings and all kinds of books that you can read while you relax with soft and pleasant electronic sounds in the background. Most of the books are written in Serbian, but that only adds to the experience.
Photo courtesy of the venue.
Soul 2 Soul
S2S is popular with the locals,especially during winter, when it gets really crowded. And not without reason: It’s often your best bet if you want to dance the night away while listening to more mainstream selections by local DJs.
Photo courtesy of Soul 2 Soul on Twitter.
Haustor has one of the most relaxed atmospheres in Podgorica. Hidden behind the buildings between Novaka Miloseva Street and Vuka Karadzica Street near the center of town, it’s is a real gem if your aim is to chill, play some pool or shoot some darts in a room with bikes on the walls.
Photo courtesy of Haustor Caffe’s Facebook.