In Belgrade, every night is Friday night. Everyone is ready to party at all the time, dance the night away, and go straight to work the next day. It’s really hard to resist the temptation when you know that on any given evening there are countless clubs out there full of young, gorgeous people having so much fun.
How did Belgrade become the world’s nightlife capital?
During the ’90s, Serbia went through the roughest patch in its recent history. The break-up of Yugoslavia, civil war, UN sanctions, hyperinflation, and high unemployment made sure that the only entertainment Belgraders had back in those days was the one they created themselves. Something changed in people’s minds and – despite all the hardships of living in the capital of a nation that’s was falling apart – the local nightlife industry boomed, taking clubbing to an art form. Everyone absolutely loved it.
The ’99 NATO bombing forced Belgraders to take their fun even more seriously. Faced with everyday threat of losing our lives, we starting having huge outdoor concerts in city squares and on bridges, while some of the most famous night clubs started working even during daylight hours.
Today, Belgrade may be many years behind other European capitals when it comes to economic, industrial, and scientific development, but it’s literally light years ahead when it comes to nightlife. The Belgrade clubbing industry is better organized and has more to offer than any other out there. Every night of the week, there are countless different clubs with different styles and with different kinds of music where you can go. It may be hard to believe, but all the clubs which have the capacity of 300 to 500 people are basically full every night of the week.
A lot of people who visit Belgrade and take part in its nightlife say that the only place they can compare it to is Ibiza, since both places have huge club opening and closing events. However, the difference is that Belgrade clubs work 12 months a year, while Ibiza clubs work only four.
Many young people work in the nightlife industry, mainly as club promoters. They advertise parties and events, often through word of mouth, bringing a lot of guests and customers and taking a cut of the bills. Their reputations depend on how many people they can get to the events they promote and how much money these people spend.
The mainstream clubbing scene consists of venues playing house music, progressive, tech house, and turbo-folk (a sub-genre of folk music with dance and pop elements specific to Serbia), but you can also find places specializing in R’n’B, pop, rock, trance, alternative, jazz, or just about any other type of music in existence.
You can find two types of clubs in Belgrade: winter clubs and summer clubs. Winter clubs are indoor clubs which are usually open during the winter season – from late September to early May. When the summer season comes, they all close their doors as the big openings of summer clubs start. These floating river clubs or barges (called “splavs” or “splavovi”) are anchored at the riverbank and they’re the main locations for partying during hot summer nights.
Belgrade clubs do not charge entrance fees. But it doesn’t mean you can come and go as you wish. All local clubs have a checkpoint at their entrance where face control is carried out by staff – you’re screened whether you’re adequately dressed for the type of the club you want to get into and whether you have a table reservation or not. Without the reservation, there are very slim chances you’re going to get into the club that evening and you can absolutely forget about having a bar table or a VIP table of your own.
After you pass face control, security will check you for hidden weapons before you enter. The first people you’ll see after you get in are a few beautiful club hostesses (some of them speak several languages) who are going to ask you for the name your reservation is bookerd under. After you give your name, one of them will escort you to your table. As soon as she leaves, a waiter will come to your table to take your order. Basically, if you’ve got a table reservation, it means you’ll never need to walk to the bar to order a drink. If you succeed getting into the club without a reservation, you can catch a drink at the bar.
You’ll also notice very attractive go-go dancers. There are usually between four and eight of them in the club during the night and their business is just dancing and animating the crowd by dancing, often on an elevated platform high above the tables. Go-go dancers are a part of the show, but never the central part. They also don’t talk to patrons except when they have breaks.
Another difference between local clubs and clubs in the rest of the world is that Belgrade clubs do not have dance floors. The whole club is filled with bar tables and VIP tables, so you simply party with your friends next to yours. The main advantage is that are no million drunk people pushing you around the dancefloor, possibly even spilling drinks on you and messing up your night entirely. With your own table, such a thing is simply not possible.
Undoubtly the first thing that foreigners notice in Belgrade is the beauty of its people Given the Balkan historical role as a traditional meeting place between the West and the East, it’s not a surprise that locals combine the best of both worlds. People also take their looks seriously here. The good news for female visitors is that most Belgrade guys regularly exercise and take active part in fitness, weight lifting, or some other kind of physical training. On the other hand, Belgrade girls also work out regularly and invest a lot of money into their look – buying quality cosmetics, visiting beauty salons daily, and wearing elegant yet tight-fitting sexy clothes that show off their beautiful bodies.
Finally, one of the greatest perks of Belgrade for foreign visitors is that you can be a VIP guest at top clubs for a relatively small amount of money. We’ll give you an example. If you reserve a VIP table, you are expected to spend €250 or more that evening. What it means is that you and your four buddies can spend €50 each and enjoy having a big, comfortable VIP table with a great view of the whole club, while drinking bottles of your favorite alcoholic drinks.
Belgrade is well known for sport, art, history, but Belgrade nightlife is one more thing for which Belgrade can be proud of. Attractive destinations, wild parties that last whole night long and, of course, beautiful girls are Serbian capital city’s brand. Belgrade nightlife consists of festivals, parties, nightclubs etc. Of course, there are many destinations to visit during day, but that does not interest us right now.
Festivals & parties in Belgrade
Belgrade nightlife has many happenings that may interest you. The biggest of all is the Belgrade Beer fest placed in middle of August every year. Free entrance, lots of beer and good music. Ideal fun for cheap money! If you are not Woodstock kind of guy/girl and you are more into closed parties, you can visit Belgrade Foam fest or White Sensation party. Of course, there are many more. Even you are a jazz fan, you have good jazz festival. Belgrade has it all. For everyone’s taste. If you plan to go to Belgrade, check the terms of your party earlier and do not miss it.
Nightclubs in Belgrade
What about the Belgrade nightlife outside these happenings? That’s where the great story of Belgrade nightlife actually starts! Even if you have been going on some mentioned parties, you’ll probably end up in some nightclubs at the end of the night. Or at the beginning of a new dawn!
Clubs like Vanilla, Hill or Stefan Braun are well famous and many people from outside the Serbia already know for them. But the best Belgrade clubs are riverclubs placed at the Sava and Danube rivers. Dragstor, Blaywatch, Acapulco, Bollywood and others are among the most popular.
And at the end, don’t forget Serbian so-called „kafanas“ – bars where you can rest, enjoy but sometimes have fun more then anywhere else with traditional songs live before your very ears. Visit Skadarlija quarter or some kafanas elsewhere. We suggest „Balkanika“, „Nasa prica“ („Our story“), „Znak pitanja“ („Question mark“) etc. But don’t worry if you don’t remember these names or if they are not close to you when in Belgrade, feel free to ask Belgrade people to recommend you some kafanas nearby. You won’t regret. There are many, many of them which many people never heard of and they are still great.