Zadar night life off season
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Zadar night life off season Reviews
Zadar's night life off season Jan 26, 2009
Zadar is right now one of the most popular cities in Croatia. Ever since the motor highway was completed, Zadar became the first city on the coast to be reached from the inland. New buildings are being built, streets are being renewed, many people, domestic and foreign, have set up their homes here. This new development has a very nice side effect: Zadar is packed with events. Concerts, exhibitions, festivals, you name it. There's just one thing that hasn't changed. All of these events take place during summer season. Off season we hybernate. We Dalmatians are like lizzards: as soon as it gets warmer and the days get longer, we come out into the sun, take our living into the streets and beaches. But as soon as the temperatures drop and the Bura and rain start, we crawl back into our houses, feed the furnaces and go outside only if we really, really have to.
I won't go into summer's night life here, that will be another review on another occasion. Here I'll tell you something about night life in my hometown when it's cold outside and the tourists have gone home. Never given this much thought actually, because I always end up in the same cafe and same bar. But then friends wanted to come visit me off season and I wondered where to take them. So, the other night me and my friends took a tour through Zadar's night life. And here's what we came up with on a saturday night (it'll be short, surely):
First we started where we always start and end up: "Maraschino" bar at the bay of Jazine, city center. It's a modern little bar, that during the day functions as a cafe and restaurant. Beautifully located at the bay of Jazine with a great view on the sea and Zadar's city walls. The terrace is built right at the shore where local fishermen tie up their boats. I spent many afternoons sitting there in the sun enjoying the quiet and peaceful sight. And tasty white coffee (ok, here's something for you foreigners to learn: white coffee is espresso with a lot of milk in a large cup. I believe in other places it's called cafe au lait? We call it "bila kava" - white coffee). At nights it's a bar like any other I dare say. There's a DJ playing loud music that varies from hip-hop over lounge to r'n'b. You can choose between a variety of drinks; there aren't many chairs and tables, people mostly stand, some of them dance. The terrace is open even during winter time, so if you don't feel chilly you can sit outside as well. On fridays an 'older' crowd gathers here (I mean people in their 30s and more :-)), and the DJ tends to play music from the 80s and 70s. On saturdays it's a younger crowd, mostly students.
Our next stop was "Mango", a 'more little' bar in Diklo, a village close to Zadar, so close that it's actually a suburb. "Mango" is located at the main road right at the entrance of Diklo. It has a beautiful terrace in Bali-style. Inside it's crowded, loud and smoky. A DJ plays exclusively croatian music, you've got it all, rock, pop, hip-hop,... whatever. The crowd mostly comes from the surrounding villages, it's a crowd of all ages. And they are having fun!
When we started this adventure we counted 6 places we thought should be open on a saturday night (we didn't count in the two discotheques, just bars and clubs). For the next 4 places I will make a joint review. You will see why. Here it is: "Yachting" in the suburb of Borik, located at the Marina Borik. Just a few people sipping their drinks. "Medusa Bar" at Kolovare beach, right down the hospital. Crowded with drunk teenagers and music so loud that it seemed as if the windows would break any time now. Good that it's located so close to the hospital. "Arsenal " located in an ancient venetian arsenal in the old town. Restaurant, bar and club with many events the whole year round. A great place actually, but closes early, even on a saturday night. "Maya Pub" at Jazine bay on the old town's side. Not a pub, not Maya, since it's decorated in Asian style. A place where the 'alternative' crowd gathers, a lot of students, has often very good live concerts. That saturday night a DJ was playing, and they wanted us to pay for entrance. After a quick peek inside we realized there was noone there and decided to spend the ticket-money on another drink at "Maraschino".
All in all it was a short trip through Zadar's night life. Off season. And all the places came to the same thing: loud and smoky, 3 of them crowded, 3 empty. Don't expect to be able to chat with anyone, the music is so loud you can't hear yourself let alone anyone else. If you're a non-smoker you might have a problem, since this is a smoker's world. Another thing that is specific for a night out in Croatia generally: it is literaly a NIGHT out - the night out starts not earlier than 11 p.m. and ends in the early morning hours (I'm curious - is this just in Croatia? Anyone anywhere going out at more humane hours?).
I might sound a little sarcastic, and you might be right. But I'm a local and I am allowed to ;-) The point is, for someone who also enjoys other kinds of music than hip hop and croatian pop, who would like to, besides of having a drink and a dance, actually chat with somebody without having to shout in his ear to be heard, Zadar has nothing to offer. At least not off season. Cruel, but true. If anyone can deny that, I'd be more than happy to learn about it.
Now, it's a couple of month later and I'm happy to say I've learned some new things about going out in Zadar off season. And they are good :-)
First, there's this cute little bar, I'm ashamed to say it's just across the street of where I live. In my defense I have to remark, that the entrance is a little off the path and it opens only from 6 p.m. to midnight. It's called "Štriga" (read Shtriga). 'Supernatural'-fans will know what it means, all you others can look it up at http://www.supernatural.tv/reviews/legends/somethingwicked.htm. The bar is tiny with only 5 tables and a bar, decorated like a wine cellar with brick walls and candlelight. Jazz and latino music is playing, just loud enough to enjoy both the music and a conversation. Very cosy. It's located in the part of town called 'Relja', just opposite the 'City Galerija' shopping mall, on the ground floor of a new apartment building.
This review is about going out on a saturday night, as most people do. But a couple of days ago I found myself going out on a thursday night, and what a surprise that was. First we had a few drinks at the "Callegro", a cinema with a few smaller auditoriums, several expensive designer shops and a cafe in the lobby. Very glamourous, and since the bartender kept coming with the Cosmopolitans we felt very much like Carrie and her girlfriends :-)
Then we moved on. Move on to where? On a thursday, in a smalltown. We went to "Maya Pub". Remember? Just scroll up a little bit, you'll find a rather disappointing review on it. But that thursday it was different. And as I learned later, that's how it's supposed to be every thursday. The place started filling up around midnight (doesn't anybody go to work on fridays?), the DJ was playing tunes from the 1980s (like Madonna's 'Material girl' and Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean', wow!), and the crowd was dancing and singing along. Party time on a thursday night! There were people aged from mid 20s to mid 40s, and, boy, they (we!) know how to have a good time.
Another surprise on a friday night: "Yachting" (also mentioned before). Karaoke. Friday nights it's karaoke-night at "Yachting". The bar wasn't very crowded, and the guests weren't very eager for taking the microphone from each other's hands. But it was fun, and we got to listen to some great evergreens. But only croatian, I wouldn't know whether they had also foreign songs, maybe they did, but not that night.
The only thing left to say here is, that even a local is never done learning about her hometown.
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