Cafes & Bars, Skopje
Well, this is quite a popular spot, during the whole year, but... the quay gets totally packed in spring, summer and early autumn, when the weather is still nice and warm and everyone is outside.
There are so many places to go to, some nicer than others, but the choice is good.
The list here includes:
ALO, ALO (have had only daily coffees there... decent place)
PLAZA DE TOROS (very nice place. No, NOT a typical tapas-place, but still, a good idea and the snacks they offer are great)
Irish Pub St. Patrick (still a popular spot for lots of foreigner who come here)
Dubliner (another Irish pub, though I have to admit that it is very, very, very different from the concept of pub - it's way too fancy, too posh, too stuck up; the interior is nice but the atmosphere inside... defies the whole concept of a pub: relaxed, laid-back place, for some drinks and music)
And of course, LA BODEGUITA DEL MEDIO, the Cuban bar&restaurant (yes, it is part of the world chain of La B del M).
IT IS REALLY NICE, but kind of expensive. They usually serve excellent cocktails, even though their mojito is not as good as it used to be. But, what attracts people here is the atmosphere. During weekends it is pretty fun, the music is nice and there is some dancing going on. This place is a bit posh, which I tend to dislike, but it is not bad, and can often mean "having a good time". Anyways, give the place a try if you're a fan of Latin music.
Ok, so on the other side of Partizanska Blvd, there is another beautiful neighbourhood, the one I basically grew up in, full of nice places to go to.
Again, all the bars are within walking distance - the area of Porta Bunjakovec, behind it and behind the Kliment Ohridski Blvd (formerly known as Blvd. JNA).
The list would include:
MAMAS - cool place, now opened till 3/4 am. there are usually live gigs there. This place is open only during autumn/winter, because it's closed and there's no terrace.
LEZET - the tastiest mulled wine in Skopje, a fantastic interior, great music) and right next to it the bar called AJA
LJUBOV - nice little bar, good music, overlooking Partizanska blvd.
BALET - this is more of an institution, than a bar. The good music is the best thing about it. Ballet is one of those legendary place that... it's the people that make it. It is basically a dirty hole and still its popularity never seems to cease. Opened till 4 am, maybe even later than that
SECTOR 909 - right next to Mamas, also open till 3am/4am. Relatively popular club, there are themed night, sometimes it's hiphop and R'n'B, sometimes house, depends
IZLET - fantastic bar, bar, really good music and in summertime their terrace is a safe haven, it's a small paradise in the center of the city
When I last tried explaining the night-life situation in Skopje, I had to write about something that happened March, 2003: our "beloved" Government decided that everything in the country had been taken care of, so the only thing left to do was to make sure the cafes and bars respect their legal "working hours," truly BELIEVING that this will resolve all the issues concerning young people, drinking, street-violence (which is still a rarity compared to many other cities), etc.
Anyways, the bars and cafes (not registered as clubs) are open: till midnight (working days), or till 1 am. (on Fridays and Saturdays) during wintertime, and in the summertime, if I am correct they are all open till 1 am.
Those places registered as clubs, have a permit to be open till 3 am on working days, and 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays. There are some places that stay open later than 4 am.
In my opinion, the main areas where Skopje’s night-life is concentrated are:
1. The bars in Debar Maalo, and especially along Leninova street, and the ones on Orce Nikolov street.
2. the bars located on the other side of Partizanska St., around the Greek office of liaisons;
3. All the places on Marshal Tito St. (excuse me, Macedonia St.); and
4. the bars in GTC, especially the ones located on the quay.
5. The Old Bazaar, which gets an extra buzz in summertime.
Obviously, there are more, but these areas are a “must”. Since this area-division is quite practical, I’ll mention some of the places I like best in each one.
Dress Code: DRESS CODES??? Please, this is not an American high-school we're talking about.
This street has become one of "THE spots" in Skopje's, well in its very center to be precise.
It is packed with cafes and bars, all open till midnight (working days), or 1 am, Fridays and Saturdays. They are all a great choice to have a cup of coffee during the day, or for a night out, drinks maybe.
In summer all these places have terraces, and the whole atmosphere is even more enjoyable, the street is busy with a lively buzz.
T-Club, Il Cafe di Roma, Studio 54, Barcelona, Timeless, a cocktail bar located just opposite hotel Bristol, etc. As I said, there are many.
Just taking a stroll along the street (which is pedestrian zone) is enjoyable enough.
Taking a walk through Debar Maalo is a treat on its on, let alone enjoy the places located there. First of, it is a legendary neighborhood in Skopje, and has always enjoyed a special place in the true Skopje citizens' hearts. It is both a great location for a meal (dining out) and some drinks.
Packed with "kafani" (those of you who are not familiar with the concept - kafana: less fancy than a restaurant, much more basic, but the food is amazing. Most kafanas are THE choice to try some barbecue) and bars and cafes, the streets of Debar Maalo are ... not to be missed.
Ok, some of the places:
On LENINOVA street:
Kala - way too posh (snobbish), and not my cup of tea at all. But it is a rather visited spot.
Further down the street, one very famous spot is BASTION - a bar where I've left my soul during 2002 and 2003. Still a cool place to visit, both during the day and at night.
Right across from Bastion - SUSHICO, probably one of the most expenses places in Skopje. Japanese, Chinese and Thai food, absolutely fantastic interior, amazing food, I have to say, but rather fancy place.
DEUS has also been around for ages, really relaxed place for coffee and drinks.
My personal favorite, a bit off of Leninova, KRUG (or Circle) Great for coffee-and-chat, great for drinks at night - the music is always absolutely awesome.
On and around Orce Nikolov street:
Superfly - just as the name suggest, it's supa dupa fly, always packed;
Jukebox - a night club, open till 3/4 am
Foreplay - new place, still haven't checked it out.
Van Gogh - iconic and always fun to visit
Kaldrma - right next to Van Gogh, another laid-back bar.
Laika - kinda rock, kinda indie - in a league of its own.
Ok, so starting from the main square, yes the one adorned with way too many over-sized, over-the-top monuments:
Bocata - nice bar (used to be called Nana), very good coffee and a laid-back atmosphere.
Right across is the bar called Trend - huge, a tad too snobbish for my taste, but people seem to like it. Good salads, gotta admit.
T-CLUB - a cute little bar that always has fantastic music, whether it is during the day, inviting you for a relaxing moment, or during the night. Cool spot.
Right next to T-Club, Il Cafe Di Roma. A bit more expensive, but good coffee choice, and really nice atmosphere.
BarCelona - because of its location, one of the nicest corners on Macedonia st. Its terrace during the warm days (and nights) in Skopje is really nice.
Further down there are also a few bars, and also the Mexican restaurant Amigos - not bad, but not smashingly fabulous either.
Just off of Macedonia street, on the street that crosses it, called Dame Gruev, there is a great bar called Corsso - has been there for ages. I love that place. One of the few places that have a true Skopje feel to them. Excellent coffee and cheapest offer of Bovin wines. Really laid back atmosphere.
We spent a leisurely hour with a bottle of wine at Vinoteka Temov on a sunny Sunday afternoon in March 2012.
Advertised as Macedonia's first wine bar, Vinoteka Temov is located on Gradiste in the Carsija district of Skopje, just below the Monastery of Sveti Spas and the Kale Fortress.
The wine list is certainly very impressive; it features hundreds of wines from dozens of Macedonian wineries and a large selection of international wines.
I won't pretend to know a great deal about wine, and I certainly won't profess to know too much about Macedonian wine. However, I have learnt over the years that there is apparently no positive correlation between the price of a wine and my enjoyment of it, so I focused on the cheaper wines on the list. The prices were generally comparable to those in restaurants in the UK. Prices started at around 550 MKD (£7.50) and rose to over 5,000 MKD (almost £70) for a 750ml bottle.
As we had enjoyed a good bottle of T'ga za Jug red wine the previous evening, we were keen to try another Vranec wine. We ignored the T'ga za Jug this time as it was 760 MKD a bottle (compared to the 650 MKD that we'd paid the previous evening at Spinoff Restaurant, the 500 MKD that it cost in the restaurant at Guesthouse Anja and the 225 MKD that it could be purchased for in Vero supermarket!).
The various Vranec wines that we tried to order (for example, Vila Marija Elenov, Peca and Agronikolov) had sold out, so the waiter recommended the 2008 Imako Cabernet Sauvignon which was a similar price (550 MKD (£7.50)).
We enjoyed this dry red wine and we enjoyed the atmosphere; with the onset of the warm spring weather, the local Skopjens were in good spirits and the outdoor terraces around the area were spilling over with groups enjoying a Sunday afternoon drink.
We managed to get an outdoor table when we visited in the afternoon, but you are advised to book a table if you plan to visit in the evening. Live music is performed from 9pm every evening.
Vinoteka Temov offers almost certainly the best selection of wines in Skopje (and possibly the whole of Macedonia). Prices are higher than average, but you'll find wines here that you wouldn't find elsewhere.
A huge selection of Macedonian and international wines!
The first bar I found here in the city didn’t exactly require much exploration, being on the ground floor of my hotel.
The Shkupi (the Albanian name for Skopje) café/bar is a bit trendy for my personal tastes (nothing wrong with the beer or the prices though) with its comfortable sofas and lacquered furniture but at ten thirty on a midweek evening was pleasantly busy and had a relaxed buzz. Even though part of the hotel this was still very much a local’s bar with small groups of regulars coming and going, greeting each other and passing the time of day.
As good an introduction as any to the city’s nightlife and my first couple of Skopsko’s certainly went down well but then it was time to head for the proper bars!
Dress Code: Very smart but casual seemed to be the order of the evening.
Stara Skopska Charshija (or the Old Skopje Bazaar)...
Confession: I had my first vodka in a iconic place called: 21 (has nothing to do with legal age) which was one of the most famous place in the Old Bazar, about 15 years ago, when I was 16.
I also used to go to an amazing tea-bar called Bagdad cafe. And then... this part of Skopje died.
Seriously. And it was completely... isolated until three years ago.
Three years ago, a certain fella opened a Vinoteque in the Old Bazaar, which seemed as a revolutionary step since it did not make a lot of sense. But, the place (despite the fact that I now hate it cause it is so, so, so, so expensive and overrated) really had a positive effect and people started going to the Old Bazaar again.
Then DAMAR opened, a very avant-garde bar, the first... openly gay and lesbian friendly place (which is a bit of progress for Macedonia), then the owner of the Vinoteka (Vinoteque) opened a Beer-bar, called Star grad (Pivnica), again... overpriced, but still a good place to hang out at and especially in summer when they have wooden tables just outside the church of St. Spas, and live rock gigs.
And so... a chain reaction... the Old Bazaar is once again a TOP spot to visit (during the day and night).
LA KAÑA, amazing bar owned by two Spanish (Reyes Martin and Estela) who came here and decided that among the young in Skopje there is still hope for the non-commercial types of music. The place can remind you of some bars found in Malasaña in Madrid.
MENADA... what used to exist as Mala Stanica. One of my all-time favourites. Fantastic music!!! They have a "movie" afternoon each Sunday and show artsy movies (very known and less known)
Rakija bar Kaldrma, Jazz and fish restaurant New Orleans... and many more.
I strongly recommend visiting the Old Bazaar, especially once the weather is warmer and the bars open their terraces.
MAMAS - This place started working as a jazz bar, but now it's turned into a "club" (meaning it is open after midnight). There are live gigs organized, and also musically-themed nights.
Mamas is... a nice mix of a more serious place (not for teens or techno-music fans), great decoration, fabulous music, and pretty good atmosphere.
Definitely recommending it to everybody.
LEZET... Lezet... I guess some Turks that read these pages will understand the name of this place. Inspired by the Orient, its turkish style and the attention to details, make Lezet an amazing place. The mulled wine is... to die for.
After finishing my business with my partners, and of course, having a meal including a lot of "rakiya" (which is basically a domestic type of grappa), I was taken to a wine and cheese event in an establishment called Cafe Caffe. Nice life music (jazz standards, female voice and good pianist), nice atmosphere, and nice selection of domestic wines (I strongly recommend the white ones) accompanied by fine selection of domestic and foreign cheeses. Aardige avond!
Dress Code: It matters not if you wear formal jacket and tie, or sneakers and T-shirt, just bring your positive attitude to the event.
I have to mention that this is n outsider's opinion- I'm not from Skopje but I'm there a lot! If you're in town it's a shame not to visit caffe or club Trend! If you like hip-hop music Hard Rock on a Sunday night is the best place to go (my personal fave). Caffe Kartel or any of the caffes by the Vardar shore in centre if the city are great to go with friends and just relax!
In general, Skopje has amazing places to go partying, so wherever you go you're most likely to have a great time!
Dress Code: my advise - dress up, but don't over dress
Nights in Skopje are always fun. I have visited many, many bars, clubs, lounges and cafes over my numerous visits. The "scene" is quite widespread and you will find really nice kinda "outdoor lounges" some even with cool life music. In summer everything is basically outside, including the coolest dance place, which is in a park (don't remember the name, but it's close to the football stadium and the river). As in every city these days, there is an Irish Pub in Skopje “St Patrick” that offers a fairly decent Guinness besides some other local and European brews. You’ll find lots international people there from that come to visit Skopje or live and work tehre. I can't remember a single time coming to "Pati" without meeting some familiar faces. Right next to St Patrick are 3 other café bars with pretty good music, a nice atmosphere, beautiful people and decent drinks for even more decent prices. All of these bars of course are just opened after independence.
Dress Code: Depends on where you go, but most clubs and lounges have bouncers just as in every other city and if he doesn't like what you wear - you don't go in. In general, people are dressed very nicely and fashionable. No baseball hats or sports gear for the Americans amongst you.
I was surprised with how many locals there was around makedonija square... .. the most crowded boulevard is Makedonija ulica running back from the river ..there are some beautiful locals with terraces and good music ..so spend any night there...
Skopje is a place with one of the richest history in the world and you can feel it when you visit Kale and Stara Charshija. The clubs are great and the caffee shops even better, it doesent matter if it's day or night the pardy is 24 houres. It's a place to go and enjoy life.
Dress Code: Skopje is a beautiful city with flavour of european city.many places to go out to ,like coffe and clubs.
What is so great to be in the smallest metropolis in Europe?
Its large enough to make you feel small, but adequatlly miniature for you giant carier steps. Start moving up during the sunny days, walk the streets, meet foreigners, taste the crazy traffick, sence life...
Especially at night when you walk between the concrete buildings shaded with coper red lights, in your head you can hear electro-ambient music and all your sences smell the FREEDOM! The very knowledge of your liberal flight thru the streets , disturbes you. Tonight you are becoming urban revolutionist, the sines are your greatest wings. Its all about the asfalt baby!