Best places to drink in Split

People keep asking me for my favorite places to drink at in Split. Usually I don’t do such macro posts, but Split is where I live and I’m happy to share with you the places I go. Here you go, in no particular order.

Black Dog Bar

Black Dog Bar in Split
Image by Nova Runda

Black Dog is a fairly new bar on the scene but has already set itself apart from other spots in Split for several reasons. Here is why I like it:

  • The owner and all the bartenders are NICE. This goes a long way.
  • They’ve got a great beer list and some good specialty cocktails. I’ve been impressed with their pisco sour as of late.
  • The bar itself is beautiful because of its old stone walls. It’s also more spacious than most bars, so you’re not sitting on top of other people.
  • While people can smoke in this bar like all bars in Croatia, the ventilation is better than most so those of us who do not smoke can enjoy a drink in the comfort of air conditioning without developing black lung.
  • It has a good atmosphere of people having a great time, but without the pub crawl tourists looking to get black out drunk.

Black Dog BarFacebook
Hrvojeva 10, 21000, SplitMap

Sanctuary Bar

Sanctuary Bar Split - Beers
Image by Twitter

This bar has been around for a few years now. If I’m out for a drink, there is a 70% chance I am at Sanctuary. Here is why I like it:

  • They do cocktails really well. Most bars in Split that offer cocktails will a) overcharge you and b) skimp on the booze. Sanctuary does neither. In fact, their margaritas are lethal. If you want a classic or obscure cocktail in Split, many bartenders in Split will just give you a confused or irritated look upon your request. Not at Sanctuary. As long as you aren’t there when they are packed, it’ll be received as a challenge.
  • The owners and bartenders are NICE…as long as you don’t give them a reason not to be.
  • It is positioned for the best people watching ever. The bar sits on a very tiny intersection of 6 different alleys. If you sit at one of the two tables that flank the front door, you’re guaranteed a great view of the activity flowing through the city.
  • It’s a great place to meet people. Best spots for stranger meetings is at the bar or at the two small tables outside that flank the front door.

It is important to note that in high season, this can be the kind of place that attracts the stag party let’s-get-blacked-out crowd. Sometimes that kind of vibe is what the occasion calls for and nobody does that better than Sanctuary. I’ve celebrated 3 birthdays here that I only moderately remember and I have zero regrets about that.

The best time to go is anytime outside of summer when it has a much more chill and local feel.

Sanctuary BarFacebook
Poljana Stare gimnazije 1, 21000, SplitMap

ZERU cafe & bistro

Food at Zeru Caffe & Bistro in Split
Image by Voli Foto

ZERU is also a bit of a newbie in Split. While not a bar in the traditional sense, this place is for wine drinkers. Here is why I like it:

  • I know I am beating a dead horse here, but the owner and everyone who works there are NICE.
  • They have a lovely Croatian wine list offering by the glass and bottle. In fact, the owner’s family owns Kairos Vina, a winery in Plano near-ish Trogir.
  • There is a great and unique small plates menu on offer so you can have snacks with your wine.
  • It’s chill and quiet, for when you want to hear what other people are saying.
  • Between the bar that faces out to the street and the tables on the street, there is a lot of great people watching to be had on Matošića Street.
  • As a bonus, Zeru now hosts “Unwind Fridays” at their Kairos Vina winery. Every two weeks, sip some of their wine while gazing at the most incredible view of Split, Trogir, Čiovo and the Adriatic Sea. After the sun sets, you’ll wander down to the villa at the vineyard for dinner. They arrange transportation for you, so do not worry if you don’t have a car. I hope not to miss a single one of these events. Follow the Facebook page to stay tuned for the next one.

ZERU cafe & bistroFacebook
Matošića 5, 21000, SplitMap

Mandrill Nano Brewery

Mandrill Nano Brewery & Bar
Image by Taste of Croatia

I was so thrilled when this place was added to the Split scene. Here is why I like it:

  • It’s a brewery! Like, the big tanks are sitting inside the bar. Whenever you go, they have different beers on draft that they have brewed on the premises. In fact, many bars (including Sanctuary and Black Dog from above) carry Mandrill’s beers on draft.
  • They serve pizza, which is pretty good and tastes better the more beers you’ve had. No need to search for food after a night of drinking, just order a pizza at the bar along with your beer.
  • Because they serve food, they cannot allow smoking inside by law.
  • It’s outside the city center, so it is usually filled with locals. No pub crawlers here.
  • It’s the perfect place for a beer and a chat with friends.
  • Yup, I’m gonna say it. The owner and bartenders are NICE.

Mandrill Nano BreweryFacebook
Ul. Sv. Petra starog 15, 21000, SplitMap

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7 thoughts on “Best places to drink in Split

  1. Grant
    October 3, 2015 @ 7:45 pm

    I ran into Luka accidentally this summer. I walked through the passageway next to the theater and there was a line with about 30 people in it waiting for gelato. There wasn't a line at any of the other places within view. I never did get to try it because I never had time to stand there but I figured it must be something special.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 13, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

      Hi Grant!

      There is a line for good reason. If you ever get a chance, it’s worth a taste. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  2. Merrill
    November 14, 2015 @ 10:47 pm

    Hello!

    My husband and I are staying a month here in Split and really loving it! Thanks for your list of favorite places to eat. We have noticed that the eating is mostly fast food and bakery snacks and that the folks sitting in the coffee bars are drinking coffee or beer only (not eating). We are budget travelers, but we are tired of pizza and would like to try some fresh seafood if you can recommend a place.

    thanks!

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 16, 2015 @ 10:03 am

      Hi Merrill,

      Your impression is accurate. There is not a big eating out culture in Split, but it has been changing for the better. For great fish, go to Konoba Marjan in the Varos neighborhood. Best fish in Split! Zinfandel and Tinel, while not fish-focused, are two other good places to help mix it up.

      Enjoy!

      Sra

      {reply}

  3. Alexandra
    April 17, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

    viila Spiza is the best little hole in the wall for fresh, daily specials prepared right in front of you. Good vibes, lots of locals so you know it is good. 🙂

    {reply}

  4. Jann Flatinger
    October 18, 2016 @ 8:16 pm

    Has Croatia joined the Schengen countries?  How do you get to live in Croatia permanently?  I'm an American and can only stay in England for six months and have to leave.  I can only stay on the continent for 90 out of 180 days and then must leave.  I think I can only stay in Croatia for 90 days.  If immigration catches you, you are at their mercy and they can tell you that you're not allowed to return to their country. 

    My grandfather was born in Yugoslavia, now Croatia, in the small town of Gorjani in the Vojvodina region.  I have a copy of his actual birth certificate with the proper annotations required by the Croatian government.  I have been in contact with them and the ONLY way to get a citizenship is to take the test in Croatian and answer 15 questions (selected from 100).  You must be able to speak and write Croatian to take the test.  I can't speak or write anything in Croatian.  It's not an easy language to learn and there are only about 4 million people who speak it!

    That's MY story but we do want to live in Europe.  I am married to a Brit and to reestablish residency there, we must stay in England for 10 months and can only leave for a maximum of 60 days.  Brexit is probably going to change the requirements for Brits on the continent too.  

    We spent one month in Split and I loved it.  We spent another month in Rovinj (Istria) and loved it there too.  Split has more to do and is a much larger city than Rovinj.  

    Now you can understand my question of how do you get to live in Croatia.  I look forward to hearing from you.   

    {reply}

    • Sara Expat in Croatia
      November 7, 2016 @ 12:01 pm

      Hi Jann,

      Thank you for reaching out!

      If your spouse is British, you should be able to get temporary residency here in Croatia (until Brexit changes go into effect). However, the quickest path to citizenship would be to captialize on your grandfather’s Croatian heritage. Yes, you would have to take the test. Croatian is a very difficult language, but if you intend to live here long term, it is highly recommended that you learn it. Not everyone speaks English, especially at government agenices which you will inevitably have to work with from time to time.

      To answer your first question, I am able to stay here because my former spouse was an EU national.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

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