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 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.
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.
ZERU cafe & bistro
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.
Mandrill Nano Brewery
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.