Interview with Vicko Lazo of Milk, the first gay bar in Dubrovnik

Milk bar in Dubrovnik
Milk bar, Dubrovnik

PUBLISHED: 01/07/2022

Vicko Lazo is the co-owner of the club Milk – the first gay bar in Dubrovnik, which opened in May 2022. Dubrovnik, and Croatia as a whole, lacks LGBTQIA+ friendly places, so the opening of Milk is kind of a big deal. The bar is situated in the historic old city of Dubrovnik on Ulica Marojice Kaboge.

The grand opening of Milk was big news in Croatia. Many celebrities and prominent people came to the opening party, including queer group House of Flamingo, cellist Ana Rucner, and Dubrovnik’s mayor Mato Franković.

In honor of Pride Month, we interviewed Vicko to get an insight into Milk and future plans. We spoke with Vicko in June 2022, during which we talked about…

Read the full interview below…

Interview with Vicko Lazo of Milk, Dubrovnik’s first gay bar

Expat in Croatia: How did you decide to open Milk?

Vicko: We decided to open Milk at the end of the last summer season. As me being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I knew how important it would be to create a safe space for us. Dubrovnik has always been a big destination for the gay community, and I knew something like a gay bar was missing from our city’s offer.

Expat in Croatia: Have you owned your own business before?

Vicko: Milk is a brand new business. I myself haven’t run a business before, but that’s why I have two experienced hospitality partners supporting and helping all the way!

Expat in Croatia: Was it easy to find a location?

Vicko: Our location was actually easy to find. It used to be a storage room for tables and chairs of Cele (a bar on the main square owned by the business partners).

Expat in Croatia: Do you feel you have the support of the local chamber of commerce or other restaurant/bar operators?

Vicko: 100%. Even before the opening itself, when the word got out, everyone was super supportive. There are two other restaurants on our street and we have amazing cooperation with both. Now that a month and a half from the opening passed, we find it surprising that many people from restaurants and bars are recommending MILK to all their guests, which is amazing!

Expat in Croatia: Did anyone tell you this couldn’t be done, whether it be a challenging time due to covid?

Vicko: Whoever we told, they were honestly supportive, and everyone said it’s a great idea. No one said it directly, but of course, we read some comments on social media that would bash the whole idea of a gay bar. We keep on proving them wrong every day with how well we’re doing 🙂

Milk bar in Dubrovnik
Milk bar, Dubrovnik

Expat in Croatia: There was a big interest at Milk’s opening and also many celebrities came, including House of Flamingo. What did the opening look like?

Vicko: Indeed, it was a big interest. The opening night was amazing. The girls from House of Flamingo did an amazing job, and so did Ana Rucner [Croatian cellist]. Locals were fascinated with the whole thing. We are really happy with how the whole thing went!

Expat in Croatia: Do you have a signature drink or local item that is a must-try?

Vicko: We have a list of 12 signature cocktails that our bartenders made. If you check our Google reviews, people are really loving and enjoying them. The most famous ones would be “Tiny Dancer”, “George Michael”, and “Skyfall”.

Expat in Croatia: What kind of a program do you offer? Are there going to be any gigs, gatherings, or parties?

Vicko: We have a resident DJ playing every night, a cabaret show every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and more bar signature performances almost every day! We have so much more in the plan but would like to keep that a secret. 🙂

Expat in Croatia: What is the capacity of the club? How are things going so far – do you have enough visitors?

Vicko: The bar is not that big, unfortunately. We tend to have 70-80 people maximum inside for it to be comfortable and enjoyable for everyone. It’s working beyond well and definitely surpassing our expectations. Wish we had a bigger space!

Expat in Croatia: Is it true that Milk was named after the excellent movie with Sean Pean in the main role? Do people recognize this, and do they have any comments?

Vicko: Indeed, we named the bar after Harvey Milk after watching the movie. Not that many people know, but the ones who find out love it! A lot of American tourists appreciate and cherish it!

Expat in Croatia: Have you ever been active within the LGBTQ community before you opened the bar? What did you do?

Vicko: Apart from being part of it, I haven’t done anything until now. Haven’t really had a chance since it was never talked about in Dubrovnik. This is one of the main reasons for me opening it. I finally want people to normalize it.

Milk bar in Dubrovnik
Milk bar, Dubrovnik

Expat in Croatia: What do you have to say about the role and position of the LGBTQ community in Croatia and a general offer for them?

Vicko: The offer is almost non-existent. I want people from the community to be braver and help me make a change because it’s about time we do so.

Expat in Croatia: Has there been any discussion about a Dubrovnik pride parade? If there were, how do you think it would be received locally?

Vicko: There were some talks and plans about it, but not many people wanted to be involved. We’re a small city, and people don’t want to expose themselves, unfortunately. Will definitely work on that in the future. Now I have to be focused on running Milk as best as possible.

Expat in Croatia: What do you think it will take to for there to be more widespread acceptance of LGBTQ in Croatia?

Vicko: That’s a tough one. I think time. Younger generations are coming. There is definitely more inclusivity and diversity now than there was before.

Expat in Croatia: What are your next steps – do you already have any plans for the future (maybe to open another gay bar)?

Vicko: For now, we want to expand Milk, maybe find a bigger venue, or indeed open another one – why not. We want to keep offering new stuff to the city of Dubrovnik and the whole LGBTQ community.

How to support Milk

View our other LGBTQIA+ articles

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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