Biggest New Year’s celebration in Belgrade ever

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New Year’s Eve celebrations in Belgrade are set to be the biggest and best yet, the city’s mayor has promised. From December 30 to 31 some of the region’s most famous musicians will perform outside the parliament building in Serbia’s capital to welcome in 2017.

“All the regional stars will be in Belgrade,” Belgrade’s mayor, Sinisa Mali, said ahead of the performances. “Never before has Belgrade had so many events and so many musicians as we have prepared for the celebration of 2017.”

Among the performers on December 30 will be the legendary Yugoslav rock band Bijelo Dugme and Belgrade folk star Aca Lukas. On December 31 rock bands Bajaga i Instruktori and Plavi Orkestar will be warming up the audiences ahead of the fireworks.

The display is expected to be even more spectacular than previous years. “Last year it lasted for around seven minutes, and this year it will be probably five or six times bigger” Mali said ahead of the celebrations.

Separate New Year’s Eve events will also be held in the municipality of Zemun. So if you live on the other side of the Sava river then head to Zemun’s Veliki Trg (Big Square) and enjoy the music of Serbian rock band Yu Grupa, as well as performances by several folk artists. The programme of acts kicks off on December 31st at 9pm and also includes a fireworks display that will start at midnight.

But don’t worry: you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve to get into the festive spirit. Belgrade is already decorated with hundreds of lights and decorations ahead of the holidays, making a simple stroll around the city a real wintery delight.

If you need to do some Christmas shopping, then head to the Belgrade Winter Market in Trg Republike (Republic Square) to browse through a wide range of traditional Serbian gifts. Here, in a series of cosy wooden huts, you will find all kinds of presents for family and friends including halva, clothing, jewellery, and decorated rakija glasses. If you need a break from shopping and want to warm up, then just stop for a glass of delicious mulled wine.

Ring in 2017 at best clubs in Belgrade

Venue: Preduzece

Address: Cetinjska 15

Price: Between €5 and €12

For fans of hardcoreelectronic music, Preduzece – located in the clubbing hotbed of Cetinjska Street – is a great option. If you are looking for a party that you don’t have to leave, this is it. Since there are no licensing restrictions for December 31 and January 1 this party will literally go for 48 hours strong, starting at 3pm on New Year’s Eve. The list of performers includes some of the best underground DJs in Belgrade. The ticket price of between €5 and €12 covers entrance only, you’ll pay extra for food and drinks.

Venue: Dragstor Play

Address: Usce bb

Price: €20

Contact: +381 63 34 34 33

If you’re looking to get that typical riverside splav experience, Dragstor Play is among the best options. The club is usually closed during the winter, but this year it has decided to open its doors for a special New Year’s Eve party. You know what you’ll get when it comes to the music: commercial house courtesy of resident artists The Beatshakers and DJ Playa. For a high-end experience that will draw in local celebrities, this is the place to go. The basic ticket to get in costs €20, but you can also get a table (with bottle service) for a group of five people starting at around €250.

Venue: Stefan Braun

Address: Nemanjina 4

Price: €50 and €60

Contact: +381 63 34 34 33

If you want to experience the absolute excess of Belgrade’s nightlife legends, then Stefan Braun’s is the place to go. The atmosphere is especially crazy on New Year’s Eve. Spinning for the party will be one of Belgrade’s most popular DJs, Filip Matic. Tickets for the event cost €50 for women and €60 for men. The price includes unlimited beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. If you want to get a booth for your crew, it will cost around €300 for five people.

Venue: Semafor Party Venue

Address: Corner Sarajevka/Milosa Pocerca

Price: €15

Contact: +381 60 65 07 660

The Semafor (Traffic Light) party has been one of the staples of Belgrade’s New Year’s Eve for many years. The concept is simple: you wear a red light if you’re taken, yellow if you’re on the fence and green if you’re single and ready to mingle. This event, naturally, draws mainly younger people under the age of 30. It’s an enormous party. Expect close to 2,000 people to be in attendance at the club’s six different stages, which play all types of music from electronic to rock and even Serbian folk music and karaoke sessions. The €15 ticket gets you in the door and some free drinks, but only if you’re drinking the low-budget stuff (beer, wine, rakija, soda, etc.).

Venue: Blaywatch

Address: Brodarska

Price: €26

Contact: +381 62 26 22 12

Another option for party-goers looking to spend New Year’s Eve at one of Belgrade’s exclusive splavs is Blaywatch. The club is known for having some of the best riverside parties in the city. Music will be provided by the Katarina & Galliano Band, who will perform Serbian folk music and other domestic pop hits. DJ Swen from The Netherlands and local DJ Nikola will be spinning techno and house music. The €26 ticket gets you inside and access to an open bar for the duration of the night.

Venue: Brankow

Address: Crnogorska 12

Price: €20

Contact: +381 62 26 22 12

Brankow is without a doubt one of the hippest and most popular clubs in the city centre, making it among the most popular places to see in the New Year. The €20 ticket gets you one free drink and snacks all night. If you want a booth or more drinks, you’re going to have to shell out more money. As usual in Brankow the resident DJs will be spinning house music. If you like high-end but intimate clubbing and have the budget to go crazy on great cocktails all night, Brankow is the place to go.

Venue: Tilt

Address: Bulevar Vojvode Bojovica 30

Price: €15

Contact: +381 62 78 01 00

Even though popular splav Freestyler is not open during the winter season, Tilt is pretty much the mainland version. It’s located in the “Beton Hala” part of downtown Belgrade, where you’ll find some of the most exclusive clubs and bars in the city. It’s also about as close as you can get to the river without actually being on a splav. Local DJs Mirko and Meex will spinning electronic music (mostly commercial house) all night. The €15 ticket is just an entrance fee, with no drinks or food included in the price.

Venue: 20/44

Address: Brodska bb

Price: €10

If you want an intimate atmosphere with great music but a cheap night, then 20/44 is a good choice. Known as one of the best clubs in Belgrade for cutting-edge electro, 20/44 will definitely be packed on New Year’s Eve. It only costs €10 to get in, but that doesn’t include any drinks or food. Still, it’s a pretty good deal if you’re not looking to spend a lot on one party and would rather wander about the city and check out a few places.

Venue: Drugstore

Address: Bulevar Despota Stefana 115

Price: €10

Contact: +381 63 82 87 928

Drugstore is another cool but cheap option for New Year’s Eve. The entrance fee is also just €10, making it a perfect place to finish the night, or hang out in the early hours of the morning for those who want to party-hop. Drugstore has received acclaim from European and international publications as the premier spot to listen to underground electronic music in Belgrade. The club is enormous and will open all sections for New Year’s Eve. DJs include guests from Italy and Germany as well as a long list of locals.

Venue: Mikser House

Address: Karadjordjeva 46

Price: €15

Contact: +381 62 96 67 696

Mikser House is really going all out this year with a three-day party program for New Year’s Eve. The line-up is stacked with both live bands and DJs. If you want to go you should probably score tickets (€15) right now, because the turnout is expected to be huge. There’s no drinks or food included in that price, but you can be sure that it’s going to be a fun-filled three nights with a huge variety of acts.

Venue: Magacin Depo

Address: Travnicka 3

Price: €10

This is the must-attend party of the night for anyone who loves techno. The lineup includes DJs coming from all over Europe and Asia, as well as some of the best local techno DJs. Tickets are a cheap €10 but that’s just for entrance, food and drinks cost extra once you’re inside. This will probably be the best rave of the night so if techno is your passion, Magacin Depo should be at the absolute top of your list.

Venue: Red Shoes Cafe

Address: Ada Ciganlija

Price: €19

Contact: +381 62 26 22 12

Another club with a long history of slamming New Year’s Eve parties is Red Shoes. This year will be its twelfth straight year celebrating on December 31. If you’re looking for a party that isn’t necessarily in the city centre, this is a great option. Tijana and Martin and the Red Shoes Band will be playing a steady stream of pop hits. In between their sets, there will be DJs spinning tunes to keep the music flowing. The €19 entrance includes some free drinks and food, but there is a limit. If you’re into Serbian music and want to get out of downtown Belgrade for the night, this is a good option.

Venue: Gaucosi

Address: Dunavska 17a

Price: €35

Contact: +381 62 26 22 12

If you want a similar atmosphere to Red Shoes but don’t want to leave downtown Belgrade, then there’s always Gaucosi, located right below the Belgrade fortress Kalemegdan. Fans of live Serbian pop and folk music gather here every weekend to dance and party until the early morning, and you can expect the same on New Year’s Eve.  The crowd at Gaucosi tends to be older and upscale, which is why the prices are bit higher.  The €35 entrance free doesn’t get you any drinks or food.

Venue: Peron

Address: Brace Krsmanovic 12

Price: €10

Contact: +381 62 23 00 17

Not really into the glitz and glamour and would rather go to a more casual party? Peron is a good option. Some of the best Belgrade DJs who specialize in spinning rock and pop music from all eras will be in attendance, with Marko Gangbanger at the helm. Peron and this party really typify what people have come to expect from nightlife in the trendy Savamala neighbourhood. Rumours have been swirling that the club is about to close, so it might be a good time to give it one last visit for New Year’s Eve. No drinks or food are included in the €10 entrance fee.

Venue: River

Address: Brodska bb

Price: €20

Contact: +381 62 26 22 12

This will probably be one of the best “turbo folk” parties of the night, if that’s your kind of thing. If you’ve ever been to River, another hugely popular splav, then you know what to expect: strict dress code, Serbian folk music and high prices. The €20 entrance fee doesn’t include any food or drinks, but if you love Serbian folk music or you want to see what a “turbo folk” party looks like then River is the right place for you.

(Balkan Insight, 30.12.2016)

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