I've originally written this post four years ago, but beer scene in Croatia changed so much in just last two years, that I had to re-write it completely. OK, to be completely honest, after a guy called my post a complete BS, I've realized it's time to update it.
Craft beer revolution has finally happened in Croatia. Home-brewers are growing in number every day and so do craft beer festivals, microbreweries, and pubs with a decent amount of craft beer labels.
Croatians love their beer. The country is regularly featured in a top 20 beer-drinking countries per capita. Craft beer and microbreweries, with exception of few places in Zagreb, almost didn’t exist prior to 2014. However, now things are more serious in Croatia. And you have an ample opportunities to enjoy good brews in Croatia.
We've also published a post about craft beer in Croatia, where we guide you through the best pubs in all major Croatian destinations. We start this series with best pubs in Zagreb (and its alentours).
My list of best places for beer in Zagreb
1 | Tolkien’s House
One of the oldest pubs in Zagreb, Tolkien’s House has been serving craft beers since 1996. Or from the time when everybody was just happy with local lagers. O, it’s not an understatement to say that Tolkien’s taught people of Zagreb what a real beer should taste like. Today, the pub is located in Opatovina Street, a street that itself is becoming Zagreb’s beer mecca.
It’s housed in the last building of the street, just before entering the park of the same name. Interior is small and cozy with, well you guess, Lord of the rings, and other medieval memorabilia. The pub also has a small outdoor terrace. The staff here is super knowledgeable, and take their time to explain, educate, and suggest a beer to taste. Great selection of international classics, and Croatian craft beers. Must-visit for all beer-aficionados.
Contacts | a: Opatovina 49, Zagreb | t: +385 1 4852 050 | Facebook
2 | Craft Room
Fairly new beer bar, Craft Room is also located in Opatovina Street, just a couple of houses before Tolkien’s House. Interior is a bit funky with lots of green, and some hunter’s lodge décor, but the selection of beer is beyond great with over 12 beers on tap, and almost 100 bottled labels (although some labels on a list aren’t always available). You’ll find here some Croatian craft beers that you can’t taste anywhere else. They host many presentations of the new Croatian craft beers. Craft room also offers some food, like pulled pork sandwich, onion rings, steaks, and alike.
Contacts | a: Opatovina 35, Zagreb | t: +385 91 232 3289 | Facebook
3 | Ro&Do
A small, smoky bar in Opatovina Street, Ro&Do is special for two things: its owner who is a soul of this bar, and the fact that Ro&Do doesn’t serve any of Croatian macro brews (no place for big guys here!). Here you’ll find a great selection of Croatian craft beers, and good but not great choice of imported beers.
Contacts | a: Opatovina 29, Zagreb | t: +385 1 4814 192 | Facebook
4 | All In
Although in downtown, half-way between the main square and central train station, All In is a bit off the standard bar routes in Zagreb’s center. However, this this small street-side bar has a good choice of Croatian craft beers, both bottled and on tap, good atmosphere, and friendly staff. All In has lots of regular patrons, and the place feels very local. They also rotate beers on guest tap (great way to promote, and get familiar with some new local labels).
Contacts | a: Draskoviceva 31, Zagreb | t: +385 91 786 3377 | Facebook
5 | Hop In
This is a beer-aficionado’s bar for beer-aficionados. Located in a quiet back street, just across Zagreb’s central bus station, Hop In has perhaps the best choice of craft beers among all Zagreb pubs, local and international, bottled and draft. You’ll find here as many as 10 beers on tap. The only down side of this bar it’s a lack of the outdoor terrace. Smoking is allowed inside.
Contacts | a: Dubravkin trg 3, Zagreb | t: +385 95 889 1048 | Facebook
6 | Old Pharmacy Pub
Old Pharmacy Pub, although in downtown, is a bit off the main sights, in a Hebrang Street, busy with traffic. However, once you enter it, you’ll find a beautifully decorated interior, that feels like a classic old pub with leather furniture, dark wood everywhere, and a couple of TVs on the walls.
Decent choice of beer, with four to five draft beer, but also a good choice of whiskey, and scotches. Live music at nighttime.
Contacts | a: Andrije Hebranga 11, Zagreb | t: +385 91 245 6183 | Facebook
7 | Harat's Pub Potepuh
A part of Harat’s international chain of Irish pubs, Harat’s Pub Potepuh opened in spring 2016. It’s located at the beginning of Opatovina Street, at Petrica Kerempuh Square. Until early afternoon, it’s a favorite coffee place for locals shopping at the Dolac market, late afternoon, evenings and nights are reserved for good beer, great atmosphere and live music. Harat’s also have a good selection of Irish whiskeys, scotches, and bourbons.
Contacts | a: Kaptol 4, Zagreb | t: +385 1 4844 560 | Facebook
8 | Medvedgrad
Medvedgrad in Ilica Street opened in 2009. However, the same company established the first Croatian micro-brewery back in 1994, producing their own beer for twenty years. The one that I have visited in Ilica Street is their largest and newest location.
From outside the place doesn't look too attractive, however inside is another story. The pub is huge, but the atmosphere is convivial and the bonus is a large outdoor terrace with great natural shadow. Service is a bit slow, but it didn’t bother me much.
The place offers hearty pub-style food: sausages, grilled meat, potatoes, beans, goulash, and sauerkraut. The prices of the food are rather cheap compared with other restaurants in Zagreb. They also have a buffet style salad bar (all you can eat salad bar). Medvedgrad produces five types of beer, all natural, without preservatives, made respecting traditional brewing methods. I tasted two of them: ale Zlatni medvjed (Golden bear) and porter Crna Kraljica (Black Queen). Both were very good and light (3,8% and 4% of alcohol). We ate Vienna schnitzel with potatoes, and beans. Portions are large. The food was good, although a bit on the salty side. However it’s good value for money.
Tip: For years this brewery was located at the corner of Savska and Vukovarska Street. However, the new brewery is now there, and many people tend to confuse the two. Don’t make this mistake as the one that is now at the original location of Medvedgrad is not nearly that good.
Contacts | a: Ilica 49, Zagreb | t: +385 1 4846 922 | Website
9 | Mali medo
Run by the same owners as Medvedgrad, Mali medo offers the same choice of beers: five types of their home-brewed beer. However, Mali Medo, located in the most vibrant Zagreb Street, is smaller and caters more to the younger crowd. The pub seems always busy. Interior is nice with polished wood and vaulted ceilings. This time, I tasted their wheat beer Dva Klasa. Good beer with nice, full flavor. It accompanied perfectly our meal: home-made sausages and cheese rolls.
Contacts | a: Tkalciceva 36, Zagreb | t: +385 1 4929 613 | Website
10 | The Garden Brewery
A visit to Zadar over 10 years ago brought Nick Colgan, a music producer from Birmingham, to Croatia. After he saw an abandoned terrace near Zadar city walls, he decided to open an open-air club. Garden Club was born. It later evolved into the Garden Festival in Petrcane, and then moved to the island of Murter, where it again evolved into The Garden Resort. The resort today houses many electronic music festivals, and parties. Ha! But there is more to Garden! These guys just decided to extend their activities into beer-making. The Garden Brewery opened in an industrial part of Zagreb in June, 2016.
The Brewery offers a good combination of clubbing, beer tasting, street food, and sure, a brewery tour.
Contacts | a: Slavonska avenija 22f, Zagreb | t: +385 1 5634 100 | Facebook
11 | Bonus place: Scout Club Irish Pub
Scout Club Irish Pub is located in a small, charming town of Samobor, at the outskirts of Zagreb. The pub opened almost 20 years ago. This is a huge pub, with different venues and music styles, catering also to sport aficionados with big TV screens and sport programs. It has impressive selection of 270 bottled beers from around the world. Seriously, I didn’t count them. I am not a moron. The waiter told me so. They also have 4 beers on tap.
Contacts | a: Josipa Kompare 5, Samobor | t: +385 1 3360 639 | Facebook
Best Zagreb Pubs: Location on Map
What's your favorite beer place anywhere in the world? Let us know in the comments below.