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Review 07 May 13

A Jazz Secret in the Heart of the City

Tucked away in a quiet residential area right beside Brankov Bridge, Jazz Basta is a fantastic little hideout for music fans and café-lovers alike.

David Galic

Jazz Basta in Belgrade.

The location of the café is quite fantastic. When heading down the steps from the higher ground of Belgrade city centre around Kosancicev Venac and the popular Savamala neighbourhood located under Brankov Bridge, you will find this quaint café right off the steps on your right-hand side. If the weather isn’t nice and it’s not the weekend, you probably won’t even notice it – passing by thinking that it is just a nicely-lit entrance to an apartment building. But actually, that’s what it is.

Entering the gate, there are light bulbs hanging about the pathway inviting you into the ‘Jazz Garden’. When the weather is warm and dry, the outside area in the courtyard of this old residential building will host live jazz and blues performers, usually from Thursday to Sunday.

‘Tucked away’ is perhaps the best description of the café, as it is a little courtyard that looks more Parisian than Balkan in nature. Most of the chairs and tables in the garden are wooden painted white, while the same type of bright hanging light bulbs that line the entrance provide the lighting in the garden as well.

The inside is just as inviting, with a first-floor café that was very obviously once someone’s apartment. Taking over an old, perhaps abandoned, apartment and turning it into a café or club is a very popular thing in Belgrade, but Jazz Basta might be the best example of this I have seen. It’s uncanny how much it looks like a chic café, while at the same time giving off a vibe as if someone still lives there. The walls are old and remain unpainted, with cracks in the old paint everywhere, but they are adorned with aged paintings in gaudy antique-looking frames and large chalkboards on every wall advertising the drinks menu and sometimes even the musical event calendar.

Most of the café is filled out with tables of smaller and larger proportions and the bar is located to the far right of the room once you enter. The décor is delicate and clever, with old furniture and decorations that might not have cost a lot, but were picked perfectly for the spot. Some details of the décor that are worth highlighting are the vintage bike sitting on a high ledge atop the main wall of the bar and the drawers that look like they were taken out of an old library, which are placed under an elevated seating section next to the door.

The prices cater to an older and more sophisticated crowd, with a small bottle of beer costing between two and three euros. The musical guests vary and don’t stick too strictly to the genre, unlike most jazz clubs in Belgrade. Sometimes it might be a traditional small jazz band, but other times it could be a trio of acoustic guitars and a violinist.

All in all, Jazz Basta comes as a highly recommended place to spend summer evenings enjoying good music in a location that boasts the best of both worlds – very central, but also nicely hidden away from the masses.

Jazz Basta

Address: Male Stepenice 1A

Phone: + 381 62 8711475

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