Reviews 31 Oct 11

Damage Limitation

One of Dorcol’s best nightclubs has had a makeover and a change of management,
stepping out this week for the first time under a new moniker as Steta.

David Galic
Belgrade Insight
Belgrade

A play on words that gets lost in translation - much like the Zemun bar Majcina that we wrote about recently - “Steta” means “damage” in Serbian. So, when you say that you are going to Steta, it’s a phrase that suggests you’re going to have a seriously good time and maybe even wreak a little havoc.

Although the nightclub is just now opening under new management, Belgraders are already familiar with the locale. As “Skandal”, it was a very popular club for years in the heart of the Dorcol community.

Skandal was the kind of place where people flocked every weekend to hear some of the best cover bands that the city has to offer. It was usually an older crowd, mostly people who had no real interest in any musical trends or staying on the cutting edge but who just wanted to go out and hear familiar old pop songs and have a good time with friends.

From the first indications, Steta will probably cater to a more alternative, musically aware crowd. The word on the streets is that Steta will be the winter haven for the people who hang out on the Povetarac splav in summer. Povetarac is one of the most popular summertime hangouts on the river for people into foreign rock and alternative music, considering that splavs that do not play Serbian pop music or commercial dance music are few and far between.

The club is one of the best in Dorcol a residential area of downtown Belgrade where small bars usually don’t stay open that late or offer live music. It is spacious for one thing, which gives it the ability to be both a dance club as well as a place where live bands can play.

The stage is small, so don’t expect to see big shows here with very active, aggressive musicians on stage, but it is ideal for a DJ, which is what you should expect to see more of at Steta.

On the Thursday night I was there several local DJs were spinning hip-hop and r’n’b, and the club was virtually empty until midnight, when people slowly started coming in. In fact we got there before the DJs themselves, so bank on turning up late at night and staying until early the next morning.

As you enter, the stage is directly facing the front and there is a large bar taking up most of the right side wall. A common problem in Belgrade basement clubs is too many structures holding up the ceiling and at the same time obstructing the view and walkways. Steta is a relief in this regard. It only has one such large fixture in the middle of the club, making navigation simple.

The club is unusually decorated, giving off a nice rustic feel that is not typical of Belgrade nightspots. There are pretty floral prints all over the place and the general vibe and colours of the club are autumnal, with lots of wooden details and furniture. I was especially keen on the mirror that had a large frame made of twisted and bent tree branches. I also enjoyed the small, original-looking paintings of a cheery elderly man and woman denoting the bathrooms.

Steta has the potential to become one of the hottest spots in Belgrade over autumn and winter, especially for the people who frequented summer clubs like Povetarac and 20/44 and who are looking for a similar place to hang out during winter. It has yet to be seen what the programme will be like and whether it will be able to attract the kind of Belgraders it wishes to. But there is no denying that from its location to image and space, Steta has a lot going for it.

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