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Review 07 Dec 12

No Reason to Hit Jovanka's

Jovanka Bez Razloga sits in a prime location, has friendly staff and the drinks aren't pricey – but that's about it.

David Galic
BIRN
Belgrade

With its prime location in the heart of the famed bohemian quarter of Skadarlija, it seems that this is all that Jovanka Bez Razloga needs to secure a regular supply of patrons.

That's because nothing much else sets this club apart from many others just like it in Belgrade.

Location is the one essential needed for opening up a successful venue in Belgrade, and it seems to be not so much the actual part of the city that is important, but proximity to other clubs. Belgraders like to barhop and if your locale is located near other busy locales, you are bound to get business.

Luckily, Jovanka Bez Razloga is in the busiest street in Belgrade as far as nightlife goes. The club’s name translates as “Jovanka for no reason”. One could wager that this stems from people asking the club owners why they gave their bar a traditional Serbian female’s name – for no reason.

Other than the great location and the somewhat intriguing name, Jovanka Bez Razloga is run-of-the-mill. It would be hard to say anything bad about the bar – the drink prices are respectable, the service is polite and prompt, the crowd is fun-loving – but nothing stands out.

Just as was the case in pretty much every bar, small and big in the vicinity, Jovanka Bez Razloga is crowded on a Friday night. The bar is quite large, but is separated into three smaller areas, which can make it seem claustrophobic and maze-like at times.

Perhaps tearing down the walls and making one large area might make the bar more comfortable, but that’s probably not an option for the owners at this point. There is one bigger room at the entrance with a bar, then a small corridor - in which people stand around and drink on busy nights, though it’s meant to be a transitional area – and then there are two other separate sections with seating and tables.

The club makes an effort to make this ambience less detached by providing a large window-like opening in between the rooms so that patrons can see what’s going on in other areas, but it does not really make Jovanka feel more spacious.

As mentioned, the drink prices are attractive and you won’t have to break the bank to spend the night having drinks here. The musical program is typical for a club of this nature in Belgrade – eclectic but lacking an interesting direction, personality or focus. Sometimes acoustic groups play, sometimes jazz trios, and on most weekends DJs play standard hits from the last several decades that you have heard far too many times in your life.

The crowd is mostly a bit older, late 20s to early 30s, and the atmosphere is pleasant and friendly. Jovanka also seems popular among tourists as well, especially those who are more interested in relaxing and talking over drinks instead of dancing in a very loud nightclub.

The décor stays with this theme of offering nothing new or interesting – walls painted in various pastel shades, chequered black-and-white floors in some areas and the obligatory black-and-white photos of rock and pop legends and other ho-hum wall decorations that don’t really give the bar much personality.

The upside is that in this area of the city they can never have enough bars or cafes, because all of them are constantly full at weekends, no matter how standard and safe they are.

There is nothing bad about Jovanka Bez Razloga per se. The prices are great, the location is top, and the people are fantastic – but in the end, there is nothing special about it either.

Address: Skadarska 9, Belgrade

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