Review 05 Feb 13

Perka: Comfy Option in Belgrade’s Bohemia

It’s far from spectacular - but this café bar off Skadarlija plays to its strengths as a good-value early evening watering hole.

Davida Galic

Perka is a small and comfy café that doesn’t really have much to offer other than being a great place to start off the night before heading elsewhere.

The best thing about the bar is its location. Perka is on a small street right off the Skadarlija bohemian quarter, which makes it a great place to get drinks early when club-hopping on the weekends. The people who work at Perka understand this potential, which is why they often have offers, such as serving rakija shots for 100 dinars [€0.89] each from 9pm to 11pm on weekends.

So, if you are looking for somewhere to get a bunch of cheap drinks before heading out to a more expensive club, Perka is definitely an option. The bar itself is quite small. The main area of about 20 square feet has enough room for a bar, a couple of tables and stools and a small, improvised DJ booth. The bathrooms are in back of the bar on the right. On the left side of the bar a staircase leads to the balcony area. This is a solution that a lot of smaller bars in Belgrade turn to – they maximize space by taking advantage of their high ceilings and setting up a balcony area above the ground floor.

Up on the balcony there are a couple of larger tables where about 20 to 30 guests can sit comfortably, but like most of these upper-levels in small bars it gets smoky and uncomfortable quite quickly when the bar is full.

The décor of the bar is quaint and unpretentious. The pictures on the wall range from ones that look like they might have come from your grandmother’s collection to pictures of classic circus folk and tattooed women of the early 20th century. The décor pretty much sums up the entire feel of the bar. Perka is a place that is unspectacular, but it works, simply because it’s clear that the bar has no intentions of trying to appear spectacular.

Even the failures of the bar turn out to be endearing sometimes. For example, when I visited the DJ was atrocious. He was trying to mix songs that had no business being mixed, his transitions between songs were terrible and his choice of genres managed to be both erratic and lowbrow at the same time, but for some reason it was so bad that it actually became good in the end.

Of course, we left Perka once it got overcrowded and headed to a large club as midnight neared, but as far as my friends and I were concerned, Perka had served its purpose fabulously. We got cheap drinks in a central area of the city, had a chance to sit down comfortably and plan the rest of the night and we felt like we belonged.

In the end, Perka does not have many positives as a bar when compared to other, more exclusive bars in this area of the city, but it’s a watering hole that plays to its strengths perfectly and plays its role within the scheme of Belgrade’s nightlife impeccably. If you are looking for a small bar that serves cheap drinks in the heart of Belgrade, you can do a lot worse than going to Perka.


 Address: Zetska 1

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