Serbia is a traditional country and quite conservative when it comes to LGBTQ+. Basically, it has a ‘don’t ask – don’t tell’ mentality. However, being a capital has its perks, as the attitude in Belgrade is more relaxed and safer than the rest of the country. It is not as tolerant as the Western countries but also not totally unsafe.Things are definitely improving. Belgrade has been chosen to host the EuroPride in September 2022, which will be a historic moment since few prides were banned and the first turned into chaos and riots followed by questionable comments from some members of the government. The recent pride was a successful one, though. I’m gonna write about some cool queer places and happenings. Before I start writing about the bars and parties, I have to mention the Pride Info Center. It is close to the city center and you can find there all information related to LGBTQ+. Moreover, there are different happenings, presentations, interesting debates and exhibitions.
Poslednja Šansa at Dim
The whole Cetinjska 15 Street area (a complex of a converted beer factory with lots of bars) has ‘gay friendly’ bars. Dim is one of them. It’s my favourite bar in Belgrade, because it is a mix of beautiful people, fancy cocktails and a diverse program, not to mention the fine taste interior. Poslednja šansa (engl. last chance), usually taking place on Sunday evenings, is a interactive game night full of dance and laughter, hosted by Dekadenca and Markiza de Sada, Belgrade’s best cabaret drag performers, if you ask me.
Drag Shows at KC Grad
KC stands for cultural center. It is one of the most open minded places in Belgrade and exists over 10 years. They host a lot of LGBTQ+ events, especially drag parties which are really interesting and fun since Belgrade got a lot of good looking and creative performers.
Thank U, Next at Club Drugstore and Pop Zone Parties at Zappa Barka
The Thank you, Next Party is a very energetic party serial, organized by Jovijah, the House of Plastic with its fabulous drag queens Alexis Vandercunt, Loakiin and Zoi and Anja the Batman. In May, they will celebrate their 3rd birthday and it’s gonna be a huge and fabulous celebration with drag queens, beautiful people and a nice energy. For those, who don’t know it, Drugstore was a meat dry house before it became an underground club.
The Pop Zone Parties are new and take place at Zappa Barka, which is a float on the Sava river. If you’ve never partied on a float before, you’ll have the chance at the Pop Zone! It’s a really nice experience, especially during hot summer nights.
That name (engl. shack) is a reference to the ideal work environment and the relaxed atmosphere. And indeed, Šupa is that kind of hang-out space which makes you feel at home. Located right next to the busy Zeleni Venac Market and the old school erotic shops, this place nevertheless feels like a secret discovery. It’s covered with green plants, books and vintage details. Šupa’s menu has a wide variety: from cocktails and rakia to vegan coffee and hot chocolate options. The crowd at Kafe Šupa is a wonderfully diverse mix of all persuasions, which makes it an open-minded place. They also do parties during weekends.
Guvernanta Drinks and Decadence
Guvernanta is located in the same neighbourhood as Kafe Šupa and KC Grad. It is the youngest bar in the scene. Guvernanta stole my heart with its ‘Pop Up Kafana Nights’ on Wednesdays with singer Branka, who knows every guest by name and makes the best atmosphere. Their program is diverse. On some Sundays, for example, you can visit the Thrift Whore event and buy some exclusive second hand/ vintage pieces. Back in the days, they used to organize also Ru Paul’s Drag Race Viewing parties hosted by cool drag queens. Shibari workshops, tarot reading nights and other interesting shit can be found there, too.
They call Meduza a ‘gay friendly’ bar. It’s located in a calm street of Dorćol, close to the Kalemegdan Fortress and in the same street as the Bajrakli Mosque. The warm lighting and intimate atmosphere make it an ideal destination on chilly days and nights. Meduza is that kind of place, where one can sit for hours all by oneself. Known for its open and very relaxed vibe, this place offers a unique mixture of cultural vibrance and entertainment on two floors. That means, that they host exhibitions, support the LGBTQ+ community and organize interesting happenings from time to time. Try one of their interesting Gin combinations.
Merlinka Film Festival
Founded in 2009, Merlinka is held annually (usually in December) at the cultural center Dom omladine Belgrade. The LGBTQ+ film festival was named after Vjeran Miladinović Merlinka (1958 – 2003), the first openly transgender person in former Yugoslavia. Merlinka was a popular prostitute at Gavrila Principa Street. She was known as a good person and people liked her. Unfortunately, Vjeran Miladinović was killed in 2003. Ten years after her death, a Merlinka street sign appeared at the Gavrila Principa Street, where she used to work.