The Top 10 Bars in Istria

Istria – the
heart-shaped, Italian-esque peninsula on Croatia’s western coast – has become known as the country’s best kept secret. While its nightlife may not be as rampant as some of its neighboring cities, its incredible wine bars, world-class nightclubs and gorgeous views are must-sees. Here are the top 10 Istrian bars to check out.

Byblos is a world-class nightclub venue.
Byblos is a world-class nightclub venue with indoor and outdoor areas. | ©JWF Driesens, Flickr


While bars and clubs here may not be as widespread as in other major Croatian cities, places like Byblos makes nightlife in Istria worth the visit. Located at the tourist resort Zelena Laguna in Poreč, Byblos hosts a wide variety of concerts and party music to dance to in their indoor and outdoor areas, and is one of the most popular nightclubs and bars around. Some well-known artists who have performed at this world-class venue in the past include Afrojack, Fatboy Slim, Martin Solveig and Paul Oakenfold.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: 11pm – 6am Mon-Sat; closed Sun

Watch out for: performances by world-renowned artists

Address & telephone number: Zelena Iaguna 1, Poreč, Croatia; +385 52 635 281


Artsy and eclectic

Just a little over a mile south of the Veruda center, Cabahia is an artsy, dimly lit hideaway with a cozy and eclectic interior. Filled with vintage décor, this spot has a boasts a bit of South American flair and a beautiful garden terrace perfect for mingling out back. Known to host both concerts and shows in its space, Cabahia tends to get packed to the brim with locals and tourists on the weekends. Just don’t forget to stop at an ATM on your way – this place’s cash only.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: 8am – 12am Mon-Sat; 10 am – 12am Sun

Watch out for: a broad range of beers on tap

Address & telephone number: Širolina 4 Veruda, Pula, Croatia; +385 98 937 2595


Relaxing and low-key

If Cabahia gets too loud and packed, you can always head across the street to its neighboring bar, Bass. A laid-back spot for those looking to get away from the crowd a bit, Bass offers a slew of beers, decently priced cocktails, sangria, and many types of Croatia’s most popular spirit, rakija. Relax with friends and enjoy your drinks on the covered outdoor terrace.

Price: Low

Opening hours: 8am – 12am Mon-Thur; 8am – 1am Fri-Sat; 10am – 12am Sun

Watch out for: DJs spinning funk rock on Fridays

Address & telephone number: Širolina 3, Pula, Croatia; +385 99 831 9051

Enjoy specialty cocktails at Pietas Julias.
Enjoy specialty cocktails and late-night hours at Pietas Julias. | ©TravelAficionado/Flickr

Pietas Julias

For the late-nighters

Perfect for the night owls and sundowners, Pietas Julia is a chic and trendy bar open until 4 a.m. on weekends. Sitting right on the harbor, this lounge and disco bar has a lengthy list of both classic and specialty cocktails like the Freddy Kruger and the Zombie, and an extensive menu of pizzas, pastas and paninis when it’s time to soak up the booze. Make sure to check out their Facebook page for upcoming events, shows and parties.

Price: Low to Mid-range

Opening hours: 8am – 12am Mon-Thurs, Sun; 8am – 4am Fri-Sat

Watch out for: late-night weekend hours

Address & telephone number: Riva 20, Pula, Croatia; +385 91 181 1855

Movie Bar

Beachside views

Best known for its stunning locale, which overlooks the St. Andrea beach in Rabac, Movie Bar provides guests with a relaxing atmosphere, day and night. On sunny afternoons, it’s the perfect place to lay back with friends and enjoy a fresh smoothie or coffee beachside, but at night, expect a more energetic, nightclub vibe with live music and deejays.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: 9am – 1am Mon-Sun

Watch out for: a gorgeous beach view

Address & telephone number: Ulica Maršala Tita, Rabac, Istarska, Croatia; +385 99 851 5164

Valentino bar is classy and chic with its seaside views.
Valentino bar is classy and chic with its seaside views. | ©Marcus Shansson/Flickr


Classy and contemporary

If you’re looking to see and be seen, Valentino is the place for you. A high-class cocktail and champagne bar, it sits directly on the water and is arguably one of the most romantic bars on the Adriatic coast with its underwater lighting and perfect views of the sunset. The bar, which also overlooks the water, is set on a small, rocky area, which has been cleverly transformed into a modern, chic bar with cushions on the rocks for seating.

Price: High

Opening hours: 4pm – 12am daily

Watch out for: a breathtaking view of the sunset

Address & telephone number: Santa Croce 28, Rovinj, Croatia; +385 52 830 683

Piassa Granda is right off the main square in Rovinj.
Piassa Granda is right off the main square in Rovinj. | ©Riessdo/Flickr

Piassa Granda

Intimate and romantic

A stylish little wine bar with an intimate and romantic setting – Piassa Granda sits in Veli trg, which was Rovinj’s main square while it was an island. Wooden beams and red walls lined with shelves of 150 different wines create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about wines, and the bar offers a small menu with local cheeses, bruschetta and crostini, and other appetizers.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: summer 10am – 1am daily; winter 10am – 11pm daily

Watch out for: 130 Istrian wines, which can be sampled on site

Address & telephone number: Veli trg 1, Rovinj, Croatia; +385 52 811 374

Enjoy drinks atop Torre Rotonda.
Enjoy drinks atop Torre Rotonda. | ©WaldoPepper/Flickr

Torre Rotonda

Best view of the city

A café and cocktail bar with a medieval vibe, Torre Rotonda is situated on the southern part of Poreč’s peninsula right next to the public square. The tower, which was built in 1474 under the Venetian government, was once used as a fort to defend the town from the Turkish government. Today, it has been transformed into one of the most attractive bars in the area, with seating atop the tower itself, overlooking the city and sea below.

Price: Mid-range

Opening hours: 8am – 2am daily

Watch out for: a gorgeous view atop a historical tower overlooking the city

Address & telephone number: Narodni trg 3a, Poreč, Croatia; +385 98 255 731

Scandal Express

A dive bar with personality

Scandal Express is a tiny and smoky dive bar where the locals are known to hang out. This Istrian drinking spot may be small, but what it lacks for in size, it makes up for in character. Its old train-carriage feel attracts a bohemian and artsy crowd, and the place often gets packed quickly, causing regulars to spill out onto the narrow street.

Price: Low

Opening hours: 7am – 12am Mon-Fri, 7am – 2pm & 6pm – 12 am Sat & Sun

Watch out for: pašareta, a local Istrian soda

Address & telephone number: Ciscuttijeva 15, Pula, Croatia; + 385 52 212 106

Enjoy wine tasting at Bacchus Vinoteka.
Enjoy wine tasting at Bacchus Vinoteka. | ©W1ld0n3/Flickr

Bacchus Vinoteka

Enjoy the best wines

Because Wine Enthusiast rated Istria as one of the top 10 best wine travel destinations for 2015, a trip here would not be complete without a pit stop at Bacchus Vinoteka, a sweet little wine shop down a side street. Customers can try local wines on tap from 9KN per glass, while they snack on some traditional Istrian plates. A treasure for wine-lovers, Bacchus Vinoteka is a cozy spot whether you’re with friends or traveling solo.

Price: Mid-range

Watch out for: Istrian wines

Address & telephone number: Eufrazijeva 10, Poreč, Croatia

By Julianna Roche