Explore five of the city’s most iconic and alternative spots, sampled from our new city guide Indie Guides Ljubljana.
Zoo Club: An eclectic bar with concerts
This bar and small concert venue, located just a ten-minute walk from the old city center, is a great place to visit and also has an outside seating area. Offering a wide range of music for all tastes, the club is located on the grounds of former tobacco factory Tobacna.
ZOO is helping to transform a formerly neglected 19th century industrial area into a buzzing creative district, functioning as a café by day and a club by night. Visitors may find themselves listening to local underground jazz bands on Monday or small world music concerts on Wednesday evenings; eating delicious brunch during the week or dancing their socks off to the vibes of drum and bass, house, techno, dubstep, trance, grime, trap and bass music on Saturday nights. By the way: concerts on Monday and Wednesday evenings are free of charge.
This is definitely one of Ljubljana’s hidden gems and is always packed with a local crowd of all ages.
Tržaška cesta 2, 1000 Ljubljana
Gostilna Dela: A pocket-sized restaurant with pocket-friendly prices
Gostilna Dela prides itself on its eclectic and varied range of delicious breakfasts and lunches to satisfy meat, fish and vegetarian guests alike. The food is fresh, healthy and prepared in an open kitchen, with as much local produce as possible on the menu (e.g. Wine Dornberg from Zalošče, Dornberg). The interior is cheerful and cozy with lots of nice touches, such as the water served in an unusual box-shaped bottle with mint leaves in it – perfect for hot summer months. In line with the principles of social entrepreneurship, all dishes and drinks are prepared and served by young people who lack formal qualifications or who have a disability, helping them become more employable.
The location is central, just a stone’s throw from Central Market and Ljubljana Castle Funicular. This is the perfect place to stop in for a bite to eat as you plan the rest of your day.
Poljanska 7, 1000 Ljubljana
Stara Mestna Elektrarna: An experimental theatre located in an old power plant
Hidden on a residential street, Stara Mestna Elektrarna is nestled on the ground floor of an old brick building that used to be the city’s power plant. Now the structure is home to a theatre, but probably not the kind of theatre you might imagine… Stara Mestna Elektrarna is anything but conventional and is open to all types of arts: theatre of course, but also dance, music and experimental performances. With a very open-minded aesthetic, the space puts on modern and unique performances and has a penchant for immersive theatre. If you’re in Ljubljana during the month of August, don’t miss their superb international dance and theatre festival, Mladi Levi. Prices vary depending on the show, but they are always reasonable. Reserve a spot and see for yourself!
Slomškova ulica 18, 1000 Ljubljana
Klub Vsemu: A hidden gem at the heart of Rog
Bar and art gallery Klub Vsemu is located at the heart of the Rog Factory squat – when you enter turn left, continue for 50 meters, and there you are. It’s largely the easygoing, “I don’t care” attitude of this place that makes it so attractive. It is also the ideal spot to have a beer or something stronger on cold winter nights thanks to its cozy wood-burning stove. This truly underground bar and its gallery display exhibitions of local alternative artists on a monthly rotation.
Whether there is something happening at Rog or not, Klub Vsemu is always there to give you a warm welcome.
Trubarjeva 72, 1000 Ljubljana
Od Žmauca Sosed Pa Ud Brata Prjatu: Colorful hangout
This small bar, whose name literally translates as “Žmauc’s neighbor and brother’s friend,” is an interesting little place always sure to have funny and weird things going on. Ideally situated in the city center, “Žmauc” – as the locals call it – is the perfect hangout spot for those looking to have fun and unwind.
This legendary little joint has a uniquely energetic atmosphere and plays a well-thought-out selection of prerecorded, non-commercial mixes. The interior décor also provides a real wow factor – take some time to peruse the manga comic strip scenes and figures that adorn the walls. During the day you can grab excellent one-pot dishes or big tasty sandwiches. There is also a pretty summer terrace for late afternoon and evening summer drinking – but try to come early to get hold of a table. Žmauc certainly provides a unique experience.
My advice: check out their calendar to see when they are holding their next awesome DJ party.
Rimska cesta 21, 1000 Ljubljana
Discover more alternative and cultural spots in Ljubljana with our city guide Indie Guides Ljubljana.
Photos: Courtesy of the places mentioned in the article and Gregor Gobec (Stara Mestna Elektrarna)