A Cup of Coffee and Special Experience, Please

We all have our own criteria for choosing our favourite café or a bar and, naturally, they are usually highly subjective. Location, music, that handsome waiter, your favourite brand of beer, comfortable chairs, homey atmosphere... It can be anything.

Then there are places that are just objectively good, featured in guidebooks, you would recommend them to foreign visitors, they have highs standards, great service, everything is just right. And then, there's the third type of places, those that just stick out although maybe they don't fit any of the first two categories. You probably wouldn't visit them every day, yet they catch your attention and you have to give them all the credit for being unique and original in the vast network of Zagreb's cafés and bars. Let's meet some of them.

“How about sharing a cup of coffee with a kitty?” Image credit: Cat Caffe Zagreb FB“How about sharing a cup of coffee with a kitty?” Image credit: Cat Caffe Zagreb FB

Booksa in Martićeva Street is a cult place for the cultural socialites. It now defines itself as a book club, but when it opened in 2004 it was a combination of a café, club and bookshop. A concept already seen in many other cities, but for Zagreb at the time it was quite revolutionary. An honourable mention also goes to the weekly pub quiz that was on in Booksa more than ten years ago, the first one in Zagreb, the forerunner of today's nationwide pub quiz epidemics. Nowadays Booksa functions as a club which you can join for the symbolic annual membership of 10 kn. As a member, you can go there just for a drink, or join any of their events, ranging from readings, book promotions and lectures, to workshops, performances or even acoustic concerts. Definitely a unique place, Booksa is basically just a nice spot for having a coffee or reading a book, yet also one of the beacons of non-institutionalized culture in Zagreb.

“Booksa, the first place in Zagreb to function as a book club and café.” Image credit: Booksa FB

Cat caffe just off Maksimirska Street is also an already existing concept, but the one in Zagreb is the first of its kind in Croatia. Imagine a really cool and cosy little café, at the same time home to about a dozen cats. And everything around you reminds you that this is a cat-friendly place, from the cat-themed decorations to cat equipment like scratching posts or food bowls. You can drink coffee like anywhere else, while having a happy cat purring in the chair next to you. (A great selection of board games is also a big plus.) All the resident felines are domesticated cats saved from the streets that can now live in a safe environment. But beware, don't enter Cat caffe if you don't like sharing space with animals. On the other hand, if you’re a cat enthusiast, bear in mind that this is not a petting zoo and that the cats dictate the pace of interaction here.

“If you want a dreamlike setting for drinking coffee, look no further.” Image credit: Caffe Bar Finjak FB

Finjak may look like just another café, although exceptionally charming and nicely decorated (no wonder they market it as Zagreb's most instagrammable café). Take a better look around and you'll start feeling like you're in a fairy-tale antique shop. No wonder, because the family who owns Finjak is in the antiquity business and many items come from their private collection. Many different styles are interwoven here, but with a lot of taste and in a surprisingly harmonious way. As it is located in quite a spacious courtyard, their summer terrace is also something different. A quiet hour with a cup of coffee and some homemade cake inside this lavish setting will transfer you a world away from the noisy and busy Vlaška Street.

“Cat café, managed by humans, but actually secretly run by cats.” Image credit: Cat Caffe Zagreb FB

Header image credit: Caffe Bar Finjak FB

Author: Taste of Croatia, Morana Zibar