Opatovina - Zagreb's Shire

Have you ever heard of a saying: The indecisive ones choose beer when they don't have any other idea what to drink? Well, I couldn't imagine a bigger jibberish than that one!

Beer is not just a question of choice. It's an exquisite lifestyle, much enjoyed by many Croats as well as worldwide. Carefully brewed hop, hand picked in order to make your taste buds jump for joy every time you take a sip. Pure paradise, I would dare say. The culture of drinking beer has been popular in Croatia for centuries now. But after the openings of many craft breweries and alehouses in the last decade, Zagreb's beer lovers are finally satisfied. This is a story about only a few of them. I don't know about you guys, but for me, a beer is a synonym of having a great time while enjoying good company, surroundings, and great taste. This fascination was triggered by one silly winter walk through Zagreb's Opatovina Street, known as one of the most picturesque streets of Zagreb's city centre.

A couple of college freshmen headed up the streets in search of a cafe to share their inside jokes about student life. But, everything considered popular was already taken so they headed straight to the Tkalčićeva staircase just near the 'Oliver Twist Pub'. And they suddenly stopped. 'Oliver Twist Pub'? Sounds interesting! And so it was. Pretty interior, the taste of imported fancy craft beer was just the thing they needed to make that evening special. But, they were noisy, so they continued going up the stairs. After a cute little park , some kind of a medieval door appeared. Not exactly a Narnia closet, but intriguing enough. They curiously passed the gates and made it to - Opatovina, or as they would, later on, call it – a craft beer street.


Image credit: Craft Room Facebook Page


Our beer lovers weren't aware that little small house in front of them with a big sign 'Tolkien's house' was the home of some of the best refreshments Zagreb has to offer. Just like hobbits, their little feet stumbled upon what it appeared to be, green fields of hop. Well, not exactly hop itself, but craft beer for sure. So, there was nothing else to do but to get into the house. Knight suit of armour, scenes from Lord of the Rings books represented Zagreb's Shire pretty well. They agreed that this pub was the right decision. When they looked at the menu, the only logical thing to order was an ale from 'Dragon Brewery', a little local beverage chosen to be one of the top 10 New Brewers in the World. So, just like the dwarfs in Hobbit, our gang fought this dragon fiercely. And beat him, about two or three times.


Image credit: Craft Room Facebook Page


Or we should say that dragon ale bested them considering the amount of their enjoyment. After exchanging pleasantries with the Dragon brewery at Tolkien's, our brave gang continued to go downstream the Opatovina Forestland. As they were walking and chatting about epic beer battle they had just had, a new challenge was set upon them. A challenge called Craft Room. This one, as it appears, seemed the biggest one of them all. A pub specialized only in craft beers seemed like Goliath to our Davids. But, encouraged with the Dragon, they had no fear and entered this labyrinth of taste.

As the pleasant green environment reminding them of a very fancy hunting lodge seemed more appropriate to continue the beer challenge, our gang sat down and started studying the menu. They were fascinated when they found out that this is the first craft beer bar in Croatia. Jackpot! What a lovely way to finish the quest. After they fought the dragon in Tolkiens, they decided to go one on one with a different sort of craft beer. Everyone had a tough choice amongst many tough beer opponents. But, they fought courageously and stayed in Craft Room until there were no passengers left in Opatovina street.


Image credit: Craft Room Facebook Page


They have deserved their ring without going to Mordor. Our college freshmen came back to their dorms full of content with what they have just gone through. It's not every day that you get a chance to slay a dragon and fight with such exquisite, crafted products that, truth be told, taste amazing. So, just like Bilbo, they sat in their armchair and gazed into the ring. The ring that symbolizes, what it appears to be, one of the best times during their student days. Peculiar place, Opatovina. 


Header Image credit: Craft Room Facebook Page

Author: Lana Suša