Opulent Cafés, Belgrade
Like coffee? Of course you do. Ever swam in it?....You're the type who wants something more. A sensory backfist? Then whip your chin and discover these special three spots in Belgrade where you can indulge your sybaritic, vice-ridden side. They're a collective feast for one's eyes, tastes and fingertips.... there for the taking with your modest pile of shabby coins that rub up good with muriatic acid. Absorb all three with double senses, move beyond your coffee cup and plunge into decadence.... descend and become addicted to all and sundry. One by one, go there, and may your morals evaporate. Be corrupted at will, starting here – forget the world! These are the dens:
This spot has perhaps the best balance of opulence and atmosphere in Belgrade, which is why it is quickly becoming the place to be in the city's so-called “Manhattan”. Ascend the few steep steps from the cobbled street and head inside – here the unfussy, instantly welcoming feel of Smokvica washes over you with its antique-white doors and windows, intimate soft lighting and candle-adorned piano. From within, a playful soundtrack introduces the seductive sight of light floorboards leading to fireside sofas that feel like yours. If an unadulterated dose of insouciant opulence is your ticket then stride your way here and reach for their wide range of coffee and cocktails; they even have a nice menu for informal dining. In Smokvica you'll find one special place to melt into the shadows as darkness falls, whether inside or outside, complete as it is with a graceful courtyard that's primed for heartfelt discussions over evening drinks. Just be sure to keep your bleary eyes open and avoid those wicked dreams. Or then again....
Find Smokvica at Mlade Bosne 25 (Dorcol)
A visit to opulence-riddled Fashoff surrounds you with a gold bar filled with antiquarian books, behind which hangs a glass chandelier. The sumptuous furniture invites the kind of lounging that tempts one to cock a leg after the style of a Duc Jean des Esseintes who's examining his emeralds. Once seated, a rotation of the eyes displays gold mirrors, brushed red-orange curtains and a gilded ceiling. Selecting a Turkish coffee from the black-gold ribbon-bound drinks menu is like flicking through the a manuscript of a short play. And the good news is that the elegant antique easy chairs, in browns, greens and reds, combine beautifully with reasonable prices. Plus, as a final treat, the splendour even continues into the bathroom with its black, gold and glass... and its grand throne-like toilet. It's all very satisfying.
Find Fashoff Cafe at Kosančićev Venac 2 (Stari Grad)
Newly opened this summer, Bašta Martaan is an elegant fusion of languid hammocks, white tables and laid-back jazz. The huge hanging fabric mural that coats one outside wall is a bold piece of minimalism to behold for those who discover this secluded place for a rich coffee or a slender glass of beer. As an open-air garden that oozes quality, this café is packed with romance once the light fades. It's a whitewashed corner of Dorcol that's simply perfect for dreaming through a warm evening, and specifically for reveling in the sensation of bare feet tickling the thick carpet of fresh white pebbles that cover the courtyard. When the weather is right, then, Bašta Martaan is a direct hit for the sky-loving sybarite.
Find Bašta Martaan, on fine days outside winter time, at Dositejeva 26 (Dorcol)
Now be off with you! Where's my paisley dressing gown....
…. and bring me my silk apple if you will.
František Kupka's, The Yellow Scale (1907)
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