Split is a wonderful city on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, full of fun things to do. There are great hiking routes and sunny beaches; there’s a beautiful promenade and an impressive historic old town… But for some reason, on my first visit to the city in August 2013, I spent more time circling the city’s bars than I did looking at sights. I blame the summer heat, it does things to a man.
My hotel in Split was another big reason for my nightly escapades. It was vaguely reminiscent of the murder house in The Shining, and with a record-setting heatwave that lasted all through my visit, I was especially delighted to find out the air-conditioning was out of order.
My first few nights were spent showering with cold water and laying naked in front of a small table fan that did absolutely nothing to help cool off. Finally I gave up, left my room and began circling the narrow alleys of the old town.
After a number of twists and turns I found myself on a narrow street much like the others, but with this one winding slightly upwards. Both sides were livened by small bars with outdoor seating. I sat down in one and ordered a cold cocktail.
I wanted to rub myself all over with the ice cubes, but for some reason I still had a modicum of decency left and decided not to. After a few (too many) cooling drinks I continued my way into a small inner courtyard lined by high brick walls, lured by the hypnotic beat of music blaring at extremely loud volumes.
Academia Club Ghetto (Dosud ulica 10) turned out to be a great choice for a solo night out – I was immediately befriended by several locals and fellow travelers and I finally got some much needed refreshment into my lonely and sweaty nights. And it didn’t end there.
All of a sudden I was on a mission, bar hopping through the entire city with my new friends, who I immediately knew would be my best friends forever but whose names I no longer remembered the next morning.
Our bar tour concluded at Tropic Club, located at the edge of the popular Bacvice Beach, which would end up becoming the location of the biggest afterparty I’ve ever seen as soon as the club closed. Hordes of people waded out into the ocean, dancing in the water with drinks from the bar still in tow.
The beach party raved on until early morning, with the mood getting more and more euphoric by the minute. In the last short moment just before sunrise I found myself skinny dipping in the Adriatic Sea with a homeless circus artist and a member of the European Commission. I’d call that a very successful night.