Kasina: Forgotten beer hall finds its true vocation
Going Out :
Locals who remember the dreary old Kasina, with its watered-down beer and daytime-only trade, will have trouble recognising the place following its imaginative but sensitive restoration.
The Kasina Bar & Restaurant is a fine example of how a traditional beer hall can be turned into a modern hotspot with the right vision and execution.
Kasina opened as a beer hall, or pivnica, back in 1922, to serve the guests of the Kasina Hotel, to which it is still linked today.
Although the Kasina didn’t experience much of a fall-off in visitors over the years, thanks to its prime location, the recent renovations have certainly increased its popularity tenfold.
The old Kasina had not been a hotspot for Belgraders for decades. It was more of a tourist trap for foreigners who wanted to sit down in the city centre for a beer and didn’t know any better.
It never had much of a nightlife either, but survived on daytime trade. Frankly, the old Kasina didn’t have much to offer. It was just a large old hall that served beer and traditional food. The only thing that most locals knew about it was that they often served watered-down beer.
Although the potential wasn’t that obvious to most locals, who tended to avoid it, it was obvious to someone with the right vision who was able to capitalise on the unseen potential.
Since its makeover, Kasina has turned itself into a trendy and state-of-the-art nightclub, and those who remembered it from the olden days might have trouble even recognising it.
The designers have taken full advantage of Kasina’s best features. The spacious beer hall has now been turned into a huge nightclub with all of the characteristics that club-goers have come to expect from the most modern venues.
The space has been very well used. At the back of a hall, a stage has been set up for live performers to entertain crowds every night. The stage area has been equipped with a contemporary sound and lighting system that creates the feeling of being in a real concert hall, not a bar or club.
The interior is also spacious enough not only for a decent-sized stage for the band, but also for a fully-equipped bar, and a large amount of tables and seating, none of which comes at the expense of the open area in which people can dance and stand around.
Located in the dead centre of Belgrade, across the street from the iconic Moskva Hotel, Kasina is no longer a tourist trap but a real option for locals and foreigners alike who want to spend a night drinking, singing and dancing at one of the best, most popular and most spacious bars in the city.
Kasina has also made an effort to keep its doors open to just about anyone. There are no dress codes at night and the patrons are truly diverse. The clients span the generations and there is such a variety of visitors packing into the massive bar these days that no one looks out of place, no matter what style of dress they choose or what kind of bars they usually frequent.
The music at Kasina at night is commercial in orientation, and it is a breath of fresh air to have a large and popular bar in the centre of Belgrade, which doesn’t settle for DJs, but also makes the effort to offer quality bands, playing live every night, not just at weekends.
Perhaps the best thing about Kasina stems from the fact that it is so old and was built under the influence of the old classic architecture. The ceilings are high and huge white columns extend up to the ceiling, which not only gives it a regal look, but also gives patrons a lot of air and ensures that the bar never gets too stuffy or smoky – a problem with 99 per cent of Belgrade clubs and bars.
The rest of the décor is understated - light, ceramic floors and seating and tables of rich, dark wood, both of which accent the large, high-rising columns around the bar.
In terms of taking an old venue and revamping it to create a nightclub fit for the 21st century, you can’t do much better than what those responsible for Kasina’s new look have done with the old beer hall. Kasina seemed bound to be one of the most popular venues for live music and drinks for years to come.
And for anyone still wondering about it, rest assured; the beer served in Kasina is no longer watered-down.
Address: Terzija 25
Phone: +381 65 263 0050; +381 60 616 1908