New forms of old rituals
Belgrade has always been known as a city of endless possibilities for spending some high quality free time. Whether in exclusive restaurants in Vračar, in the Mecca of all Belgrade’s hipsters – Cetinjska Street, the new centre of good fun – Savamala – with its extension embodied in the Beton Hala, old bohemian pubs in Gardoš and along the key in Zemun, or in Skadarlija, a must-see for all tourists and an oasis of times past in the very heart of the city, Belgrade has always been a town where everyone has “their place” to have some coffee. Still, in a town where every crowd has “their place”, a new “favourite place” has just opened.
Even before its opening, Kafeterija in Kralja Petra Street was hyped as something special – it was said that the fans of a good chat were finally about to get a place Belgrade deserves. Whatever the expectations may have been, the first step inside the large coffee shop Kafeterija in Kralja Petra blew them away. It is located in the most beautiful section of a long street in Dorćol, between Knez Mihajlova Street and the Cathedral Church – the very place where Belgrade’s heart beats the loudest, where coffee shops are packed, people are in a good mood and the building is monumental, with a timeless beauty.
The Kafeterija concept was familiar to me, as I was a regular guest of other places in town that belong to the same brand. The style is still simple yet modern, the aroma and flavour are intense. I quickly discovered that the new Kafeterija offers more than what Belgrade already had, even with its massive and truly diverse collection of cafes. The legendary building in Kralja Petra Street is somehow especially “fancy”, it shines with a new glow, with its relaxed atmosphere and youthful energy.
I have always been a fan of urban interiors, especially when they manage to merge style, vibe and indulgence. Experience has taught me that these factors make up two thirds of a successful concept. I saw the three floors of space, consistently decorated, as the pinnacle of the hipster concept, with a note of luxury that is not in your face or overstated. Simply, this is a place that is different to all others, that sets itself apart. Space suitable for a quick coffee, but also for a business conversation at a secluded table, as well as for several hours’ worth of simple chatting with your friends.
What turned Kafeterija into a recognizable Belgradian brand in a very short time is its most extensive and highest quality selection of coffees. Fresh, rich, prepared by the best baristas in Belgrade – flavours from different corners on the world all converge to one place.
The three-storied space comes with a basement that is home to a barbershop and a shop for all of those who want to set themselves apart, and another unusual corner on the ground floor. As a great fan of the show “Kafa i Cigarete” (“Coffee and Cigarettes”), as you will probably appreciate – not entirely by accident, I will pay it some special attention. I was interested to learn what was behind the name IQOS. Some new “i”, like the previous “i”s of iPad, iPhone… it comes in a sophisticated, simplistic design. A friendly girl behind the counter explains that IQOS is a completely new concept of consuming tobacco, but also a form of a trend revolution introduced by “Phillip Morris”. I look around, and it is only then that I realize that all around me are “Iqosians”, since the ground floor of Kafeterija is marked as an “IQOS-only zone”. I can’t see any cigarette smoke… I can smell a faint aroma, like some tea – they say this is the smell of real tobacco when it is heated. It is truly completely different. “Tobacco cartridges in three different varieties…” continues the IQOS girl, as I contemplate the fact that, whoever came up with this idea, the invention is brilliant. The bar has just been raised in the modern, urban community of our capital.
I pick the “orange” flavour, I pick a table in the intimate space of the first floor and I order an espresso. I am aware that I have just found “my new favourite place in town” – and I celebrate that with a dessert, since an excellent menu must never be ignored. A single place, but a complete experience.
By: Marko Savić