velvet bar : zagreb

We have very fond memories of Velvet, on Canal Street, in Manchester, way back in the ’90s. Along with bars such as Manto and Metz, these places just seemed to ooze glamour and decadence and opened up a whole new world – definitely a far cry from some of the student haunts we used to visit. When we moved to West Didsbury in 2000, it took a good couple of years before we saw any kind of resurgence and renovation, and so still largely travelled into the city centre to get our glamour kicks. Then, The Metropolitan was given a new lease of life, and West Didsbury started to become the place to be, and as everything was on our doorstep, we stayed local, and all of the early 90s bars became fuzzy memories.

Move onto 2017 and we found ourselves living an entirely different life. Up in the hills of northern Istria. With not a Velvet anywhere on the horizon. But, over the past few years, things have started to develop in our neck of the woods and we have a lot more choice for eating out and drinking options. But, as in the old days, sometimes you need to head the bright lights of the big city – and these days, when we do, it’s often Zagreb.

So, the reason I initially mentioned Velvet on Canal Street, is that we’ve now found ourselves another Velvet – this time, tucked away under the old town of Zagreb, conveniently located next to an underground car park, beautiful independent stores, cool restaurants and stylish apartments, perfect for a short stay. At night, it’s dark and moody and velvety. Perfectly adorned with chandeliers and ambient twinkling lights. Set on different levels and with different rooms/areas, you can be as anonymous or as gregarious as you want to be. By day, it’s light and airy, and serves just about the best coffees we’ve found so far in Croatia, as well as a massive array of cakes and sweet bakes and savoury sandwiches and toasties. A very good way to begin your day or enjoy a leisurely brunch.

Although we do currently need to go a little further afield to find a funky bar, than we did when we lived in West Didsbury, we see the travel as part of the adventure. We get to stay over in places we wouldn’t otherwise probably have investigated – seven years ago, I would never have considered high-tailing into Zagreb, as we used to in Manchester. But that’s how our lives have turned out – opportunities we never knew were possible, but even if it’s the name of a bar, always intertwined with our Manchester lives…


Published on 27th March 2024