I’d previously blogged about what I thought was the best bar in the world, Koi in Protaras. But there’s a new contender in town. It may be shockingly overpriced and has the worst toilets in Europe, but the views you enjoy of the Adriatic and the chilled out holiday vibe make Buža a must for anyone in need of liquid refreshment in Dubrovnik.
Finding Buža is your first test. The word Buža actually means hole in the Dubrovnik dialect – to get to the bar you have to step through a hole in the city walls near St. Stephen’s tower in the Old Town. Look out for signs advertising “Cold drinks” in the courtyard in front of the Jesuit Church.
Once you’ve found and entered through the hole, you might feel a bit like one of the kids from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe entering Narnia. The view really is magical, although you won’t have it all to yourself. Buža is so popular, people go there just to stand outside the entrance and take photos of it – you might have to elbow past a few of these to get a table.
As for drinks choices, they really weren’t joking when they said “cold drinks”. No tea or coffee is served, and on one occasion I fancied a red wine but when it came it was ice-cold. Bottled drinks served in plastic cups are the order of the day, although you can put your plastic cup in a cool wooden holder (see main picture).
The mark up on the drinks must be massive – the only beer sold here is the unpronounceable Croatian lager, Ožujsko at 35 kunas (about £4.50) for a 33cl bottle. But with views like these, you might not care.
The bar is perched on the rocks with the city walls behind you, the Adriatic below you and Lokrum island straight ahead of you. We visited every day at different times, and had great views of boats bobbing over the sea to Lokrum in the daytime, huge cruiseships leaving town (yippee!) in the evening and the gorgeous pinky-orange sunset.
In the daytime, along with the sound of the sea crashing onto the rocks, chilled out ’90s pop music from a Croatian radio station is your soundtrack – think Savage Garden and Katrina and the Waves. They even sell Bacardi Breezer – last seen in the UK when Shania Twain was in the charts. In the evening you are more likely to hear Elvis Presley’s Greatest Hits.
The only gripe we had (other than the prices), were the toilets – two festival-style loos inside one lockable room. The first time we went to Buža, we both had to spend a penny (separately, of course!), but after holding our noses and stepping over the toilet paper thrown all over the floor, we decided to “hold on” on our subsequent visits until we’d got to another bar. I appreciate that there’s no running water at the bar, and cleaning toilets may not be the nicest task but surely Buža makes enough profit out of us to be able to afford a cleaner or even a toilet attendant?
On our last day in Dubrovnik, we walked on the Old Town’s walls and could clearly see the white umbrellas of Buža below us at one point. We could also make out what I thought was a copycat bar on the rocks a few metres past Buža. We didn’t have time to sample a drink here, so I’ll be back in Dubrovnik very soon to review what turned out to be Buža II.