How do you really get to know a place? Get to know the people! There’s no better way to do this than by seeking out the top local bars and Ljubljana has some awesome offerings, where friendly is an understatement. The centre of town has some beautiful riverside cocktail lounges and wine bars, but if you want to head out of the tourist trap and into reality, head west. There you will find a collection of cool joints, from diverse to a dive to the divine. Here’s a selection of the best:

Parlament Pub

If you want to start a revolution or at least a good night out, Parlament bar is the place to do it. It is stocked with Slovenian students and locals bringing the world to rights, ironically without a politician in sight. To the rear, a beer ‘garden’ is well kept and hydrated by a team of waiters who serve the thirsty patrons at their tables. Inside, the decor of wooden panelling, patterned granny curtains, strange portraits, and cheap drinks eerily remind you of living on instant noodles.

It’s the bar where substance wins over style; grungy, unfashionable and edgy, without an ounce of hip, and that’s ok. Everyday Parlament undergoes a metamorphosis, evolving from a coffee bar to a pub and finally emerging later as a club. Often open till the early morning, you can easily return later to examine the existentialism of human body movement relative to beats per minute and alcoholic units consumed.

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Zbornica

Neatly tucked around the back of a building in a courtyard is Zbornica. It’s everything you want from a restaurant, great service, locally owned, inexpensive and incredibly welcoming. Dishing out classic Italian alongside burgers and some Slovenian stews this place comfortably caters for all. The staff is chatty and jovial, without being imposing, whilst the quality of the regionally sourced food speaks for itself.

To help you relax there are a plenty of delightful draft beers and excellent low-cost wines. It is a cosy corner where you can easily strike up a conversation with other guests or even discover homemade schnapps courtesy of the proprietor. No wonder it is one of the top places that Ljubljanans frequent!

Cin Cin Ljubljana

Cin Cin

Even further off the beaten track is bohemian bar Cin Cin. Looking like a protege of NYC’s Lower East Side, the bar ironically fails to be as pretentious as it appears. The huge illuminated wall of spirits, exposed brick, industrial pipework and the neon sign all shout beard, braces, fake glasses, and tattoos but the vibe couldn’t be more different.

In fact, Cin Cin is more about the outside space, where live music creates the real buzz. It has the feeling of a community gathering, where people meet up to enjoy the sounds of jazz, rock or whatever under the ceiling of open air. Like gigs used to be before everything ‘sold out’ under a minute only to be available again later at four times the price…

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Whether you prefer the fairy light exterior or a cheeky dark corner of the interior, the friendly service, extensive drinks menu and cute atmosphere of Cin Cin means you have hit on one of Ljubljana’s treasures.

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Zmauc

This place is one of those local bars that represent the modern day ‘Cheers’. This artsy hang out is the best bar in Slovenia and always draws an eclectic crowd. The graffiti walls and after party deep beats mean you can chill with some of the sociable regulars and really get to know the word on Ljubljana’s streets. Zmauc’s staff are quick to offer recommendations for local beers as well as suggesting that you try the national drink – (schnapps with a pear juice chaser). Open till ridiculously late, you will quickly become part of the gang and feel like one of Ljubljana’s own.

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When you travel, you don’t want to feel like the elephant in the room or taken advantage of. Ljubljana’s local bars certainly do not make strangers feel strange, and instead serve a large measure of love, the S-LOVE-nian way!

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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