Drinking beer in Split is one of the most authentic social activities that you can experience. Honestly speaking, this is also true for the whole country. Although the wine scene is much more famous on the international market and among tourists, locals prefer the beer due to its (price) accessibility.
The Croatian beer industry has its roots back to the 14th century, although it became more popular and widely available during the second half of the 19th century. With a mix of tradition and innovation major breweries like Zagrebačka Pivovara and Karlovačka Pivovara have long been at the forefront of the market. Karlovačko, produced by Karlovačka Pivovara, is an iconic symbol of Croatian brewing. Renowned for its crisp taste and with a history dating back years, “Karlovačko” beer has become a staple at social gatherings, embodying the essence of the country's beer culture. Another heavyweight in the Croatian beer scene is Ožujsko beer, crafted by Zagrebačka Pivovara. Recognized for its refreshing character, Ožujsko is a popular choice at bars, restaurants, and social events. Together, these two brands have traditionally dominated the market, reflecting the preferences of a diverse consumer base.
With the market expansion, especially after the 1990s, more local and regional competition started to offer good quality lager beers. However, the beer landscape in Croatia is evolving beyond mass industry trends. The rise of craft beer has injected new energy into the scene, with a surge in microbreweries and craft beer enthusiasts contributing to a more diverse market. This trend mirrors global patterns, where consumers increasingly seek unique and artisanal beer experiences. The tourism industry plays a pivotal role in shaping Croatia's beer culture, with an influx of visitors contributing significantly to beer consumption. Tourists often savor local brews as part of their cultural experience, further promoting Croatia's brewing traditions on an international scale.
Therefore today I will recommend the most famous pubs in Split to help you find the best craft beers in Split.
Apart from a wide selection of light, dark, wheat, and craft beer, here you will also find some of the best burgers and pizza dishes in town. On certain days live music events take place in the back room of the pub, so make sure to keep an eye on their event announcements on Facebook. Although it's not far from the city center (15min walk), the parking garage is available nearby (location link) at a very affordable rate (1 EUR per hour).
Not that far away you will also find another very cool music bar. Almost daily you will find someone hitting the stage to accompany your night out with friends. With interesting food choices, including big salads, ribs, burgers, and different finger foods, your beer exploration will be fully rounded. In my opinion, it's one of the nicest looking food joints/pubs in Split, as it has a very distinctive design inspired by motorbike subculture, wood, and iron. Lastly, in case you are a smoker, there are outside tables too with heating lamps in winter months.
Screws & Beers https://www.facebook.com/videipive
We will stay in the neighbour, and actually just go across the street to a more intimate beer bar. Don't be mistaken, the selection of crafted beers at this place is competitive with more famous places, and it gives you the opportunity to try locally crafted beers at reasonable prices. Although it's smaller, on most days you won't have trouble finding a chair. Occasionally you will also hear some live acoustic music.
In case you want to stay in the city center, there are many places to drink a wider selection of beer. However, as many of these places tend to close after the summer season, I will play it safe by recommending Fabrique. This stylish and hip place right on top of the Riva promenade will offer you a very special night out. Due to its location, but also the character, expect your bill to be a bit higher than in some less known places. Still, the food is great, the beer selection is good, and the interior is breathtaking.
The list goes on, and I will share a couple of more suggestions, but I will leave it to you to explore it further.
Tab B Craft Brewery & Brewpub https://www.facebook.com/TapBCraftBrewery
Regardless of which bar/pub you choose, our recommendation is to ask the waiter what to choose, depending on your mood. Apart from some more established small breweries that offer their beer bottled, try asking for a locally brewed beer that only comes from the tap. Nevertheless, here is the list of beers that I personally enjoy the most: Grička Vještica, Barba, Fakin Ipa, Bura Brew, Zmajsko Pozoj, Trapula, and Plavuša.
In conclusion, Croatia's beer culture is a dynamic fusion of heritage and contemporary trends. While major brands like Karlovačko and Ožujsko remain pillars of the industry, the burgeoning craft beer scene and the impact of tourism are reshaping the narrative. With ongoing developments and an openness to global influences, the future of the Croatian beer industry promises to be an exciting journey of taste and tradition. For those eager to explore, it's recommended to delve into the current beer landscape to witness the ever-evolving flavors of Croatia.