‘People dance on tables’: welcome to Belgrade’s kafana pub culture

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Serbia’s ‘tavernas’ are fusing traditional food and drink with new cuisines and rousing live music as they evolve to attract a younger crowd

I’m in a good old-fashioned pub, drinking beer over wooden tables and tucking into a hearty meal. Except the wooden tabletops are covered in red checked cloths, the decor is Balkan folk.

Instead of a roast I’m diving into a pile of minced beef sausages called ćevapi and imbibing shots of rakia, the local plum brandy. An accordion player draws musical breaths in a corner, his companion strikes Gypsy tunes from a fiddle, people dance on tables. Welcome to the kafana.

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