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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins

The best bar in the world

Across the globe's rich and pricey capitals, a wealth of swanky bars compete for the title of the best bar in the world, many of which this author has personally visited. Indeed there are league tables of such things: the Waldorf Hotel bar in New York, the bar of Raffles Hotel in Singapore; the Connaught in London; Paradise in Barcelona; Limaitour in Mexico City; and Coa in Hong Kong. This author has seen them all. Yet none of them are ranked anywhere near Belgrade's best, that shabby but lively capital city of Serbia and once of Yugoslavia. Amidst her crawling slinky streets, there lies what every citizen of that town knows to be the very best bar in Belgrade and - as the tiny expatriate population of which this author is one knows, is simply and without doubt, by several leagues the most obtuse, absurd and quite the very best bar in the world.

For anyone who has been there, the status of this bar, with the name KPTM (an approximate abbreviation of a phrase that means 'the music you get is 'the music you pay for'), is unrivalled and undoubted as pure good-natured anarchy. Amidst insalubrious surroundings opposite Belgrade's commercial port, this riotous house of alcoholic lunacy, with a preposterous and persistent pulsating beat booming out of a disused tramshed while operating the world's most ludicrous opening hours for a bar, will take your breath away. There is nothing else quite like it, and it is impossible not to enjoy every second of it.

KPTM ostensibly operates as a music radio club. And if that doesn't make any sense to you, don't worry; it doesn't make sense to anyone. But my God do the punters keep coming. During every hour it is open (and those hours can be highly variable), this booming mix between a rough, run down pub and a heaving informal nightclub is packed like a jam sandwich with its fans and supporters. And you don't need a special invitation to go to this amazing place, nor a deep wallet. Anyone prepared to pay the modest entrance fee of 1,000 Serbian Dinars (EUR 8.50) is welcome to go there. In KPTM there is no discrimination or stuffiness. Her doors are open to everyone from the ages of 18 to 80, and everyone is guaranteed to have an extraordinarily good time.

  1. If you like to be French kissed by beautiful, tattooed, pierced, half dressed, drunk and high women you don't know in intimate spaces, then you have come to the right place. Warning: this could happen at any time; keep mouth closed to avoid infectious diseases.

  2. If you like people offering to sell you powders, tablets and other miscellaneous multi-coloured chemicals (white, brown, crystals, smooth, pink, green, you name it they're selling it) then you've definitely come to the right place. Although there has been a substantial reduction in these sorts of people since a Police 'complaint' to the management a few months ago, there are still plenty of them to satisfy such curiosity as you may have.

  3. If you like to drink large shots of Serbian fruit brandy (40pc+ alcohol) at absurd times like 5.30am, likewise you will be satisfied.

  4. If you like making new friends with tall aggressive violent men with arms like treetrunks whose main topic of discussion is violent fights with other such people, or you like them stealing your money, then again you've come to the right place.

  5. If you like nonstop extremely loud 'hard house' deep bass beating electronic music blasted out nonstop by one crazy looking drugged and drunk Serbian DJ after another, you are also in the right place.

  6. If you like the sound of constant smashing glass, bottles, drinks, cigarette butts in your liquor, people falling over onto the glass, blood splashed everywhere, every surface sticky, then you are in the place for you.

  7. If you like dancing manically such that your step counter in your phone is likely to reach 30,000 before Midday, you have come to the right place.

  8. If you enjoy this exercise come snow rain or shine in an outdoors environment with a light retractable garage roof covering, in which temperatures inside can reach as high as 45 Celsius or as low as -15, based upon the body sweat making the interior ever sweatier and more humid until, irrespective of the weather, your clothing and person become drenched in sweat and water, then you will find the climate most agreeable.

  9. If you like the periodic entrance of the Police - who it goes without saying absolutely adore this bar - inter alia to search people for drugs in civil liberties noncompliant manners, arrest random drug dealers and recall to prison people wearing ankle bracelets and breaching their bail licence terms, then you will find your fantasies fulfilled.

  10. If you like not sitting down - the whole bar only has about eight chairs - and swaying with the rocking music in the crowds amidst a sensation of being on a swaying standing room only long-distance African bus, you have come to the right place.

  11. If you like twenty minutes' wait for a cubicle with concentrated effluent spilling out of the unflushed lavatories amidst multiple uses and flat cubicle surfaces permanently ingrained with miscellaneous coloured powders, pending Guinness Book of Record attempts for multiple people to cram into the same cubicle to consume said powders, you are definitely going to like this place.

  12. On the other hand, if you like just whipping a bag of powder out of your pants and consuming it from the top of the filthy non-functional hand dryers in front of nonplussed observers, then you will enjoy this bar.

  13. If you enjoy being so intoxicated and exhausted from exuberant dancing that you can hardly bend your legs at the knees to walk up the single step to get to the lavatories; and you enjoy mingling with other people in the same condition, then you will enjoy this place.

  14. If you enjoy being driven to near-deafness by the endless heavy musical beat that will rattle your very soul to a state of persistent Elysium, causing you to scream in pleasure with every new song while you are sprayed with water droplets from garden hoses affixed to the ceiling, then you will like this place.

  15. If you like hanging your coat on the stalks of a palm tree, several of which sprout out of the concrete in the centre of the bar and which are used as ad hoc drinks tables via pieces of wood affixed to them at chest height, you will be satisfied.

  16. If you like the sight of people vomiting and wretching through excess consumption of alcohol etcetera, possibly all over you if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or you like streaks of bodily fluids splattered across the floor, you will particularly like KPTM. Don't worry; you won't be thrown out and skilled first aid is available on sight. But there are some mucky sights there.

  17. If you pick up the bamboo rods stored in the piles of the green rubber tyres with a view to waving them to the music or attacking someone with them, the security guards will intervene. Do not do this. Likewise do not intentionally smash glass. If you accidentally do so, someone will clean it up after a while but you will be forgiven. Recall that you will be very slaughtered shortly after arriving there. Everyone is. It has an environment that encourages heavy self-intoxication, which is one of the reasons it is so excellent.

  18. If you are in that category of people who like to keep dancing until their muscles are all in involuntary seizure and their joints are grinding into one another, causing great pain; and if you insist to carry on anyway until the absolute last drop of music has been squeezed from the place - in other words, if you consider dancing to be like an enjoyable compulsory military exercise - then this is the place for you.

  19. If you enjoy having the most exciting, thrilling time of your life, living on the very edge of music, alcohol, friendliness and fun, jammed in a small space, then you will enjoy this place.

  20. It is one of the friendliest bars it is possible to devise; everyone will want to talk to you about everything, and you will leave with a mobile telephone full of telephone numbers you will immediately delete as soon as you are sober.

  21. If you are an employee of the US Embassy, you will particularly enjoy this bar because by virtue of its peculiar opening hours you are not prohibited from going there (US Embassy employees have a'banned and permitted' list for bars.) And even if the rules change and you end up banned from KPTM, don't worry: nobody's going to tell the authorities you were there. It's not that kind of place.

  22. If you are absolutely unable to stand up after a while in there (this happens to all regulars at some point), a chair will likely be provided for your collapse. Sleeping standing up is also permitted.

  23. If you like walking home, this is the bar for you. KPTM is notorious for the fact that its customers are so uniformly hammered to that no Belgrade taxi company will accept rides from there. (You can however take a taxi going there.) It's only a ten minute walk into the city centre. You'll probably make it after several hours of being in there, although you may not be able to walk very well.

  24. If you bump into the occasional 'KPTM snob' in Belgrade (there are a few people who like to say that they are above the standards of KPTM) simply remind them that you have had a much better time than they have. Irrespective of what they have been doing, it can't be as good as being at KPTM. Just remind them that the prices are reasonable, the service is friendly, the customers are amusing and the music is amongst the best in the world. Life just doesn't get better.

In short, KPTM is so similar to one of the bars of movie lore associated with dystopian science fiction motion pictures, such as Moss Eisley Space Port in Star Wars or a bar in the tech noir movie Blade Runner or Netflix series Altered Carbon, that it is all of intriguing, fascinating, thrilling, alarming, horrifying, riotously enjoyable and adrenalin-busting in equal measure. KPTM. You cannot live your life without visiting this place at least once. It will take your breath away.


Жоржа Клемансоа 22 (Dzordza Klemensoa 22)


Republic of Serbia

No reservations possible; nobody with good intentions is turned away

Opening hours: highly variable depending upon the management's varying relationship with the Police; but typically 05:00 to 14:00 every Saturday and Sunday

1 FEBRUARY 2023 UPDATE: Open every Wednesday from 22:00 to 08:00 (approximately; these may not be official hours). Often open from 22:00 one of Friday or Saturday each weekend; check the Instagram page kptm_bgd (Serbian language only) for the most reliable details available.

Call for precise hours; Slavisa (the manager) speaks English well. +381 60 7300091 but he does not answer the phone when the bar is open. Send him a WhatsApp with an enquiry and he will answer you within 12-24 hours.

Dress code: 100 per cent wipedown (including coats, shoes, tops, skirts, dresses, trousers - everything must be wipedown and impermeable to stains as it will all become absolutely filthy) but mostly classy dress is preferred, particularly for women. There is no 'door polcy' for clothes. Men are not allowed to go bare chested, irrespective of the weather. Flipflops are permitted but ill-advised given the glass and miscellaneous liquids splattered on the floor.

Do not carry weapons; you will be comprehensively searched.

Violence is not tolerated by the security guards who will immediately remove any violent person.


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