Located in the Adriatic Sea, you’ll find the island of Hvar, Croatia. Known for its nightlife, it also has a more refined side. From pleasure yachts and luxury hotels to beaches, you’ll also find several great bars in Hvar for a cocktail. And, since I am a cocktail blogger, the latter is important to me. Croatia’s cocktail scene is growing but the majority of its notable bars are located in Split. I did some sampling and found four bars in Hvar that met my high standards for great service, interesting flavors, and quality drinks. In addition to these great bars, the scenery and weather were perfect when I visited Hvar Island in September 2021. I would highly recommend adding this special place to your upcoming trip list. Just keep in mind that there is a seasonal nature to the island, so places aren’t open year round.
- Address: Riva 28, Stari Grad
- Hours: 7 days a week during the tourist season (April through October), 7:30am-2am (but closes for pižolot)
- Hospitality: 5.0, our waiter was great and brought out the bar manager to tell me about the bar once he heard I was into cocktails
- Atmosphere: 5.0, from the coiled rope ceiling to the sweeping harbor views, outdoor sipping at its finest
- Drinks: 5.0, not only were the drinks excellent, but they also incorporated local ingredients and unique flavors I hadn’t seen on a menu before
After nearly a week in Croatia, I had only had one good cocktail at a Michelin-star restaurant in Dubrovnik. When we arrived via car ferry to the island of Hvar, we checked into our hotel and went looking for Lampedusa. My husband had found it through a bartender in Split who said of all the bars in Hvar this place was not to be missed. And he was correct. The bar is operated by Marko Škarpa whose family has run the location as a cafe for a long time. Five years ago he decided to introduce cocktails. You can still get coffee and food, but cocktails are slowly taking center stage. The drinks are so good, in fact, I visited twice in the four days we were on Hvar.
Cocktails at Lampedusa
- Figgy Stardust was delicious, refreshing, and memorable. A riff on a whiskey highball, this drink incorporates locally grown figs in a fig and tonka bean cordial. With a base of Rebel Yell Bourbon and soda, and a few dashes of bitters with the cordial, you have a winner with this one.
- If you’re feeling like a tiki drink, the Pelingroso is for you. Made with a blend of Plantation rums, Pelinkovac bitter liqueur, lemon juice, habanero chili, mint, and pineapple juice the drink is as good as it sounds.
- The Wake Up is a real treat. It’s a combination of Broker’s gin, Italicus Rosolio, sage syrup, lemon juice, green apple, and soda. I might try to find some sage syrup and recreate this ray of sunshine.
- I recently worked on some delicious espresso martini riffs. While mine are good, Lampedusa’s Espresso Martini 2.0 (bottom) was out of this world. This version uses a Plantation rum blend, along with cacao liqueur, espresso, hazelnut orgeat, vanilla, and nutmeg to make your coffee cocktail dreams come true.
- Address: Kroz Burak 31, Hvar Town
- Hours: 7 days a week during the tourist season, 9am-1am
- Hospitality: 5.0, friendly and helpful staff
- Atmosphere: 5.0, very chill and relaxing environment
- Drinks: 5.0, delicious and interesting cocktails
BackLane is located down a pedestrian only street off of the main square, hence the name. While the town of Hvar can get quite busy and popular, the location of the bar is a hidden gem. Plenty of people still wandered past but it had that laid back Mediterranean vibe where no one is hurrying. Definitely a perfect place for drinks. We visited in the afternoon and enjoyed seasonal, farm-to-bar flavors. Although the bar started from a passion for whiskey, the menu has a wide variety of spirits to choose from.
I enjoyed the Por Supuesto. This beetroot infused tequila cocktail also had mezcal, lemon juice, and orgeat. So good! The drink on the right is the Waterloo. It’s made with Hendrick’s gin, Campari, lime and watermelon juices. And it’s as pretty as it was refreshing. We stayed about 25 minutes away from the town of Hvar (in Stari Grad) or I definitely would’ve visited again.
- Address: Dr. Mate Milicica 7, Hvar Town
- Hours: 7 days a week during the tourist season, 9am-2am
- Hospitality: 4.8, friendly but busy staff
- Atmosphere: 5.0, the outdoor space includes comfortable seating, a fountain, two Oleandra trees, and views of the main town square and the Cathedral of St. Stephen
- Drinks: 4.9, they are making solid drinks here
In 1755, the space served as a water well built for the family who lived there. (Hvar Island once produced 8% of the world’s supply of lavender, which is where the name of the bar comes from. Today, Hvar still produces lavender of very high quality but in lower quantities.) In 2002, the location was renovated to its original state and opened as Ka’Lavanda Bar. The business also operates a separate restaurant and an apartment for guests to rent. It’s the perfect, shaded spot to grab drinks and hang out with friends.
I enjoyed the signature cocktail, the Ka’Lavanda. Made with Ketel One vodka, Grand Marnier, strawberry puree, cranberry juice, basil leaves, and rose pepper, the drink is complex and delicious. And, yes, beautiful as well. My husband had the Zegroni, which I also tasted. It’s a blend of Zacapa 23 Años, Campari, Tanqueray No. 10, and bitters. A lovely rum twisted Negroni.
- Address: Uvala Maslinica 0, Stari Grad
- Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 5pm-10pm | Closed Mondays
- Hospitality: 5.0, very professional and helpful staff
- Atmosphere: 5.0, gorgeous views, comfortable seating, and complimentary light snacks
- Drinks: 4.5, good drinks but not as flavorful as I would expect given the ingredients involved
Located on the shorefront of Maslina Resort you’ll find a beach bar called A•Bay. It’s the perfect place to grab a drink and watch the sunset. Views extend to the Kabal peninsula. And, since Hvar experiences 2,800 sunshine hours per year, it’s the best place to lounge all day long. (Even though the bar has limited hours, you can still sit and gaze at the Adriatic Sea.) The bar and setting are so lovely, I shot a video to give you the full experience of it.
The drink on the left is the Maslina Old Fashioned. It is made with PX Sherry, Fino Sherry, grapefruit sherbet, and chocolate bitters. An interesting and delicious take on an Old Fashioned. I also enjoyed the house Whiskey Sour. It was a nice light drink before a trip to the spa. It’s a combination of bourbon, maslina-made pineapple and sage liqueur, lemon, sugar, and egg white. The drinks at the Beach Bar are also served at the resort’s main restaurant, so I had a couple of other cocktails during our stay that were very good. My only complaint was the price of the drinks, about triple what we paid at other bars in Hvar.
One More Bar in Hvar
If I had more time, I would’ve grabbed a water taxi over to the island of Palmižana which is close to Hvar Town to visit Laganini Lounge Bar & Fish Restaurant. I will definitely be back on Hvar some day.