Pushing the Boundaries Since Day One: Ghetto Club

Daniela Rogulj

There is one place within the palace walls with a turbulent history and the ability to never back down: therein lies Ghetto Club & Art Academy – frequented by locals, tourists, and everyone in between.

At the top of Dosud Street you will find Ghetto Club & Art Academy, a recognized academy of arts, bar, and art gallery. Ghetto Club, a large indoor and outdoor bar with an open courtyard garden, brings in a respectable roster of well known DJ’s, constantly ushering the crowd into a funk and disco daze. The walls are covered in art, constantly exhibiting local artists and encouraging patrons to imbibe within it. The place is the epitome of cool, but the road to acceptance has not been easy.

 

Having first opened in 1998, Ghetto Club opened initially as a school of arts. Upstairs in the building they housed professors and taught classes, but eventually could not maintain the profession and decided to build the next best thing: a bar.

 

After the War for Independence, the dynamic in Croatia as a whole had changed. Being accepting of new ideals or understanding progression didn’t come easily, and Ghetto Club felt they needed to open a platform for those that wanted to express themselves freely, be accepted, and not worry about any repercussions.

 

With that in mind, Ghetto Club actually became the first and only gay friendly bar in Split, and was known as an openly liberal institution. As you can imagine, being an openly liberal place in Split during these times was not taken lightly, and surviving through a right wing political agenda and extremism did not come easily. Ghetto experienced vandalism, shootings, stones being thrown into the club at patrons and even a planned and plotted fire, to name just a few of the incidences.

 

Later on in 2011 during the Split Pride parade, 500 special forces and police guards were dispatched to protect patrons of the parade and establishments such as Ghetto Club from any anti-liberal or anti-gay backlash, and that was only 5 years ago!

 

Fast forward to 2016 and things are definitely improving and moving into a positive direction. A massive tourist attraction in the summer, Ghetto Club is focused on creating a comfortable atmosphere in the garden courtyard and ensuring the exhibition of art inside so as to not lose sight of the old Ghetto principals. Ghetto Club crafts an intimate experience for its patrons, with various rooms built for smaller groups throughout the establishment, making you feel like you’re in the comfort of your own living room. The ghetto-like interiors are eccentric and bohemian, with old living room furniture and liberal murals painted all over the walls – a hipster’s paradise!

 

Ghetto Club works as a social organism, constantly trying to influence the city and people of Split while building values of cosmopolitanism, tolerance and altruism. During the evenings you can expect everything from live DJ’s to jewelry workshops to juggling, or you can sit in the courtyard in a low-tempo atmosphere with a beverage. Either way, Ghetto Club is pushing a positive influence on society through art where anything is possible.

 

Ghetto Club is constantly challenging the status quo, is always investing in new ideas and platforms, and at the end of the day, Ghetto exists to make you feel like you. We’re happy to have a place like Ghetto in our city.

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