Milk: First Gay Bar in Dubrovnik to Open this Weekend

Daniela Rogulj

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Ever since it was announced that ‘Milk,’ the first gay bar in Dubrovnik, will be located on Marojice Kaboge Street in the historic center, there has been a lot of buzz. The comments are mostly positive, which is not surprising when Dubrovnik has long been known as a gay-friendly city. Among the shortcomings, Dubrovnik lacks somewhere the LGBT population could gather, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

Enter Milk, opening this Saturday in Dubrovnik at 8 pm, with an offer that will be more diverse than other bars in the city.

“The name was inspired by Harvey Milk, an American politician and activist who fought for the rights of gays. Milk is the first public homosexual to be elected to public office in California or San Francisco. After all, the name is effective and easy to remember for both locals and foreigners,” explains the co-owner of Dubrovnik’s first gay bar, Vicko Lazo.

Due to limited space and narrow and dead-end streets, approximately 150 people will be invited to attend the opening. As Vicko Lazo points out, the program will be started by cellist Ana Rucner, and the main performer will be a surprise. 

“We won’t reveal everything. It will be a music and dance spectacle. This official part of the program lasts until 9:30 pm when the facility opens to the public,” says Lazo and notes:

“This bar is intended for the LGBT community. It is designed that way, and we stick to the plan and profile ourselves as a gay bar. Many ask if heterosexuals are welcome? Everyone who spreads love and tolerance and has good intentions without any prejudices and condemnations is welcome because ‘Milk’ is a place that spreads freedom, love, and happiness.”

Asked how the opening of the first official gay bar in Dubrovnik and Dalmatia has aroused so much public interest, Lazo said:

“At the moment, we are mostly focused on the opening and the program, so we are not even aware of how many people are talking about it and how they anticipate the opening. Incredible! The comments of the younger population are mostly positive, and some people find it difficult to accept. We are different, so our views are so different. One should not enter into it or condemn it, but respect everyone’s right to their own opinion.”

In addition to professional staff and signature cocktails, DJs will enhance the mood every night. Various themed parties will be organized, including drag queen performances, as an artistic expression to bar performances.

Since caterers are struggling to find a workforce, which is especially pronounced this season, the co-owner of Milk commented on their status:

“It was not a problem; we even had to make a selection. Open-minded people know that the gay population brings good and quality guests. Many girls have contacted us for work, so the team is mixed; there are both women and men.”

He points out that the restaurant looks superb and has been renovated and refurbished in record time, in just three months. He emphasizes that one of the owners, Dubrovnik caterer Tomislav Ivušić, is most responsible for the design and details in the space, along with two top architects.

“We put a lot into the design, and it looks great. The best London members club, “Annabel’s” by the famous architect Martin Brudnizki was our starting point, so this space is dominated by mirrors, velvet, colorful flowers, animal patterns – and that’s just part of the details.

In this whole story, we mainly focused on air conditioning and ventilation where it is not intended for smoking, especially the sound system, sound insulation, and lighting,” says Ivušić, who decided on this business move because he does not doubt its success. He revealed how he came up with the idea and finally brought it to life. 

“On one occasion, I heard a guest comment, “whoever opens a gay bar in Dubrovnik will make it,” and I did not immediately attach importance. On one occasion, Vicko said that such a bar is lacking in the city, which is a favorite of the gay population.

After all, it is surprising how many members of the LGBT community visit Dubrovnik even out of season. I also have gay friends who often say that we don’t have a gay bar. Through talking to business partners, we concluded, “let’s open a gay bar.” Everything else is history,” says Ivušić and continues:

“Now, so many people come to me and say, “I thought about this 5-10 years ago”, and they probably did – but they did not dare to make it happen. I believe that when a man is confident in what he is, in his sexual orientation, there is no reason to be afraid of anything else.

All those men who spit talk about it with contempt and fear; more and more, I think they’re not sure about themselves and their sexuality. Maybe they are afraid that they will not like it,” the Dubrovnik caterer said.

He adds that it was necessary to renovate the space, equip the premises and find staff, and now it is up to colleagues to do the work. He also mentions that they asked the City to rent the public space in front of the bar, which is at the end of the dead-end, but they are still waiting for an answer.

So, what is expected of Dubrovnik’s exclusive gay bar? Ivušić answered briefly – “a good season.”

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.


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