From punk to all that jazz- thirty years of a cult classic, Melin bar

Melin is not just a cool bar on the sidelines of Tkalciceva street. For the locals that were in the alternative scene when growing up at the turn of the century, it has a cult status. A bar that grew up along side them. In it’s thirty years long history it always stood out next to the numerous bars in Tkalciceva. For a long time it was a punk venue surrounded by posh bars. Hordes of young and old alternative types would fill the bar and it’s large patio, spilling over into the park in front of it. Decent folk would rise eyebrows, and daily newspapers would call it a gathering of delinquents, ignoring the fact that most of the delinquency came from the surrounding, now long gone, posh bars.

In the latter years it changed a few owners and concepts, trying to please everybody, slowly turning it into an average bar, with average pop music and no identity. Most regulars gave up on it and soon it stood empty with the name Melin spoken only in terms of ‘the good old days’.


Then, two years ago, came Renato Huljev. He saw the potential of the place and the name and wanted to revive it in his own vision. Renato had already built a reputation as a magician when it came to reimagining a down on its luck venue as a sprawling hotspot, and making it happen. He decorated more than thirty bars, clubs and restaurants in Zagreb that saw success afterwords. Melin was to be his pet project.

‘I saw it as a challenge. Taking a bar with so much history in its name, a bar who’s life cycle has ended and turning it upside down, creating something completely different with it.’, says Renato while tapping his hands in the rhythm of a jazz composition playing from an old vinyl player.

Jazz is what you’ll mostly hear in Melin now, and see. From the fifty flattened trumpets covering the sides of the bar, old TV sets that double for liquor cabinets and tables to an array of different salvaged chairs spread across the patio full of vintage lamps and makeshift tables, the place pays homage to jazz and improvisation.

‘I’ve spent a lot of time on flee markets and dumps searching for the right furniture and decoration. I’ve been collecting them for years knowing that one day I’d use them’, Renato admits.


When Melin reopened on July 1st 2013, the day Croatia entered the EU, it became an overnight hit. The news spread quickly by word of mouth and people from the old alternative scene started coming back, now all grown up, as doctors, lawyers, journalists, artists…and jazz lovers. And not just them. The variety of guests on any given day, from background to age, is large.

On weekends Melin hosts live jazz concerts when it can get a bit lively, but on most weeknights the music is set as a pleasant background to many a conversations held on the big patio. The place seems to have stroke a nice balance between a rompy jazz club and a chill jazz bar.


Melin remains a local favorite and is becoming more so for the tourists. So if you’re up for some jazz or just a night out in an interesting venue, Melin should be on your list of places to visit in Zagreb.