Visit The Writers’ Club

Date: 29-04-2020

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In the very center of the city, only a minute or two from Sky apartments Francuska and Vasina, in Francuska no.7, is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Belgrade – The Writers’ Club. The restaurant is recognized for its seventy-five years of history, excellent service, and a beautiful interior. Klub Knjizevnika hosted some of the greatest stars of domestic and international cinema, literature, fine arts and music, as well as many, local and international, politicians and diplomats.

The Writers club restaurant was founded in 1946. by the Association of Writers of Serbia, whose premises are still upstairs above the restaurant, and which was closed to the public for many years. In most cases it was visited only by writers, those who had a membership card. Occasionally, with the written recommendation of one of the members of the association, the restaurant guest could have been an individual who was not a member, but these cases were extremely rare. For the first few years, the restaurant served only coffee and fruit, and since 1952. the menu has been supplemented with soups and salads. Today, the restaurant boasts a large selection of Serbian specialties, but also a rich selection of wines and brandies.

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A favorite place for celebrities

At the initiative of the state leadership, the Writers Club opened its doors in 1954. and became open to all. From that moment many musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, film directors and politicians became frequent guests. Being a guest of the restaurant and having a permanent table reservation has become a matter of prestige, both because of the decreasing number of vacant tables and, on the other hand, because of the famous people who gathered there. Regular guests of the restaurant were Zoran Radmilović, Bata Stojković, Olivera Katarina, Žorž Skirgin, Radoš Novaković, Dragan Malešević Tapi, Petar Lubarda and many others. During festivals such as FEST, BEMUS and BITEF, the restaurant’s guests were world stars such as Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Wales, Richard Barton, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brandon, Sofia Loren and Robert de Niro.

First fights and arrests

Due to the large number of political debates, especially those that spoke out against the authorities, occasional restaurant guests were also members of the intelligence services. So in his newspaper column, Momo Kapor recalls the situation from 1966 in which his good friend, Miodrag Bulatović was detained. He was detained because of the criticism he has made about the economic reforms undertaken by the socialist government. Among other things, the restaurant staff remembers the debate between Danilo Kiš and Branimir Šćepanović, which eventually resulted in a fight. This brawl is significant because it is considered to be the first brawl to take place there.

A place where new political ideas were born

The 1980s and 1990s brought major political changes, related to socialist Yugoslavia, which had a huge impact on all spheres of society. The Writers club did not remain immune to these changes, and neither were the restaurant guests who came less and less from artistic circles. The restaurant is becoming a place of advocacy for new political ideas aimed at abandoning the one-party system and moving to a democratic system of government. The most famous proponents of these ideas, as well as guests of the Writers Club, were Zoran Djindjić, Vojislav Koštunica and Vuk Drašković. Such political meetings, complemented by the presence of Western diplomats, were a kind of magnet for the increased presence of members of the national security services, domestic and foreign, who, like in Hollywood movies, disguised as civilians, sat a few tables away and carefully wrote down everything that guests had to say.