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23. 07. 2021.

Beton hala (Concrete Hall) – Beating Heart of Belgrade

One of the most popular locations for a night (or day) out in Belgrade is the Concrete Hall (Beton hala) at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers. It’s located just below Kalemegdan fortress in the old part of the city, on the Sava port.

Long before the warehouses were built in 1939, Belgrade trade center grew on the site of today’s Concrete Hall. We are talking about the time of Prince Miloš, when there were no railways, and the roads were dangerous and unsafe. All trade was done by ships. And so it continued later. Boatmen used the Sava port much more than the Dorćol port (on the Danube) because it was sheltered from squally southeastern winds.

Ships were able to come as close as to today’s tram rails, which was the coast at the time, and from there they unloaded their goods into warehouses in Karađorđeva Street. These warehouses were actually lagoons connected to the dock by ramps. There were as many as 15 of them, and many of them are still the best-kept secret of Belgrade. They once stored everything from grains, dried fruit, and wine to any other goods that were trading. Keep in mind it’s the time before the refrigerators and freezer. The temperature in these lagoons was low and stable, regardless of the season, so the goods were safe.

Later, the river bank was moved by the embankment to today’s location. After that, at the beginning of the 20th century, this area was the center of Belgrade industrial zone. Warehouses were built, bohemian life slowly moved towards the city center, and finally, the famous “concrete plant” was built, which was a chain of goods-port-railway warehouses for decades. Unfortunately, over the years it has been abandoned and became a landfill and scorn of the shoreline.

And then, at the beginning of this century, it experienced a renaissance. Architect Aleksandar Rodić presented his idea of conceptual space. He slowly bought out spaces from companies that went bankrupt, and with the support of the city, he managed to create a new cultural and gastronomic hub in Belgrade. Concrete Hall shined again. Several restaurants were opened for which a reservation is still needed today, not because of exclusivity but because of high demand, then a gallery, a furniture salon, and then clubs. For a long time, there was also an open space restaurant used for weddings and other types of celebrations.

Renovation came at the same time as tourists all over the globe started visiting Belgrade more and more. Due to the growing interest, Belgrade decided to use its most beautiful and best potentials for tourism – rivers. We slowly started to descend to the river banks, a bicycle path and a promenade were built in front of the Concrete Hall. Over time, the parking lot was moved above the hall and all of this made quite a buzz internationally. Belgrade justified its nickname “fun city”.

Stop by Beton Hala and enjoy a gastronomic paradise – from Mexican cuisine, Italian specialties, Asian delicacies to Balkan ones. Everything is on the menu. Top-quality cocktails, great coffee, and all that accompanied by music of your liking. Wherever you sit, you won’t make a mistake. Lean back, sip your drink, look at the river and enjoy the view.