Under a bridge that is a main artery for traffic through Podgorica, an impressive, white banja plays host to daily patrons looking for a coffee, book, or conversation fix. The banja (Turkish for bathhouse) is known today as Karver Bookstore, but bookstore only provides a surface level understanding of what it is and what could be.
Karver was opened in 2005. It was a local spot. A place where the Podgorica culture was on display through people gathering. A local friend recently told me that it was the place to be. Montenegrin musicians, artists, and writers put their work on display for others to see and hear.
Over the last decade, Karver’s influence has waned a bit. This is the unfortunate result of having a bridge placed over the top. Today, it remains hidden to the traveler and generally undiscussed a place to visit. For us, it is one of the best locales to enjoy a refreshing drink, conversation, and nature. Despite the hiddenness, Karver retains some of its influence by hosting an annual artists festival that involves writers, musicians, and filmmakers coming from all over the Balkans.
Vibe: Relaxed. Great for conversation or when needing a place to reflect.
Recommendations: Enjoy the scenery outside and take the time to peruse the books inside. Occasional foreign titles and translations can be found.
Notes: A bit of honesty here… coffee is not the best. The ambiance makes up for it. As a coffee “snob,” I happily go to Karver for the atmosphere alone. People are usually friendly, and its easy to strike up a conversation with locals or other foreigners.
Place: Novi most, Podgorica, Montenegro; Novi Most means New Bridge. It is exactly under a bridge. Any taxi driver or local will be able to get you in the right direction.
For more on coffee in the area, check the Best Coffee Shops in the Balkans.
Also, here are the best places to stay in Podgorica.