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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Zagreb's Culty & Kooky "Klub Purgeraj" Closes Doors After 10 Years (Photos)

I'm not going to write a lot here or translate any articles. The club and restaurant biz is hit and miss, clubs come and go all the time, but at least a generation in Zagreb had a funky edgy hip place to go to that was different from the rest and sort of special. (although there are very similar places). In a nutshell, the popular kult "Klub Purgeraj" (In Croatian pronounced: "Purger-eye") in Zagreb closed it's doors just a few days ago after bringing 10 years of awesomeness and being home to various live acts in Zagreb.  (I've known about this place for a number of years which is why I had to go). I finally checked this place out myself within hours of landing in Zagreb in summer '11.  I totally by chance hooked up with a Spanish chick who was staying at the same place I was and we met up with her friends there. (They were doing that European tour thing and just arrived from Prague, or was it Budapest? I forget, they were leaving the next night for Italy, or was it Greece or Germany? I forget again). We had a blast and didn't get home until about 4 am. (There was even still plenty of people hanging out at the park that's located nearby, part of the park is actually part of the back lounging around area). There was a good selection of D.J. music playing, no live band playing this night and it wasn't even the weekend yet either, a Wednesday or Thursday I think, I bumped into a number of people from other countries who were doing that summer Euro-tour thing. I don't know what the official club capacity is by law, I'd say 150-200 ballpark figure, but that night there was still at least over 350 people.

Klub Purgeraj was a popular place to hang out for anyone who was into cool indie/rock music, live music, comedy shows, dancing if that's your thing, or just hanging out and sitting back with some cold ones. The night I was there, there  wasn't live music, but it was packed, good tunes were playing, the beer was cold and.....that's as far as I'm getting into my own personal time spent there. It was fun and much better than any of the rotten places I had the misfortune to visit here over the years. I was meeting and talking to people left and right, and what made it especially cool....IN was fucking awesome, some of the people even thought I was a local that's how cool, I was privy already to some local lingo and tips etc.  I remember when walking back to my place, which was just a 10 minute walk from central downtown Zagreb, I passed by the park with still tons of people hanging out, some drinking or smoking, and then passing through the medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Old Town) district to pass out in my bed. ( I was up over 24 hours, jet lagged,  it was still pretty hot even at night and I forget how many beers I had). That walk back was so cool I remember, there was still people walking around and hanging out, and the cobbled roads combined with the orange/yellowish street lights was pretty f'n cool. Complete opposite of Calgary where I arrived from that time. (I suddenly recall how much I'd rather chop off both of my hands than ever set foot in that wasteland again). Regarding this subject of bars, pubs places to drink and hang out etc, I think Croatians don't know how good they have it, and are quite ignorant and oblivious about bar "scenes' on this side of the pond, probably watching too many movies or seen too many commercials. This can extend to malls, schools, next door neighbors etc and so on. Too many reruns of b.s sitcoms also maybe. One person thought black people date Chinese and Japanese people here all the time. lol, I don't know what planet they were from or where they get their information. lol, what a dum-dum. But I digress....

I threw this pic of me and my new Spanish friend and her friends just as proof that I was here, it was already September at the time. (I edited myself because I didn't sleep in over 28 hours, was jet lagged beyond belief, had a few too many and it was hot, humid and sweaty summer night. I don't like to be seen tired and sweaty unless I'm doing sweaty things or sports, that's the way I roll). I highly recommend getting some sleep and maybe a bite to eat before heading out to a Zagreb bar or a club too, you'll thank me. 

This place was popular with student types, rocker/indie/alternative musician/artist types and well, just about anyone I guess. There was never a dress-code, Euro-trash at it's finest. (I tried like hell to buy a "Klub Purgeraj" staff tshirt off one of the bartenders because he seemed about my size, but the tee's were only allowed to be worn by staff. (Those are the kind of souvenir tee's I like, not those typical off the shelf kinds that anyone can buy, I tried to get some other ones from some other cool bars in the area over the next while, but they were out of my size). It wasn't a huge club, there are bigger ones among the many places to go to in Zagreb, but this one had that very inviting ambiance and feel to it, very cozy. No psuedo-ghetto or celebrity wannabee posing, just fun fun fun and good tunes. I looked into it and during the 10 years that Klub Purgeraj was open, they didn't have even 1 stabbing or shooting, that's good to know, just fun, fun, fun like I said. I think that's partly because if someone fucked up and did do some shit, then they better pray to their god, or whatever it is they pray to, that the cops find him before certain unnamed individuals who shall remain nameless do, if you know what I mean, (see related Croatian beers post).

The owners of the klub Žedno Uho (which in Croatian means "Thirsty Ear") and who also organize music festivals, have already opened up another place on the premises of the Klovićevi Dvori (but it's going to be tough to beat the reputation and following that "Klub Purgeraj" developed over the years). Many local and European//foreign musical acts and entertainers passed through the club's doors, and it started to develop a reputation as a sort of local CBGB's, a place to see and hear non-mainstream acts, new and creative music and entertainment etc. The people behind the klub organize music festival's in Zagreb and elsewhere in Croatia, so that is their primary function, but hopefully their new Zagreb digs will carry on the tradition of good music, entertainment acts and atmosphere of ol' Klub Purgeraj, but I doubt it because the new place is taking a different approach. (Recent opening night story Here). Anyway, more information and more images at the links. (I put some pics at the bottom, for those people who ever, or never, spent time there, pics some can look at and remember and say "Hey, I was there") 

*(Note- I enjoy doing posts like this, showing that Croatia, in this case the city of Zagreb, isn't all just historical sites and the usual touristy stuff, (which is all nice and all)..but there's much more than meets the eye. That was the whole purpose of this blog, a lot has happened since Croatia got electricity and the internet way back in 2008. To show that Croatia is much more than just beaches, history, sports these days or all those touristy summer brochure/poster images)


Footage of some stuff that went on over the years.

Tarsier Quartet in Purgeraj by TransmeetTv

Tito & Tarantula in purgeraj zagreb by TransmeetTv

Pink Studio @ Purgeraj by TransmeetTv

Depeche mode tribute with Trash Mode in purgeraj by TransmeetTv

Jacinto Canek in Purgeraj by TransmeetTv

Some last looks at the inside of Klub Purgeraj as we all remembered it. More photos Here

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