In our new column Meet a local we present interesting individuals from different professional fields living in Belgrade. The idea is to get to know some locals and their favorite neighborhoods and venues in the city.

Please introduce yourself to our readers:

I’m Nikola, a hotelier by profession, sociologist and communicologist by education, marketing manager in everyday life, explorer in my spare time, and optimist in general.

People are often confused and I intentionally lead them to this confusion (what do I exactly do?!) since I cannot define and reduce all my passions into one category, but yes, I am a hotelier for almost 15 years.

In this period I always choose or they choose me, the hotels with a story to tell, with soul, either with tradition or we made a new tradition with everything we did. I love hotels and everything about them. Breakfast in a hotel, the thing that you can never lock the door of your office and finish the day, the uniqueness of every day ahead of you, you can never know whom you will meet that day, and people and new contacts are what inspire me the most.

Has there been a new project lately?

Yes, definitely. My current inspiration is one of the oldest hotels in the city, Hotel Metropol, a member of the Marriott family, to be precise a Luxury Collection Hotel, and it is so rewarding to have the opportunity to be close to that brand and learn a lot, combined with everyday opportunities a hotel with tradition from more than 60 years can give you. Hallways that keep the secrets, all the famous people that marked the history of the city, but even nowadays, we had Edward Norton or Robert Davy, but for me, every guest, interesting figure, low profile that I meet on a daily basis, inspire me more to accomplish my role of Marketing Manager.

What do you like about Belgrade?

Ooo, where to start. Everything, and to be honest since I have the chance to speak about it on a daily basis I learn how much all the recommendations to our dear guests of Belgrade are great since we have old and new, tradition and modern, ugly and beautiful, and somewhere in between those contrasts, lies the true love and soul of this city. I like the fact that you can easily get lost in the old part of the town, use the art and creative scene and its energy, let yourself go to foodie spots, walk, look at the rivers, anything you set your mind to can be done and that diversity is what makes it unique and spectacular.

Where do you like to go out?

To be honest I rarely go out, in a sense of enjoying the clubbing scenes. I am a morning person, so my favorite going out is to grab breakfast, coffee, croissant or to see if the local farmers market has something new seasonal to display.

Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?

Since I like to explore new authentic food spots and chefs that make wonders,

I cannot decide, but can maybe recommend some of the unique places you need to put on your bucket list for this cold weather. When it’s rainy, windy, I cannot find a better solution than to cozy up a bit with comfort food and genuine culinary artistry in Bistro Mali Pijac.

I think that every guest of the city or Belgradian needs to know about Klub Knjizevnika, or try Serbian plates with a twist in New Balkan Cuisine Iva. Why? Because of Nikola, Branko, and Vanja.

Where do you drink coffee?

This is an even harder question. But let’s reduce the choice to Family Cup when in New Belgrade, Cafeteria Gardos when in Zemun, and I will say whichever Kafeterija, yes that is so obvious choice but I like to say big thank you for spreading the ritual of coffee, good interior, barista skills to a new generation and making the change throughout the city.

Family cup, Cafeteria Gardos, and Kafeterija are Nikola’s fav places for coffee drinking

all photo credits@nikolamilovic

Nikola is a great Instagrammer. Please follow him here:

Where do you spend your leisure time?

Walking and walking and exploring. But now more than ever I like to go to the movies, and usually, my choices are with empty movie seats so I have all the time for myself. I recently enjoyed the biopic of Aretha Franklin, and so look forward to a documentary about Anthony Bourdain (see Free Zone Film Festival), but on everyone’s to-do list is Gucci for sure.

And every exhibition is a way of inspiration, recent presentation of Jadran Lazic VIP portraits in Arte Gallery is one of those to remember for sure, but I look forward to Art Weekend Belgrade in ex Hotel Belgrade which is going to be held next week.

And for sure searching for hidden treasures, old manufactures, nice fashion stores, bakeries and sweet kingdoms throughout the town.

I think there is a whole new gentlemen community rising up, and it uplifts me when I see we can find handmade ties, shoes, maid-to-measure suits, vintage record stores, barbershops, or anything similar, this gives me a sign that we are on the right track.

Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice.

New Belgrade. The place I was born and where I spend most of my free time, close to the river, wide boulevards, coffee in the hood, a nice walk in the rain or snow, a combination of brutalism and parks, state of art architecture, graffiti scene, this part of town is in my code.

Zemun. The place where I went to high school and use every opportunity to visit the riverside, farmers market, or some new cute little place, is my inspiration every season.

Vracar, the place that I work in, Krunska street, Kalenic market, and all the artisan scenes around it.

But in the end, I would like to discover to your readers (as you expect from me) one hidden gem of Belgrade.

On the 10th floor of Metropol Palace, The Twenty Two restaurant with 360 views and Belgrade on your palm.

That is my secret pleasure, I spend almost my whole working there in search of inspiration by watching the city goes by, rooftops of Belgrade, next to a fireplace and with Archive ritual, and old school treat like we are back in the days when Belgrade was THE  IT city, but believe me, it still is, you just need to believe in it as much as I do.