I only noticed Romansa, a Dorćol institution, when a friend of mine casually said it is where her mum likes hanging out with her neighbours.
I probably ran and cycled past it hundreds of times – my wannabe yuppie fitness fervour very much at odds with the languor of its patrons, who, no matter the time of day, hung out in its pleasant tiny overgrown garden, just across the the road from Bobe, one of the best burek bakeries in the city.
Despite always searching for new places that cater to new culinary and aesthetic trends, it is places like these that will be here for the long haul, as burgers, gelatos, tourists, cocktails and modish minimalism come and go, because places like these attract regulars and create connections, rather than just sell “experiences”.
It is these holes in the wall that can withstand pandemics and crises, thanks to their affordable less than RSD 100 coffees and cheap beers. So here is to Romansa… and Kod Ljube, Gusan, Kod Dragana, Bašta and Kajmakčalan… the real “community spaces” which “bring neighbourhoods together” and don’t need Instagram or blog write-ups of lobbying to find themselves in Best of Belgrade lists.