Skopje and Orhid are the center of restaurants and nightlife in Macedonia, although Skopje’s recent revision of its licensing laws has seen the end of late-night dance parties and other revelry, even on weekends. Casinos are found in the major city hotels, and dining options range from high end eateries to back-street stalls favored by locals for their traditional dishes. The city’s Universal Hall and City Stadium hold frequent mass concerts featuring international performers, while cineplexes in the malls show captioned movies.

Bars and Pubbing in Macedonia

Skopje is crowded with pubs, bars, discos, and nightclubs, with favorites strung out along the banks of the River Vardar in the main square, Old Bazaar and City Park area. Many bars offer live music, including jazz, traditional folk and the latest in contemporary sounds. Themed pubs are popular, with St Patrick Irish Pub (Kej 13 Novemvri, Skopje) a regular hangout for expats. La Bodeguita del Medio (13 Novemvri, Skopje) is just down the street and is a lively place that also serves great food. La Kaldrma (Old Bazaar, Skopje) is a rustic wine bar offering a choice of 30 Macedonian vinos.

For a unique experience, a visit to a Kafana is a must. These traditional music clubs are an institution in Macedonia, featuring free-flowing drinks, live folk, table dancing and crazy fun for all. Summer Clubs are another institution, held in the open air in city parks around established nightclubs. One of the best is Summer Club Cabrio, (City Park, Skopje), while the Colosseum and Element hold their own versions at the same venue. For those who don’t dare miss a match, Shankly’s Pub (Llindenska, Skopje) is the Irish sports bar to catch a game on tv.

Ohrid nightlife hasn’t yet succumbed to midnight closure and is a hub for party animals every night of the week. Home to some of the hottest clubs in Eastern Europe, the city comes alive in the summer for all-night raves on the beaches around Lake Ohrid, while the sophisticated indoor clubs attract fashionistas, celebrities and international guests. Kliment Ohridshi Street is the main drag for nightlife, and Club Nemo (City Square, Ohrid) is the "it" place to see and be seen.

Dining and Cuisine in Macedonia

Eating out in Skopje is refreshingly inexpensive and there’s a good variety of cuisines on offer. International restaurants are springing up like mushrooms, and local cuisine is available for all budgets. For a quirky blast to the past in a traditional lodge setting, Kaj Marshalot (Guro Gacovic 8, Skopje), is a fusion of Lenin busts, Tito posters, communist tracts and waiters in Young Pioneer costumes. For a more conventional, even traditional venue, Restaurant 14 (Londonska, Taftalidze, Skopje) serves chef-inspired Macedonian food including macrobiotic and veggie dishes.

Oreov Lad (Saradjska 1, Skopje) offers traditionally prepared ancient recipes as well as King Marko-style cuisine. Game dishes are a specialty here, with the upscale Hunter Lodge (Kamnic, Skopje) serving the best, accompanied by a huge wine list. For a cool late night treat, Trend Café (Maksim Gorky 2/4, Skopje) has a huge cocktail menu, great salads and a fine mist of refreshing water in the sweltering high summer months.

Ohrid trout (Ohridska pastrmka) from the city’s lake is the favorite here and, although catching and cooking the endangered fish is illegal, many eateries advertise the delicacy. As a major tourist destination, Ohrid has a good selection of international and Macedonian restaurants, as well, many romantically set on the lakefront. Restoran Neim (Goce Delcev, Ohrid) offers traditional meat-heavy foods, an extensive wine list and great prices, while Antiko (Car Samuil 30, Orhid) remains the city’s most popular eatery, located in a historic building.