Belgrade’s Klub 20/44 is an important spot for Vladimir Ivkovic. It’s one of many floating venues, bars and restaurants that line the Sava River close to where it meets the Danube. The venue looks out onto the centuries-old Belgrade Fortress, whereas a teenager Ivkovic would sneak through security fences and climb to the fortress’s highest point.
As well as being a hometown club, 20/44 is a place that offers Ivkovic total musical freedom. In that regard, it’s similar to the other venue he’s closely associated with, Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs, but something about 20/44 gives his sets a spirit, unlike any other gig he plays.
For 20/44’s ninth birthday, Ivkovic was billed for an extended set alongside another Salon favorite, Lena Willikens. The pair have started DJing together regularly these past 12 months, ever since a memorable night at De School in Amsterdam last year.
If 20/44’s interior resembles a shady strip club, that’s because it was, back in the ’90s, before the current owners Milivoje and Dobrosav Božović took over. With its sequinned red curtains and a metal pole in the middle of the dance floor, it’s an unlikely haven for open-minded dance music.
A thin wooden walkway links the boat to the shore, where people lining up wait expectantly, chaining up their bikes once they get aboard.