At 2am, it’s time to head to Klub 20/44, which everyone just refers to as “the boat”. Opened soon after KC Grad, marking the birth of Belgrade’s underground scene, the club is a former strip joint in a rickety ship on the Sava river.
Inside there are still red velvet curtains and poles, as well as brilliantly surreal touches like a gold statue of John Cleese doing “that walk” on the top deck. “The thing that made it so important was that it was the first club that was completely independent,” says Tijana, as the DJ drops another timeless disco edit behind us. “They even had it as a policy: no sponsors, no patrons. They were the first really honest club owners. I just get goosebumps everytime I think about it. I just love to be there, to play there. It’s magic.”
We’re joined by one of its founders, Milivoje Bozovic, who is tall and lean with wild hair and the well-earned nickname “goofy”. “For a long time, we weren’t able to travel,” he explains. “We wanted to bring international DJs to the people here, to make people here feel like they’re also part of the world.” Even though they were rarely able to pay DJs competitive rates, the draw – or magic – of the boat was so strong that DJs actually started asking to play there. The music policy is diverse – everything from funk to grime to footwork. Tijana dreamily recounts a summer party there when she DJd till noon: “No one ever left. The waiters were begging people to stop …”