It can be hard to find accurate information about late-night alcohol sales in Serbia. Many sites that have articles about the licensing laws sate supermarkets in Serbia are not allowed to sell alcohol after 10 O’clock at night. This information is outdated and wrong.
When I arrived in Serbia and discovered there was 24-hour supermarket a few minutes walk from my apartment I became curious about the Serbian alcohol licensing hours so I did what I always do—I looked for the answer online.
When I used the search term “licensing hours alcohol Serbia”, the top answer in the SERPS was an article published by Balkan Insight. It was dated February 12, 2011. That’s old news—in more ways than one.
According to the article, the sale of alcoholic beverages in Serbian supermarkets and shops was banned between 10 pm and 6 am. Belgrade was apparently the third Serbian city to implement the ban.
The ban on late-night alcohol sales was introduced to try and reduce underage drinking in Serbia.
When I changed my search term I found an article on another site that was telling the same, old story. Yet, when I visited the local supermarket I saw plenty of guys perusing the alcohol aisles after 10 pm at night. That made it pretty obvious the information I’d found on the internet was wrong.
I found a supermarket worker and asked him about the alcohol licensing hours in Serbia. He told the ban on late-night alcohol sales hadn’t lasted for long.
However, the supermarket worker gave me some additional information. Apparently, although the ban on late-night alcohol sales in Serbia has been lifted, there are special restrictions that come into play for supermarkets and stores located near football stadiums. If there’s a game on, and only if there is a game on, the ban comes back into force for the establishments in that particular zone.
My local Maxi supermarket is very close to the Rajko Mitic Stadium so, if there is a game on, it cannot sell alcohol after 10 pm at night.
Since then, I’ve done some additional research and it appears the ban was lifted in 2015. If that information is correct the ban remained in force for nearly five years. The article I found also states the ban on late-night alcohol sales did not have the required effect. It reduced trade by 30% while also delivering a 9.9% increase in unemployment.
Anyway, if you were looking for information about licensing hours or late night alcohol sales in Serbia, I hope this blog post helps. Things could change in the future, I suppose, but it does not seem likely. However, in June 2019, this blog was accurately reporting the “state of play” with late-night alcohol sales in Serbian shops.
As for normal bars, most of them shut at 12:00 AM, but night clubs and venues with special licences can go on serving alcohol right through the early hours of the morning. There are a lot of night clubs in Belgrade that don’t close until 5 AM.
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