Interwar Cluj Parties: Bad pubs, dancers, top-priced booze, student brethren with servants and Shabbat, Holy Wage Day. Great stories from the press at the time

Today Cluj has become a place of pilgrimage for many party-goers. We have famous festivals that gather hundreds of thousands of people, we have a center full of bars and cafes, we have nightclubs, cinemas, downtown life…but how did it happen in Cluj in the interwar period, have you wondered? A period considered – by many historians – the most prolific in modern Romania. We have looked at several weather reports that we present to you below. You will see that many things have not changed.

artist by definition

According to an article from the Romanian nation published on July 4, 1936 under the title „Nightlife in Cluj – Cluj – the most infernal peaceful city – the boredom of Cluj. How do the people of Cluj spend their white nights? The people of Cluj began to attend the two cinemas in the area, after which they went out to enjoy. The authors say that the picnics were almost every night, and sometimes people began to argue about where to spend, but after disagreements they ended up, unequivocally, in the worst places, with a polluted and very expensive drink, with the dancers. Amazing extra charge, places were immediately replaced by others, but the end of the night/morning was the same.

“Every night, the people of Cluj begin to look for a place to party. Such a thing is necessary. How will you spend if you do not find the right place. Then the raid begins in taverns and gardens (summer), a raid from which it eventually descends into taverns as if others were no worse. The beginning by each Clujan, an artist by definition and claims in one of the two good cinemas, where the bad films are currently shown. Then, on the way out, the people of Cluj, distributors to goats and groups, begin negotiations in order to go down to a bar with the best wine or the best music. Contrasting opinions lead to disputes in which the argument develops into a quarrel and scandal, so that in the end they always agree on a place always with the most hit wine, the worst music and the most wonderful sums to be paid. Without much discussion, the place will change. And because the time marks the beginning of the program in the tapes, everyone’s steps are moving towards them this time without discussion. But what can you see, when the points of the program repeated themselves for more than a whole year with hint smiles of ugly dancers and with amazing surcharges on inedible consumption.”

After a night has been missed in all respects, you might think another one is coming. Not so, the authors say here, and the fun ultimately led to immeasurable regret. Cluj is described as an “evil town” that you should not live in.

“And then, resigned one, you come home and mourn the misfortune of being a citizen of this sinful city. But slowly, you slowly give up the evening strolls and nightlife of Cluj. Retired at a Inside with lower vaults or with distant ceilings, your sadness chews in fragments of sentences that torment your memory of knowing the suggestive terms, you pull your hair, your hair on your head.”

How were the students?

Another article, “IOV Student Home”, published on November 18, 1936, in the same publication, describes the way students live in Cluj. According to the report, those who studied at the University (King Ferdinand La) lived together, in different groups, similar to the so-called fraternities in American universities, if you will. In addition, they hired chefs and two or three servants who shopped. Students from Interwar Cluj had coffee in the morning, three or four dishes at lunch, and two more in the evening.

“In order to keep the waste as small as possible, the orphan students (a term used for those without family nearby, mostly from other parts) regulars in the community hired only the necessary staff: a cook and 2-3 servants. Since then, everything is done from for them and for them. Every day two “service” students go to the market to buy meat, vegetables, etc. He closely supervises the preparation of food (…). In this way, in addition to the students’ direct contact with the realities of life, they also monitor every Training closely, and they think about making as much savings as possible.The food is also great: coffee in the morning, 3-4 kinds in the noon and two in the evening.Next to the residence building on Tonari Street (General Traian Moyo today – No.), in the same courtyard, There is another building where the student dormitories have been installed. It is an old house with arched walls on the outside but clean on the inside. The ‘inside’ students are not ‘in the dorm’ but form a whole family in which perfect harmony reigns. When the servant is late for a glass, they clean themselves in the broom rooms , they arrange the beds and “sing”.

The man has a life

The biggest parties were held on Saturday as now. At the time, Saturday was often a payday. Saturday was a celebration of wine and delicious food and a Sunday’s rest eve. Here is what journalists write in 1937, in an article published on January 17 entitled: „Saturday night… human life – “Bergar’s hand and take me into the night” – wine, song, women – “rich my gypsy romance”.

“After a grueling six long days’ work in this wonderful winter, after so many sales in dark factories and offices. Saturday evening, wine and delicious food celebrate, and feast eve: Sunday. On Saturday night, paychecks are received. On Saturday night, the woman weighs more Under the weight of eye shadows and also on Saturday night the windows seem brighter in the heat of electricity, the more restless sidewalks in pursuit of the turbulent caravan, the more frequent appointments and more gentle smiles … The evening of hot drunks, it is the end of a working week in which our foreheads wrinkle, It is the very brandy of this winter, who wants to drug us, to make us forget.An evening dedicated every week to a woman, her woman proud to be a fetish.
The man has a life. Far from the erotic luxury of this center full of intrigues, blushes, sidewalk philosophers, and green poverty, in taverns drowning in frivolous songs, tobacco smoke, and the stench of vulgarity, all the hard bodies of our poverty are spent. I spend it to drown the poison of days in a glass bottom, or forget the filthy mess of the house, or because …
A person has a life. Sing me a gypsy. And the gypsy does not let himself soak. He puts his ear to the wedge and sighs From the bottom of his embers and his singing: Who made the tavern on the road / He did not make it crazy / He made it good / Who entered it to sing. The city streets come alive at night only after the audience has left the last seats of the shows and after a heavy aperitif with Bacchus nectar. Only then the knights of the White Nights look for their friends in various nightclubs, and gather them for advice at a clean table in a “live” restaurant, where wine is served as expensive as it is bad. This advice continues for a long time until the fourth. Those long winter nights are only beautiful when paper wallets can still handle all the extravagance. late after they were
All the impressions conveyed, after parading the long line of beautiful women, after much worship in remembrance of the past youth, each threw himself into the trunk of a tower or a scrap taxi and ‘Hand burgers / And Duomo in the night / As far as possible / Wherever you want’… The sounds that came were delayed by the staggering pressure of alcohol.

Wine, song and women

Student meeting places are the liveliest and most requested for a “big style” party frequented by the battalion of beautiful women. There are places where the sigh of the violin, accompanied by a serious double bass, is always in competition with the rumble of nostalgic songs. “Why did you take me away from you” he sighs in tears of remorse from a secluded table and in a moment the whole hall sings in the choir. These places have a bit of a train station joy, when long trains wait to take young boys to the front of difficult battles, at the forefront of the struggle for life that is just beginning. Drink a lot, drink youthfully, drink every Saturday night for the following reasons:

The song comes and the woman/I love the three.

Women are flattered. I look through my eyelashes with lively smiles, cute smiles … oh, the smile of a beautiful woman … sing, gypsy …
I passed through Hai Hui like that with flashes of lamps and a stinging fringe. I often creep into a street corner like a villain, forcing myself to paint the sergeant I know must walk the street, to look after traffic at lame and drunken rails measuring the width of the asphalt. Somewhere in the distance, an owl shrieked and a dog barked at me.
Bad sign! But I have no time to think because a belated orchestra hums to a dear, long-forgotten song: “Gypsies sing romance / To a woman I love / I sip from her …”.

But… I go ahead. It’s late… it’s Saturday night and cold.. cold.. beat the blizzard in the empty sack. Others pour brandy, sew drunks, and start singing…of course without permission. “

Loss in gambling halls

Also in January, on the twenty-second of 1937, journalists described Cluj as the city of doom, where young people get lost in night caves, in gambling. The press at that time reported in an anti-Semitic tone that young people were losing money to “foreign whores”. Article appeared with the title “Cluj, the city of doom. The school’s youth were harmed in the caves of the night.”

„(…) Tripoures (gambling hall – no) Especially in young people, the caves have a fatal decline. Young children sent by parents with many difficulties to make a career, losing their sleep in lost places, recklessly spending the work of those at home, completely neglecting lessons and writers, – lost people are all who come to know the slain locusts in our city. We do not give out debts and do not name names, although we have them on hand. The troubled priest sent a handful of children from his son’s village here to study medicine. Paper Baby, otherwise a diligent high school student, became a wreck for society. He cannot rest until he greets Berkowitz, who constantly gives him everything that his kind father can send him. And that this young man is in the hundreds, perhaps above me. The calf is making victims every day, and the number of bad guys is alarmingly increasing. The university has a say. We are not writing here hoping that cavemen will take action. They have no interest in this matter. On the contrary, it will cut off a large source of income. Nor do we write about students caught up in gambling mania. We do not address the parents, they are far away and do not know what their children are doing and do not have the means to intervene. I am writing to the university administration. We know the good ideas of those who lead the establishment, and we even know there is a deep concern about disturbing trippers. Hesitation is no longer allowed. I’m growing dangerously high. A university that enjoys wide autonomy cannot hesitate to take measures dictated by circumstances. Apart from the students from the tripods of the foreign bastards, this is imperative right now and those who are responsible can only order this way.”

Documentation: Mihai Chiu, student at the Faculty of History at Papio Bolai University, majoring in History, Memory and Oral, second year.

Image source:,

No comment

The author's second photo

Luminica Celia

He has been a reporter for since April 2014. He has worked for the daily Ziua de Cluj since its launch in 2004 until April 2014. He graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of the University “Babeș-Bolyai” in 2004 and has two master’s degrees – in public administration at the same university and in Communication and Public Relations at the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA) Bucharest.

Leave a Comment