In 1955, on the first of October, Onogošt hotel began working, then the only hotel of "A" category in Montenegro. The construction of this magnificent building in Nikšić lasted for few years. Engineer Đorđije Minjević, who in June 1953 was engaged in carrying out works and designing, recalls that, in order for hotel to be finished within the agreed period, there were three shifts during a working day. - Against all regulations, we worked with plaster and stucco-marble at temperatures of 10 degrees below zero, at non-glazed premises. That is why we made coke ovens, distributed them through the premises and were continually stoking them. In the morning, about three o’clock, I used to visit the site with a guard, throwing coke into these improvised coke ovens to avoid plaster from freezing.
From this period, Minjević remembered another interesting detail: - In the interior of the tavern, on the whole wall in its front, was painted one abstract image of the Montenegrin karst in picturesque colors. On the scaffold, in the presence of several distinguished individuals from Nikšić, careful observers, one day, famous painters Vušković, Prijić and Berkuljan were painting with their backs turned to the audience. Suddenly, one always arrogant and surly fellow citizen stormed in and rose voice asking: - Who are these people smearing this wall? I did have an F in drawing at school, but this is bad what they are doing. There was a poignant silence, and after a minute or two from the scaffold slowly turned painter Vušković to a disgruntled critic, who was at the time a witty cartoonist at "Jež", and answered coldly: Yes, we're doing this for those who have had, or have at least a C in drawing.
Hotel Onogošt has been renowned for its hospitality, courtesy of waiters and good kitchen. Reputation of first-class catering company has been successfully preserved also by occasional innovations difficultly accepted at first, but quickly used to them. Guestbook has been open at the front desk of the hotel and is filled with the most favorable comments of guests. At night time the city, during those years, was almost deserted. A stranger in the night could recognize the only signs of life at Onogošt in which the orchestra played jazz and classical music. At the end of fifties the famous band was playing at the hotel.
The maestro violinist Lajos Sipos, popular Sipos Baci, with his orchestra animates the subtlest musical ear with Hungarian romances, Romanian koras, and divertisments of the most famous operas. Nikšić residents had the opportunity to enjoy the Queen of Czardas and Countess Maritza. Occasionally someone danced, but it was not easy to find a female dancing partner, since there was only one woman out of ten guests. In the Green hall politicians and businessmen made important decisions for the city and for the lives of people, intellectuals lead their discussions, and in the “Bohemian Lodge" some other tavern life took place.
Written by Maksim Vujačić