Are you the kind of person who likes the atmosphere of bars from the ’60s and ’70s? Do you simply want to experience what it was like in Hungary during socialist times? Take a look at our collection of the best retro places in Budapest.

Although the socialist times in Hungary are already part of the past, there are some pubs where you can still experience the unique atmosphere of those times. For foreigners, it may be even more interesting to visit these pubs, some of which have opened long years ago in a completely different political setting.

In our collection, we aimed to showcase places that are a bit more unique than your usual glass of beer in a ruin pub.

Ibolya Espresso

Ibolya Espresso, a bar near Ferenciek Square, has a typical Hungarian ambience resembling the ’70s and ’80s’. The place is also known for having Bambi on their menu, which is quite outstanding compared to other bars in Budapest.

Bambi is the famous Hungarian drink that was introduced prior to Coca Cola’s and Pepsi’s debut in Hungary in socialist times.

ibolya espresso retro

The pub is furnished with authentic pieces from 40 years ago and decorated with posters on the walls from that period. This bar is the perfect place for those wanting to experience the way their parents spent some of their dates when they were young.


Kazán, another retro pub, is situated near Oktogon and is easily accessible from the city centre. The name of the place means boiler room in Hungarian and refers to the fact that the place used to function as a boiler room in the Kádár-era.

Downstairs visitors can get the impression what boiler rooms looked like, while the first floor (still in the basement) has been decorated as if someone’s grandmother was the designer. On the second floor, the world of the socialist working class greets customers.

Customers can also enjoy tasty hamburgers, cultural and musical programs as well as experience the authentic atmosphere.

Pántlika Bistro

Although the place did not originally accommodate a bar, Pántlika was transformed into a catering unit in the early ’70s. Prior to that, it gave place to the Budapest International Fair, which was ordered to be built by János Kádár, head of the Socialist Workers’ Party.

Afterwards, when the pavilions of the fair were removed – and most of them destroyed, too – only two buildings survived the relocation, one of which was Pántlika.

pántlika bistro retro

The pub is situated in the City Park that accommodates the House of Hungarian Music and is currently under renovation. A visit to the must-see pub is essential as, besides the delicious food, one can get a true grasp of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party’s era.

Bambi Espresso

You should definitely try the traditional Hungarian gastronomy, starting with the delicate all-day breakfast at Bambi. Everyone knows that there are places that recreate the feeling and atmosphere of a certain era, while others still exist in that era. Bambi Espresso definitely belongs to the latter category, situated near Margaret Bridge, with an excellent view over the Danube.

bambi espresso retro bar

Visitors should not expect a modernized design or fancy armchairs: the pub opened in 1961 and the style and furniture have not changed much since then.

However, this is exactly what gives Bambi its charming character and makes it an unforgettable experience during your tour in Budapest.

If you are in the mood to discover more of the retro side of Budapest, check out this photo collection of love & romance in 20th-century Hungary, as well as our article about the best Hungarian retro candies.

Featured image:ántlika

Source:, Funzine

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