According to the latest coronavirus measures, in Hungary, it is illegal to drink alcohol – or any other drink for that matter – at entertainment and catering establishments. This is self-explanatory and something pretty much every caterer follows, but as many people crave the Friday night parties common before the pandemic, people form makeshift bars on the streets of Budapest.
A popular catering unit called Központ was recently closed for 60 days because it served alcohol for takeaway and drew an unusually large crowd of people during the pandemic. Telex tried to look into the matter and found that Központ is not the only place in Budapest where patrons spontaneously gather.
According to their article, in Buda, Móricz Zsigmond körtér used to be the go-to starting point of every get-together before the pandemic. At about 5 pm, people are already gathering in the square around Alapozó. There is wine, beer, spirits, anything you desire, and after a while, everyone is feeling better than before, but the security guard of the place is bothered by Telex’s reporter, so they move on.
The next place in line was popular even before the pandemic. The reporter recalls having spent quite a few nice nights there, and since the pandemic struck, the catering unit at Erzsébet Square in District V evolved into a kind of drinking place at a field in the middle of the city.
Around the Ferris wheel, several groups of eight to ten teenagers gathered and drank from bottles placed on a nearby public table.
At other points of the area, couples sipped their drinks on the benches nearby. According to the reporter’s findings, the source of the drinks might have been the nearby national tobacco shop on József Attila Street.
The next stop was the Basilica which, in pandemic-free times, is the best place for a good mulled wine during the Advent and Christmas season in Budapest. And the atmosphere of the Christmas market is still there at Szent István Square; you could buy mulled wine, coffee, and cakes, and around 30-40 people do take the opportunity. There is a queue at a nearby catering unit with a paper stuck on the counter that reads: “Consumption in public goes against measures. The responsibility lies with the customer.” The lady at the counter says the same, but it is evident that people still do drink their mulled wine around the nearby fountain.
“Lövőház Street, near Széll Kálmán Square, is roughly the Sziget festival of the pandemic,” says the reporter of Telex.
Several establishments are open and serve takeaway drinks, and so a lot of people gather there and consume their beverage on the streets. Beer, mulled wine, spirits, whatever you need. The reporter joined a group who used a transformer box as their table.
“My grandmother has already been vaccinated, and my pedicurist does not wear a mask when working. I do not fucking care anymore; I drink here every day,” a woman kindly told the reporter.
According to Telex, there were at least 100 people on the street, most of them not wearing a mask, with wine, beer, or coffee in their hands. The overall mood was pleasant, and a drunk voice was offering the reporter drinks, saying: “it is disinfected straight from the bottle”.