It is currently not possible in Budapest’s seventh district for venues to turn parking spots into terraces. After several unsuccessful attempts at the municipality, Szabad Bistro decided to bypass the problem using a truck.
Hungary’s first gastropub
The special feature of Szabad Bistro, founded in 2019, is that both their food and their drinks are made without ingredients of animal origin: you can come here for lunch or dinner as well as for a coffee or a beer.
The bistro is located in the heart of the city, in district seven. According to Index, though neighbouring districts help venues recover after the lockdown by giving them free parking spaces so that they can temporarily open a terrace, in this district, an amendment to the 2019 municipal regulation prohibits the operation of catering terraces in parking spaces.
The manager of the pub wrote an open letter to the municipality weeks before the reopening, asking for help and cooperation. Csongor Kiripolszky considers it unfair that the municipality does not sacrifice parking spaces in favour of terraces and claims they should make an exception for the season to help restaurants after the coronavirus-caused setback. The bistro needed a terrace because many guests do not have an immunity certificate. Kiripolszky wanted to book two parking spaces on which to set up a terrace of four tables.
The municipality’s answer came weeks later, stating that they cannot allow the construction of terraces in parking spaces
due to a Government Decree that prohibits terraces from disrupting pedestrian traffic or traffic safety, and because of the already low number of parking spaces that constantly causes difficulties for residents and those working in the area.
Szabad Bistro objected, claiming the Government Decree to which the municipality refers does not apply to parking spaces. Furthermore, they do not understand how their application could have been classified unsafe in the absence of actual plans, nor is it clear why similar terraces can be built in the neighbouring districts.
According to Telex, after the seemingly hopeless attempts to initiate a dialogue, the bistro finally decided on a simple but efficient solution:
instead of building a terrace, they parked a truck in front of the restaurant and set up tables and seating on the platform, calling it the Szabad non-terrace.
“We know that the non-terrace is not the most appropriate solution to the problem, and we hope it is not the final one either. We want to continue to work with the municipality to run a restaurant and a terrace that is suitable for everyone,”
writes the Bistro in their Facebook post.
Source: Index, Telex