Budapest is quite well-known for its ruin pubs and beer gardens equipped with upcycled and vintage furniture in the city centre, but there is more than that: the Hungarian capital city is filled with café-bars and the Danube bank is home to many pubs with magnificent views.
The Telegraph argues that everyone will find somewhere to spend their night in Budapest – the city offers a place to quench your thirst in the form of ruin pubs, chic rooftop bars, minimalist café-bars and what is best: an opportunity to get to know Budapest wherever you go.
Open: Thu-Sat: 11 pm – 5 am
“Ötkert is a decent-sized, laid-back and busy bar and courtyard club” – describes The Telegraph with accuracy. If you are lucky enough to be visiting during the summer, you can gaze at the night sky while drinking and chatting; in the winter it is covered for your own good.
If you are looking for more than just a drink, this place is for you: lots of dancing on a unique dancefloor, live DJ sets and bands.
Like most ruin pubs in Budapest, Ötkert is a little bit like a labyrinth made up of numerous rooms inside.
Open: Sun-Wed: 2 pm – 12 am, Thu: 2 pm – 1 am, Fri-Sat: 2 pm – 4 am
Spread across two courtyards, Anker’t is one of the most praised summer ruin pubs in Budapest, where interior décor is a piece of contemporary art in itself. Beers, spirits, spritz, wines, whatever you are looking for, you and your friends will find here, and if you want to munch on something, you can select from pizza, burgers or nachos. Live DJs appear to be a tradition in ruin pubs, and Anker’t is no exception to the rule.
Open: Mon-Sat: 12 pm – 4 am, Sun: 9 am – 4 am
The ruin bar of ruin bars – Szimpla Kert, around since 2002. It encapsulates the essence of ruin bars perfectly: upcycled furniture, rooms making up a labyrinth, wall decoration including guess graffiti, bicycles, old computer monitors, an open-roof centre yard, colourful lamps, regular DJs, bands performing live. If you happen to be worried for even a millisecond about your drink, do not:
there are bars scattered across Szimpla Kert,
so you will not have to go far to get a spritz (or some goodie foodie) no matter where you find a table – because it will be a task.
The Telegraph captures the history of Gozsdu Udvar beautifully, by recalling its early days in the 20th century when it was the home of several artisan workshops, but later was turned into a ghetto during World War II, only to return to glory once again in the form of a street market during the weekends. Almost 30 pubs and bars await you in the evenings, though, ranging from ruin pubs all the way to karaoke bars, cocktail bars and restaurants. Be prepared; it can get crowded.
Connecting Boráros square and Kálvin square, Ráday street is often called Budapest’s Soho: you will find more than 30 cafés, bars and restaurants on both sides of the street, spiced up with galleries and museums. You will find structured and classic café-bars along with summer gardens or rebels like Púder – an out-of-the-ordinary café that is a bar that is a contemporary gallery. How cool is that?
Liszt Ferenc square
Let us describe you in a few words this lovely square in the vicinity of the Hungarian Opera House, the theatres of Nagymező street and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Ready? Bars, restaurants of quirky themes (Menza, resembling the communist aesthetic), stylish and mysterious bars and cafés (Incognito, Café Vian), jazz and themed nights (Ray’s) and Irish liveliness (Beckett’s Irish Pub). Safe to say, Liszt Ferenc square is a popular place to meet both for locals and tourists.
Open: Sun-Thu: 11 am – 12 pm, Fri-Sat: 11 am – 2 am
If you do not feel dizzy enough from the heights that you took with Budapest Eye at Elizabeth Square, then why not try the famous Hungarian spritz at Fröccsterasz, which name is literally ‘Spritz Terrace’? Take your drink beneath hundreds of coloured lights and enjoy the vivid nightlife of Budapest with the help of live music and themed events. If you feel hungry, you are lucky: they offer chicken burgers, sausages and bar snacks like grilled prawns.
Tuk Tuk Bar
Open: Mon-Sun: 4 pm – 12 am
If you are looking specifically for cocktails, then this Asian-themed bar is the best match for you. The drinks are all inspired by Asian culture, be it flowers, tea ceremonies or cuisine, and they are not only unique but also change seasonally. However, if you wish to drink something more along the traditional line, the highly trained staff will mix anything that you request.
High Note SkyBar
Open: Mon-Sun: 12 pm – 12 am
This is not the first time we praise this rooftop bar at the top of the prize-winning Aria Hotel, but we have to agree with The Telegraph: the view of the Buda Hills and St Stephen’s Basilica from here, is something that you will long for a good while. Especially, if you have tried the duck liver paté and their prestigious cocktails. Be prepared; this place is not like the ruin pubs not only in its atmosphere and the menu but also in the prices – if you wish to reserve a table, get your wallet ready, as there is a minimum consumption fee per hour: 20 thousand forints (EUR 63).
Leo Rooftop Bar
Open: Mon-Sun: 12 pm – 12 am
Leo is Budapest’s first fully 360° rooftop bar offering a glorious view from the Buda and of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. The drinks list features cocktails and Hungarian wines alike, but the food comes from the Beefbar restaurant a couple of floors below. True to its name, this lush rooftop bar sitting on top of Hotel Clark is jungle-themed with fern-printed cushions and couches that are way too comfortable to get back up from.