Even among the numerous speakeasy-themed cocktail dens in Budapest, Black Swan tops the list for being the darkest and most exclusive. It’s one of those uppity places where heavy red drapes block the view from outside and whose private room draws the local moneyed and political elite. But it also offers some of the broadest drink selections in Budapest (bartenders have to use a sliding ladder to retrieve bottles from the top shelves), and if you enjoy a swanky experience it will be right up your alley.
In addition to all signature cocktails, Black Swan serves a dozen or so bespoke concoctions that include a truffle Negroni (€11) and a Red Bull-laced “Energie Daiquiri” (€10). There can be some inconsistency among the cocktail bartenders - depending on who prepares your drink, you may be in for a perfectly layered Gin-Gin Mule (€11) or an indistinct Penicillin (€8).
The fact that Black Swan decided to locate in the party district, which for long was better known for low-priced ruin bars than upscale craft cocktail joints, further signifies the neighborhood's status as the across-the-spectrum center of Budapest's nighlife.