Hiding on a side street near the city center, Boutiq Bar is an upscale cocktail bar that pioneered Budapest's craft cocktail movement under the helm of energetic owner Zoltán Nagy. Maroon-colored walls and dim lighting project speakeasy vibes into the snug, two-story space. Each bartender has to go through a rigorous training process before being permitted behind the bar; they serve the drinks with a laser-like focus and a bit of theatrics.

The cocktail menu features a dozen or so of Boutiq's own concoctions, but the bartenders will also make a classic Manhattan or Sazerac if that's more your speed. For a local angle, try the Zwack Negroni, which swaps the gin for Unicum, the iconic Hungarian herbal liqueur. Boutiq Bar isn't cheap — most cocktails range €10-13 — but the place can stand up to any cocktail bar around the world, both in terms of ambiance and technical knowledge. Advance booking is recommended for Fridays and Saturdays. Cash only!

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.