Café inside the Szabó Ervin Library

Located inside Budapest's Palace Quarter, this grand library was once the private residence of the aristocratic Wenckheim family, landowners in south-eastern Hungary. Since 1931, the exquisite Baroque Revival building operates as one of the biggest public libraries in Budapest. While the café itself, which used to be the horse stable, evokes the communist-era both in terms of offerings and prices, the interior of the Szabó Ervin library is a must-see.

Some of the floors have retained their aristocratic grandeur, featuring the original interior details with mahogany paneling, gilded stucco ornaments, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. There's something surreal about seeing the hordes of students cramming under massive chandeliers in what used to be the ballroom. It's possible for visitors to go inside the building: register quickly at the front desk (for the equivalent of €1) and make your way to back of the 4th floor, which is where the preserved rooms are. For the best experience and most students, visit the Szabó Ervin library during the academic year (September - June).

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