In present-day Budapest, if you find yourself in a place where a live gypsy band performs music, chances are that you've been sucked into a tourist trap. Overpriced downtown restaurants tend to hire gypsy musicians to fabricate “Hungarian vibes” for unsuspecting tourists. The reality is that except for the occasional wedding parties when such old-school songs may be performed, most locals, especially those below 50, are seldom exposed to this genre of music.
But if you’re curious to listen to a gypsy band in a less formulaic setting, head to Giero, a tiny, below-ground bar tucked away on a District 6 backstreet. Giero opened in 1990 and it's named after the late father of Gizi, the loud-mouthed, big-hearted, ever-present proprietor. Don’t let the delapidated interior hold you back—and watch your head as you descend the stairs leading inside—and you might be in for a special experience.
The band usually starts at 10 p.m. with songs ranging from local classics to international evergreens. Go for the wallet-friendly beers, pálinka, or Unicum to lift the mood, and be sure to buy a round of drinks for the band members, too. Note that there's no live music on Sundays.