In present-day Budapest, listening to live gypsy music is mainly a tourist activity. Overpriced downtown restaurants tend to hire gypsy bands to play traditional songs, thereby enhancing the “Hungarian vibes.” The reality is that except for the occasional wedding parties when such songs may be performed, most locals, especially those below 50, are seldom exposed to this type of music.
But if you’re curious to listen to a gypsy band in a less engineered setting, head to Giero, a tiny, below-ground bar tucked away on a District 6 backstreet. Giero, which opened in 1990, is named after the late father of Gizi, the loud-mouthed, big-hearted, ever-present proprietor. Don’t let the grungy 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 concert on Sundays.