The formula for success at Grinzingi, an unpretentious downtown wine bar, is simple: serve cheap drinks in the center of Budapest that's otherwise heavy on overpriced, tourist-oriented places. But what gives Grinzingi soul is its longevity, the variety of its patrons, and the “interior design.”
When Grinzingi opened in 1983, it was difficult to find decent wine in the city, so word spread that this wine bar served up cheap, drinkable stuff. Fast forward 30 years, some of those early patrons still pay repeated visits, as do plenty of college students from nearby universities. The inside at Grinzingi hasn't changed much. A wood-heavy interior evokes the atmosphere of the bar's namesake Austrian village (Grinzing, known for its wine taverns), and the weathered furniture bears marks of raucous nights over its decades-long past.
The limited food offerings include schnitzel and goulash, but you're better off sticking to drinks, or zsíroskenyér, a traditional Hungarian sandwich of lard spread over bread, and drizzled with salt, pepper, and red onions (<€1). That's right. A word to the wise: check downstairs, if the place is full on the main level.