Hivatal Kávézó, which opened in 2010, was an early bird on Madách tér, the entry point of Budapest’s party district. This pedestrian-only plaza has a cult reputation since the late aughts thanks to the hip bars that line it, including Központ, Telep, and Hivatal.
Although officially a café, it’s in the evenings when Hivatal comes into its own. Inside, communist-era slogans on the walls remind customers of the value of hard work (ironically, "hivatal" means "office" in Hungarian). Despite the recent surge in the neighborhood's popularity, Hivatal has remained a laid-back, unfussy bar. Unlike at Központ, the prices haven't gotten out of control here.
The crowd is mixed, but most people are over-30 with left-leaning political views. If you get hungry, go for the grilled brie sandwich. During the warmer months, the night-time crowd often spills out to the stairs of the neighboring office building, lending the area a block-party feel.