Központ Cafe

Located near the arched, red-bricked edifice signaling the entry of the old Jewish Quarter, Központ is a popular haunt of Budapest's thirtysomething liberal establishment. During the day, Központ functions as a specialty café, drawing hipster foreigners who linger with their MacBooks for hours on end. Come night-time, the crowd turns more local as journalists, musicians, and people from the fashion industry appear. Note that drinks are a bit more expensive here than at other places on this list.

The best night is Friday—it's not unusual that the throng overflows to the sidewalks until the wee hours. Meaningful overlap exists between Központ and Telep, the bar across the street from Központ, with groups of people noticeably shuffling back and forth between the two.

Although mainly a bar, on some nights Központ doubles as a dance floor with DJs spinning electronic music. Attention jazz fans: every Tuesday evening Balázs Pándi, a leading local jazz musician, plays from his wide-ranging collection of contemporary-jazz records.