It took a while for Hungary to hop on the natural wine train, but this global trend is now charging full steam ahead, especially among younger winemakers and consumers (the definition is hazy, but natural wines refer to wines made with little intervention, for example without added yeasts and with only a minimal amount of sulfites). Marlou isn’t the first natural wine bar in Budapest but it does have the widest selection of labels, both Hungarian and foreign.
The hip, high-ceilinged space hides behind the Budapest Opera — more than a century ago, this side street was known for its high-traffic brothels — and features bare bricks, neon lights, and a wall blanketed in wines. The daily selections include everything from orange to natural to sparkling wines and there’s also a slim food menu with tapas, cheeses, and a few warm dishes.
My only issue is the price points, which at €7-10 per glass are the highest of any wine bar I’ve been to in Budapest. This is unfortunate because Marlou is an exciting newcomer to Budapest’s modest wine bar scene, but these prices will render it inaccessible to most people who’d otherwise be interested in trying natural wines.
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