Mátra Borozó

Opened in 1948, Mátra Borozó is one of the oldest and quirkiest bars in Budapest, a genuine throwback. Instead of a regular bar counter, a simple metal box equipped with wine containers stands in the middle of the space. Owner Gábor Abendschein, donning a white lab coat, mans the bar with a perennially annoyed expression on his face as he shleps over to prepare your fröccs (a wine spritzer, the most popular order). He uses a measuring ladle that’s more likely to appear in a museum these days. The classic fröccs — two parts wine, one part sparkling water — won't set you back financially very much. You can also knock yourself out with Hungarian fruit brandy (pálinka).

The faintly lit rear section offers an intimate hideaway, not to mention the “secret room” in the very back, attached to the kitchen. Also good: the toasted sandwiches, the roasted sausage, and the finger foods in the display up front. Don't leave before scanning the artworks on the walls that ricochet between darker and lighter themes; regular customers gifted them to Gábor and some are available for sale.

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