New York Café

Budapest's New York Café is a historic coffeehouse on the ground floor of the New York Palace, a grand 1894 building and today home to a five-star hotel. The café's fame harks back to the pre-war days, when renowned Hungarian journalists, artists, and entertainers spent wild nights here fueled by cigarettes and alcohol. Countless stories of their debauchery have become part of Budapest’s collective memory.

The space itself has had its ups and downs — during the Communist era (1947-1989), in the 1950s, a sports retail store operated here, selling sneakers beneath the frescoed ceilings. It is thanks to a 2006 gut-renovation that the New York Café has regained its former glow: Marble columns, bronze statues, and stuccoed angels burst once again from the gilded interior.

Today, the New York Café is a major tourist attraction, always with a line outside. Prices aren't exactly wallet-friendly (a cappuccino runs €10 including the mandatory service charge). There's a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu of similarly pricey Hungarian classics. Every day, a live band performs cabaret music between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Despite a somewhat engineered experience, you may still want to visit for a glance at Budapest's once thriving coffeehouse culture.

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