New York Café

Budapest's New York Café is an opulent coffeehouse on the ground floor of the New York Palace, a grand 1894 building and today home to the five-star Anantara Hotel. The café's fame harks back to the pre-war days, when renowned Hungarian journalists, artists, and entertainers spent unruly 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, in the 1950s, a sports retail store sold 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 completely unbridled Baroque Revival interior.

Today, the New York Café is a major tourist attraction, with a perennial line outside it. Prices aren't exactly wallet-friendly for the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pastry offerings on the menu (a cappuccino runs €10 including the mandatory service charge). Every day, a live band performs cabaret music between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Despite the engineered experience, you may still want to visit to glimpse the most extreme case of Budapest's coffeehouse culture.

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