These outdoor bars eschew the glitzy vibes of many downtown locations, instead catering to local residents from all walks of life with moderately priced drinks and intimate locations. These bars are ideal for spending quality time with trusted friends - no hurry, no pretensions here. If cocktails and buzzier venues are more your speed, try these fashionable Budapest outdoor bars too.
PONTOON is an outdoor bar in Budapest's downtown, situated on a precious stretch of the Danube River's bank with front-row views of several Budapest landmarks including the Chain Bridge, the Castle Hill, and the Matthias Church. Besides the scenic views, PONTOON is known for hosting high-quality live music performances, which often feature leading local bands across a variety of genres. These almost daily musical acts draw a mainly local crowd, despite PONTOON being located in a tourist-saturated downtown area..
Csendes Társ is an island of peace within the hustle and bustle of downtown Budapest. It's an outdoor-only café set along the charming Károlyi Garden, a private-yard-turned-public-park boasting colorful flower beds and a manicured lawn. Csendes Társ is best enjoyed for a late breakfast (it opens at 10 a.m.) or for drinks in the evening when the neighborhood quiets down and the space feels most intimate. .
Bar recommendations on the tourist-heavy Kazinczy Street must be taken with a grain of salt, but you can find a few gems here besides the increasing number of tourist traps (skip the places that lure diners with their prominent "Hungarian goulash" signs). Kőleves Kert, which isn’t to be mistaken with the popular Kőleves restaurant next door, is one of those summertime treasures in the form of a laid-back, all-welcoming outdoor bar. .
Have you ever felt that the only thing painfully absent from Budapest was a quiet spot by the Danube bank, where you could watch the sunset with your feet submerged in the refreshingly cool water and all the while sip on a cold beer? Valyo Kikötő, this 2018 newcomer to Budapest's open air bar scene, might just be the answer for you..
Located on a charming Budapest backstreet just a stone’s throw away from both the grand Andrassy Avenue and the gritty Jewish Quarter, Anker’t occupies a quaint piece of no man’s land. As soon as you enter Anker’t bar, you will know that a true ruin bar stands before you: the scaffolded, crumbling facade of the pre-war building from 1833 hides a skeletal brick and limestone structure. .
Although Kertem is the largest outdoor bar in Budapest's City Park, it somehow flies under the radar of most tourists. Many visitors have been to the City Park, but they usually just go in and out of the city's most popular thermal bath, Széchenyi, barely noticing the expansive green space teeming with treasures around them, such as Kertem bar. The crowd at Kertem (“my garden”) consists of a melting pot of locals residents, often accompanied by their dogs, from both the inner and outer city. .
Pagony bar is the product of an ingenious idea: what was formerly the children's section of the historic Gellért Baths has been transformed into this delightful outdoor venue. This means, for example, that the bar counter is inside the sauna building, several of the tables are in the (now empty) swimming pool, and the bath’s original wrought-iron lamps illuminate the space each night at Pagony. Next to the entrance you can still see the underpass that used to connect to the main, and still functional wing of Gellért Baths on the other side of the street. .
Pántlika is a self-service outdoor bar tucked away in the far and quieter end of the City Park, near Széchenyi Thermal Bath. If you've strolled through Andrássy Avenue and checked off all the tourist landmarks nearby (Heroes Square, Vajdahunyad Castle), you can find a peaceful refuge at Pántlika for a well-deserved glass of cold beer and snacks. .
If you're looking to immerse yourself in an old school, lively, communist-era neighborhood bar in Buda, Bambi Eszpresszó should be high on your list (Ibolya Espresszó in Pest is comparable). What makes Bambi the real deal? While it doesn't follow contemporary trends, it isn’t showing off an artificial, unremembered past either – it’s a genuine throwback. The waiters are only nice to those patrons they find likeable, and they wear outfits that haven't been in fashion for at least 30 years. The red faux leather upholstery and Thonet look-alike chairs have been in place since the opening in 1961.
Due to bad urban planning, cars have better access to Danube River views than city residents in Budapest. A handful of Budapest bars, however, can boast a precious river panorama, and Jónás Craft Beer House is one of them. So, while sipping a citrusy pale ale, you can marvel at Gellért Hill and the stately building of the Budapest University of Technology on the opposite bank. If you come from the city center, take tram #2 for a scenic ride along the Danube and get off at Zsil utca, which drops you almost right outside Jónás Craft Beer House.
Trust me, the address is accurate - persist in your search and you will be handsomely rewarded. Pótkulcs is a hidden local bar nestled inside a former light engineering workshop in Budapest's District 6. It’s worth walking around this mostly working class neighborhood to realize the extent to which Budapest's otherwise grand housing stock was left to decay during communism and, in areas like this, even after that (in downtown, many buildings have been refurbished recently). .
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito.