What makes for a great student bar? Cheap drinks of course. But while plenty of inexpensive drinking joints scatter around Budapest, the places below stand out from the pack thanks to their lively atmospheres and college-age crowds. Located near the city's main universities, they’re at their best during the academic year (September to June). If you're looking for local bars with older patrons, check out this list too.
Opened in 1968, Ibolya Espresso is an iconic café and bar in Budapest's downtown. Ibolya is deeply anchored in Budapest's collective memory given that at least two generations of local residents have been coming here for everything from secret dates to business meetings over the past half-century. Ibolya's interior furnishings evoke the design items of the communist era: the Mid-century modern-inspired light fixtures feature orange plexiglass, while the chairs are topped with sticky, red faux leather upholstery..
Mélypont is a cavernous, below-ground bar situated on a quiet backstreet in downtown Budapest. The interior, which features highly amortized pieces of communist-era furniture, usually fills to capacity with students from the neighboring law and political science colleges of Eötvös Loránd University. Every time I visit Mélypont I'm amazed that this wallet-friendly student bar can continue to exist in an otherwise elite and highly-priced neighborhood - let's hope it stays that way. .
Trapéz is a hidden college bar that students and recent graduates of the nearby Corvinus University like to frequent. It's a small miracle that the tiny pre-war building that houses Trapéz and which is just a stone's throw away from major tourist destinations like the Great Market Hall hasn't yet become the victim of real estate developers. Let's hope it stays that way. .
Fecske Presszó is a laid-back, wallet-friendly restaurant and bar just a stone's throw away from the Ervin Szabó Library in Budapest's Palace Quarter. This means that students of all ages come here to take study breaks of varying lengths and with varying amounts of beer. .
If you want to hang out with the next generation of Hungarian actors and actresses and sip dirt-cheap drinks while doing so, look no further than Úri Muri. Plenty of students from the nearby University of Theatre and Film Arts like to unwind at Úri Muri bar, which is conveniently located inside Budapest's boisterous Party District. .
Grinzingi, which is an unpretentious downtown wine tavern, has a simple formula for success: serve cheap drinks in the center of Budapest that's otherwise teeming with overpriced, tourist-oriented places. But what really gives Grinzingi soul is its longevity, the variety of its patrons, and the “interior design.” .
Fahéj is a cute café and bar located on a quite backstreet in Budapest's downtown. Fahéj eschews the overly trendy vibes and tourist-oriented approach of many places in the neighborhood, relying instead on a loyal group of regulars, both young and old. This they do by serving low-priced drinks inside an atmospheric space that consists of two high-ceilinged rooms complete with wood flooring, bookshelves, and small round tables, all of which lend the space an intellectual air. .
It’s easy to miss Altair, which is a homey, below-ground teahouse on a sleepy side street in Budapest's Palace Quarter, but you shouldn't. Defying space limitations, they've squeezed three levels of tiny nooks and crannies in here that are separated from one another by curtains, pillows, and wooden beams. .