What makes a great a student bar? Cheap drinks of course. But while plenty of inexpensive drinking joints scatter around Budapest, the ones on this list stand out for their lively atmosphere and college student 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 a slightly older crowd, check out this list too.
Opened in 1968, Ibolya Espresso is an iconic café and bar in Budapest's downtown. Ibolya is anchored in Budapest's collective memory as at least two generations of local residents have been coming here for everything from secret dates to business meetings over the past half-century. The place's interior pieces evoke the design items of the communist era - chairs are topped with sticky, red faux leather upholsteries, and Mid-century modern-inspired light fixtures feature orange plexiglass..
Mélypont is an impossibly cool, cavernous underground bar situated along a charming downtown backstreet in Budapest. The interior features highly amortized pieces of communist-era furniture, which usually fill to capacity with students from the neighboring law and political science colleges of Eötvös Loránd University. Despite the occasionally rowdy college crowd (expect some waiting for the foosball table) Mélypont's overall setting is intimate, with cute hideaway corners that work well for date nights as well. While drinks are cheap overall, whiskey fans can indulge in a broad selection of top-shelf varieties..
It's a miracle that Trapéz, this tiny, inconspicuous pre-war building a stone's throw away from the Great Market Hall hasn't yet become the victim of real estate developers. Don't be fooled by the relative calm and quiet of the ground floor, it's the attic upstairs where the action is. Trapéz is a lively, bustling college bar, mainly frequented by students and recent graduates from the nearby Corvinus University. Although the bar food won't knock you off your feet, the burgers are decent and the prices more than reasonable.
Fecske Presszó is a cheap, laid-back bar just a stone's throw away from the stunningly beautiful Szabó Ervin Library within Budapest's Palace Quarter. Students of all ages like to take study breaks at Fecske of varying lengths and with varying amounts of beer. Weather permitting, go for an open table by the expansive outdoor terrace, canopied by the overhanging tree (otherwise find a charming nook in the underground space). Go for the fixed-price lunch menu if you happen to be around Fecske at midday and want to chow down some cheap comfort food.
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, conveniently located inside Budapest's boisterous Party District. Be sure to also pop into the basement venue, where another bar, and often live music concerts await well-informed guests..
The formula for success at Grinzingi, an unpretentious downtown wine bar, is simple: serve cheap drinks in the center of Budapest that's otherwise heavy on overpriced, tourist-oriented places. But what gives Grinzingi soul is its longevity, the variety of its patrons, and the “interior design.” .
Fahéj is a charming 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 cheap drinks inside an atmospheric space that consists of two high-ceilinged rooms complete with wood flooring, bookshelves, archived newspaper cutouts on the walls, and small round tables surrounded by Thonet chairs, all of which lend the space a cute, intellectual feel. .
It’s easy to miss Altair Teahouse, a lovable underground tea house located along a sleepy side street behind the National Museum in Budapest's Palace Quarter. Defying space limitations, they've managed to squeeze three floors of tiny nooks separated from each other by curtains and pillows, and sitting on inserted wooden platforms. The dimly lit, labyrinthine indoor makes for an ideal date spot or for a bit of seclusion from the hustle and bustle of city center, just minutes away. Besides the endless tea options, Altair also offers a selection of (hot) wines, beers, spirits, as well as hookahs (water pipes).