It's only been a little over a decade since Budapest's craft cocktail movement set in motion, yet dark cocktail dens and bow tie-wearing bartenders seem to be all the rage across town. Discerning drinkers can sip both expertly prepared classics and contemporary concoctions, some of them made with local Hungarian liquors. The only downside? Price points aren't exactly wallet-friendly.
Hiding on a side street near the city center, Boutiq is an upscale cocktail bar that pioneered Budapest's craft cocktail movement under the helm of owner Zoltán Nagy. Maroon-colored walls and dim lighting project speakeasy vibes into the snug space, where each bartender partakes in a rigorous training process before being permitted behind the bar. They serve the drinks with a laser-like focus and a bit of theatrics.
The cocktail menu features a dozen or so of Boutiq's own concoctions, but they will also make a classic Manhattan or Sazerac if that's more your speed. For a local angle, try the Budapest Spritz, featuring Unicum, the iconic Hungarian herbal liqueur. Boutiq Bar isn't cheap – most mixed drinks run €10-13 – but the place can stand up to any cocktail bar around the world, both in terms of ambiance and technical knowledge. Advance booking is recommended for Fridays and Saturdays.