The 11 Best Wine Bars in Budapest

Unlike beer, wine has been essential all throughout Hungary's history with almost all parts of the country producing its own. Best-known is Tokaj, once a favorite of emperors and presidents, but there are a total of 22 wine regions across Hungary today. You can try a wide range of local options at the wine bars below, both whites and reds, and traditional and natural wines. Keep a special eye out for those made from native Hungarian grapes like furmint, hárslevelű, and juhfark (white), and kadarka (red).

#1 Kadarka Wine Bar

Kadarka is a lively wine bar inside Budapest's hopping Jewish Quarter with a moniker that refers to a popular red grape variety native to Hungary. Kadarka isn't the type of super-hip place with the latest natural wine or pet-nat sensations; instead, they serve more than a hundred kinds of well-known and reliable Hungarian wines from across the country's 22 wine regions. Despite being within a tourist-heavy area, Kadarka has remained a mainly local haunt, especially for 30-plus Hungarians, likely because prices haven’t shot through the roof.

#2 Drop Shop

Hiding in an elite part of downtown Budapest, near the Parliament building, Drop Shop is a boutique wine bar doubling as a wine store. Unlike most wine bars in the city that stack only local bottles, Drop Shop also carries a carefully curated inventory of international wines anywhere from Austria to Australia, from a traditionally made Brunello to natural wines from the New World. The cheese (€8) and charcuterie (€12) plates are decent, but it's the surprisingly tasty ham and cheese panini (€3) that I usually order.

#3 Marlou

It took a while for Hungary to hop on the natural wine train, but this global trend is now charging full steam ahead, especially among younger winemakers and consumers (the definition is hazy, but natural wines refer to wines made with little intervention, for example without added yeasts and with only a minimal amount of sulfites). Marlou isn’t the first natural wine bar in Budapest but it does have the widest selection of labels, both Hungarian and foreign.

#4 VinoPiano

Natural wines aren’t as big in Hungary as elsewhere globally, but the trend has recently taken off and there now exist a couple of wine bars specializing in this growing genre of low-intervention winemaking. Enter VinoPiano, a below-ground wine bar in Budapest's District 9, a bit outside the city center (if hoppy IPAs are more your speed, make your way across the courtyard to Élesztő, a top craft beer bar run by the same owners).

#5 Portobello (Coffee & Wine)

Budapest has plenty of specialty coffee shops, several cool wine bars, and an increasing number of hip breakfast restaurants, but Portobello is the first that triples as all three at once. This high-ceilinged space is tucked away on a cobblestoned downtown side street, with a sleek coffee machine, blond wood, oversized windows, and a communal table dominating the polished interior.

#6 Palack Wine Bar

Palack is a laid-back wine bar on the Buda side of the city, right where the increasingly fashionable Bartók Béla Boulevard sets off. Sure, there are other places in Budapest with a more discerning wine list and better-trained servers, but those often end up being the playgrounds of wine snobs. Instead, Palack’s unabashedly middle-brow approach brings together a cross-section of local residents: Price sensitive customers can try easygoing whites for €2 by the glass, while those with more advanced palates and deeper pockets sip away on complex wines by Hungary's leading wineries, including Szeleshát, Vylyan, and Kreinbacher. There are snacks, vegetable dips, and charcuterie platters to nibble on. In terms of offerings, atmosphere, and prices, Palack is comparabe to Kadarka wine bar on the opposite side of the Danube.

#7 MyWine Wine Bar

MyWine is a snug wine bar smack in the middle of Budapest's downtown. With cushy sofas and plush chairs, the place is more comfortable than other wine bars in the city where high-stools and plastic tables are all too common. There's 30 or so wines by the glass here ranging in price from €3 to €7 and dozens more by the bottle, all of them sourced from wine regions across Hungary. A meat and a cheese platter are available in case you'd like to nibble on Mangalitsa ham or Lajta, a local cheese. For some privacy, proceed all the way to the secluded section in the back of the space.

#8 Cintányéros

Cintányéros isn’t so much a posh wine bar as a charming neighborhood wine tavern — the type of place where local residents gather for banter and wallet-friendly house wine. The place is situated inside the once-seedy outer District 8, which is currently undergoing a large-scale real estate development perfectly symbolized by Nokia’s gleaming headquarters towering over the neighborhood.

#9 St. Andrea Wine & Skybar

St. Andrea is a Hungarian success story: starting as a small winery in northeastern Hungary's Eger wine region, they've become a nationally recognized label now also involved in a Budapest fine dining restaurant and, since 2017, this posh rooftop bar towering over downtown's Vörösmarty Square. Often the best strategy for a rooftop bar is to simply let the view do the talking while ensuring that drinks are on point.

#10 Dobló Wine Bar

Dobló was one of the first wine bars in Budapest when it opened in 2010. Being smack in the middle of the Jewish Quarter, today's party district, means that the crowd is heavy on tourists, but you don't usually need to worry about a rowdy stag party ruining the vibes. In fact, thanks to the dim and cozy interior, Dobló is one of the more atmospheric wine bars in Budapest.

#11 DiVino Wine Bar

DiVino is a posh wine bar in the heart of Budapest's downtown with a picture-postcard view of the St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest's biggest church. Touristy it may be, still, it’s a sight to behold. DiVino is most enjoyable from its outdoor tables during the warm-weather months (you'd better avoid the dim interior with a club-like atmosphere). The selections include 150 types of wines sourced from leading Hungarian wineries, both big (Takler, Heimann, Konyári) and small (Pendits). Split by wine regions, all winemakers are listed on the walls. DiVino's customers are a mix of tourists who pass by the area and 30-plus Hungarians who enjoy sceney spots.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito and pays for his own meals and drinks.