The 9 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 such as furmint, hárslevelű, and juhfark (white), and kékfrankos and kadarka (red).

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 selected yeasts and with only a minimal amount of sulfites. Marlou, a pioneer of the genre in Budapest, has an excellent selection of Hungarian labels, some from the famous Tokaj region, as well as French wines (the owner, Jean-Julien Ricard, is French).

The hip, high-ceilinged space hides behind the Budapest Opera – more than a century ago, this side street was known for its high-traffic brothels – and features bare bricks, neon lights, and a wall blanketed in wines. The daily selections include everything from orange to natural to sparkling wines and there’s a slim food menu with nibbles. My only issue is the price points, which at €6-10 per glass render these wines inaccessible to many.

Chic breakfast venue in the morning, snug dinner destination and wine bar in the evening, Solid hides on the top floor of a small boutique hotel (Rum) in downtown. The views are striking – the many church towers and the Gellért Hill seem within arm's reach – and all tables provide panoramic vistas. For breakfast, the eggs Benedict with a side of smoked trout is the one to go for.

In the evening, the concept is shared plates, focused on precisely made modern Hungarian classics. Vegetarian stuffed cabbage, duck liver pâté with sourdough, local cheese selections. And there’s of course Mangalica, the local breed of pig known for its deeply marbled meat. The wine list includes some from the famed Tokaj wine region and also natural and biodynamic producers. €30-35 will buy you a full meal with a drink. The space is small, advance booking recommended.

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 labels 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.

If unsure, try Kolonics's juhfark (€5 per glass), a mineral-rich white varietal wine from the Somló region in northwestern Hungary. There's a full-service kitchen, but you're best off sticking to the nibbles. Note that Kadarka usually gets mobbed by people in the evenings, so reservations are a must.

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 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 and charcuterie plates are decent, but it's the surprisingly tasty ham and cheese panini I usually order.

I only wish Drop Shop's interior was a little cozier — softer lighting, some background music, and more comfortable chairs would extract more charm from the space and be more fitting for the premium wines. As often is the case with wine bars, most customers here are 35-plus professionals.

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 in the once-seedy outer District 8, an area currently undergoing large-scale real estate development perfectly symbolized by Nokia’s gleaming headquarters towering over the neighborhood.

Upstairs, there are small tables and snug corners; no wonder that lovebirds occupy many of them. The house wines are perfectly satisfying and there are also well-known Hungarian labels. Don't sleep on the food, either: toasted sandwiches; grilled sausage with pickled cabbage; and the sausage-studded molnárka roll!

Palack is a laid-back wine bar on the Buda side of the city, 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 playgrounds of wine snobs.

Instead, Palack’s unabashedly middle-brow approach brings together a cross-section of local residents: Price sensitive customers can try easydrinking whites, while those with more advanced palates and deeper pockets sip away on layered wines by Hungary's leading producers, including Szeleshát, Vylyan, and Kreinbacher. Snacks, vegetable dips, and charcuterie platters are available to nibble on. In terms of offerings, atmosphere, and prices, Palack is comparabe to Kadarka on the opposite side of the Danube.

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 thirty or so wines by the glass and dozens more by the bottle, all of them sourced from wine regions across Hungary. For some privacy, proceed all the way to the secluded section in the back of the space.

MyWine is a project of three Hungarian businessmen, each of whom also owns a winery (Barta, Szentesi, Bodrog Borműhely). Evidently, they spared no expense on the interior but the place also feels a little undermanaged currently: customers are few, tasting events rare, the food offerings not always available. With a bit more fine tuning, this wine bar could become a treasured haunt for Budapest oenophiles.

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 pricey rooftop bar towering over downtown's Vörösmarty Square. Often the best strategy for a rooftop bar is to let the view do the talking while ensuring that drinks are on point, and this is what they've done here.

Naturally, most wines come from St. Andrea's own winery, which makes both whites and reds, but there are also foreign options and cocktails. In the summer months, be sure to sit at the outdoor tables in the front or the back of the space, both with panoramic views of Budapest (though the latter is partially obstructed by the grim facade of the nearby Marriott Hotel).

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.