People, rather than interior designers create the ambiance at these lively bars. Expect an increasingly raucous atmosphere as the night progresses. The environment is relaxed, making it easier to pick up conversations. And it's at these bars that you're most likely to get to know some eccentric locals.
Those looking to passionately debate Hungarian political history will find themselves at home in this bar, set along what used to be a quiet street on the park. Kisüzem, with its above-average bar food, range of exotic tea options, and Sunday night live music is a popular place to congregate for the Budapest intelligentsia and artist communities. The industrial space with high ceilings harmoniously lends itself to the exposed brick interior and use of concrete for table tops and other interior fittings. The continuously changing contemporary art pieces on the walls provide the backdrop.Read more
Kék Ló (Blue Horse) is a hidden gem of a bar located outside of Budapest's main tourist zones within the outer part of District 8. Despite looking similar to many of its eclectically (over)designed peers, Kék Ló beats out other run-of-the-mill ruin bars. Highlights include a friendly service, a selection of local and international craft beers, cheap food including vegan and vegetarian options, regular live music (experimental, jazz, and folk varieties featuring local artists), which cohesively provide a welcome addition to the standard ruin bar repertoire. Kék Ló combines their bar with a pop-up boutique on the upper deck, selling upcycled clothing by owner & fashion designer Virág Tóth.Read more
Dzzs Bár, similar to Kisüzem down the block, attracts an eccentric and bohemian crowd although the core clientele of 20-somethings is slightly younger. Stopping by here on a late night feels like being at the house party of your rowdiest friend. The interior is a mishmash of worn out furniture where nothing matches but everything belongs. You can meet local film directors, painters, and musicians in this cozy space, where walls are crowded with an eclectic selection of provocative local artwork.Read more
If you prefer to avoid the heavily touristed streets of the Jewish Quarter in District 7 but still get a cup of specialty coffee in a hip neighborhood, Lumen is your spot. With a surprisingly delicious food offering that includes breakfast, and a thoughtful interior design with eye-catching concrete and wood combinations, it stands out from the typical neighborhood café/bar landscape. But it's the patrons, artists and neighborhood bohemians, who make Lumen so unique and give soul to the space. They serve drinks all day and have almost daily live music performances.Read more
The bars of Budapest generally fall into two categories. On the one hand, myriad of ruin bars offer an informal atmosphere with no-frills-but-dirt-cheap drinks. On the other are the fancy, higher-end cocktail joints where bartenders with chiseled jawline mix stiff cocktails of ingredients you've never heard of. The in-between territory is noticeably thin.Read more
Despite its location alarmingly near the chaos of Kazinczy Street (often with drunk stag party tourists scattered on the sidewalks), this dimly lit bar has preserved an authentic atmosphere and a predominantly local clientele. On weekend nights the crowd tends to overflow to the outdoor vaulted courtyard where heavy wrought-iron lamps hang. For the best experience, try to grab a seat out there and immerse yourself in the mainly post-30-intellectual-bohemian crowd. Indoors you will find friendly service behind the bar, craft beers on draft, better-than-average bar food (the chorizo tapas is a must), and artwork on the walls.Read more
A spirit of healthy anarchy radiates from this bar-slash-community center located a bit outside the city center in a gritty part of District 8. It's nonetheless worth trekking out there. They hold weekly panel discussions on a range of relevant topics (e.g. industrial interest vs.Read more
This is the type of neighborhood bar we all want to have outside our doors, alas, they are few and far between. Let's see what differentiates Macska from the rest of the bunch: a friendly bar service, an extensive selection of draft and bottled beers, and a limited but surprisingly healthy food offering that includes vegan and gluten-free options. The bonus is the upstairs section with cute hideaway corners, generally occupied by lovebirds. Macska is located just beyond the Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard), somewhat outside the city center in the gritty and cool District 8.Read more
Trust me, the address is accurate - persist in your search and you will be handsomely rewarded. It’s worth walking around a bit anyway in this mostly working class, underdeveloped neighborhood. The unkempt condition of the otherwise grand housing stock illustrates the level of decay most buildings in Budapest reached at the end of the communist period. Pótkulcs, a hidden bar inside a former light engineering workshop sits on a quiet side street and features a huge outdoor patio and a no-frills indoor bar area.Read more
The name means rocking horse, of which you'll see plenty inside this retro-designed bar located in the outer part of District 8. This tiny bar on two floors with cramped tables usually gets packed and lively. The neighborhood is the opposite of trendy and quite different from the more touristy areas of the city, but that shouldn’t stop you from discovering where many of the ethnic minorities in Budapest reside. Beer-drinkers will be pleased to see the craft beer selections on tab.Read more
If you want to hang out with the next generation of Hungarian actors and actresses and all the while sip cheap drinks, look no further. All this in the middle of the boisterous District 7. .Read more
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price.