Soaring slowly and gracefully into the Budapest nightlife scene like its titular bird, the new Black Swan bar has been an eagerly anticipated newcomer to downtown Pest amid extensive preparations and a lengthy soft opening. Now this exclusive hotspot welcomes gastronomy enthusiasts and drinkers who appreciate the truly special experience that Black Swan holds, which feels like traveling back in time. According to long-term plans, the black-and-gold interior, professionalism, elegance, and cosmopolitan mindset is what might make this Klauzál Street bar one of the best in the whole wide world.
There is little wonder why we have focused so much on Budapest’s bar culture recently; we could list at least 15 places around the city now that mix cocktail concoctions at world-class standards, and where the bartenders nod approvingly when we order a Sazerac, or we can wink at them when saying we would like to sip on something that includes a “forbidden” ingredient. There are tropical-themed and speakeasy hangouts, as well as elegant hotel bars, and most of them follow Asian trends with their tasty cocktails. Now, Black Swan entered the ever-improving nightlife scene of Budapest, which will hopefully soon shed its reputation as a center of stag-party tourism to instead present high-class bar culture.
Fostering this movement, mixologist András Ódor works day and night every week in order to be able to pursue his elegant, regulated, but still bohemian profession at extraordinary levels, and to encourage his colleagues to do so, as well. He is a young but experienced bartender, and a true renaissance man. We have already seen him marinating wood planks during one of his own projects, and know that his manufactory makes the best aprons and chef coats in Hungary; meanwhile he works hard to introduce real cocktail culture to Hungary. Furthermore, he also strives to guide guests into this world, where most of the drinks have a long history. Who devoured a certain cocktail for the first time and why, where do the ingredients come from, and which famous or historical figures devoured a given drink before an important event? Well, under András’s careful guidance, you can learn all of these things at Budapest’s newest bar.
Photo: Fanni Benkő-Molnár/Black Swan 6 pictures
Black Swan is found at a great location in District VII; even though Klauzál Street intersects with ever-bustling Wesselényi Street, it still falls further away from the epicenter of the party quarter. Even the entrance is special: a semi-circular awning evokes bygone times over the door. There is a somewhat French-style elegance to it, but it also brings New York to our mind. When stepping in through the Art Deco door adorned with geometric patterns, our eyes are caught by a massive mirror and copper shelves behind the bar. The heavy crimson curtain and the copper ladder leaned against the shelves create a truly special atmosphere. The counter is simple, and reflects the drinks that are put on it, while the stalls in front of it have almost always been occupied during the soft opening. This is where magic happens, and where we can find out the most about the delicious drinks, the bartender, or even about the mysteries of this place. We also love the lamps that break away from current trends, and also carry some old elegance.
Photo: Fanni Benkő-Molnár/Black Swan 5 pictures
The assortment of whiskeys, vodkas, gins, tequilas, and mescals is abundant. They have many items – and even more to come – that are not found anywhere else in the city, let alone in the country. Black Swan starts out with nine signature drinks, out of which we highly recommend the tasty Trufa Negroni (2,990 HUF) that is enhanced with truffles, and comes with some truffle caviar served in an oyster. The two letters of T&T (2,490 HUF) stand for tequila and tonic – no need to panic, it works at least just as well as the gin-infused version. The Lavender Avenue (2,490 HUF) is light and feminine, and their Mary Swan (2,490 HUF) version of the Bloody Mary is also worth a try. Naturally, this first drink list is just a guide, and guests can ask the bartender to mix up something special that suits their mood, favorite flavors, or a more exciting alcohol-infused concoction that they make with Black Swan style.
Photo: Fanni Benkő-Molnár/Black Swan 4 pictures
It is worth highlighting that the culinary selection of Black Swan abandons the peanut-olive combo, as they boast a sizable kitchen to provide sophisticated bar cuisine. Sexy and noteworthy high-class snacks include padrón peppers, truffle mac & cheese, popcorn prawns, fillet mignon baked in a green egg, and mini burgers. Who wouldn’t want to accompany so many delicious drinks with a few of Ramon Dominigo Batta’s tasty bites? We have long been looking forward to the opening of Black Swan, and we are happy to add it to Budapest’s ultimate cocktail map. The trajectory of Black Swan will almost certainly be upward.