Where to watch the World Cup in Budapest
It’s here! From the big kick-off tomorrow, the World Cup is with us, 64 games played over four weeks, culminating in the big final on Sunday July 15th. This year, for the first time, the event is taking place in Eastern Europe, in 11 cities and 12 stadiums across Russia. With most matches starting at 2pm, 4pm, 5pm and 8pm here, there’s no need to set your alarm clock or burn the midnight oil – and every reason to hit Budapest’s alfresco bars, ruin pubs and rooftop locales to catch the action on the big screen. Almost everywhere will be showing it – here we pick our 9 favourite spots.
Right in the heart of Budapest, where this multipurpose concert venue has a huge outdoor terrace accompanied by a pool and pretty illuminations. As you couldn’t get more central, it’s the ideal place to meet old friends to watch the game, maybe order a Moscow Mule, Mort Subite beer or an El Jimador tequila, depending on who’s playing. On several nights, live music will follow, such as the Budapest Calling show starring Oliver Koletzki on Saturday, June 16th.
District V. Erzsébet tér 12. More info
Started up for the World Cup of 2010, the Belvárosi Focimozi (‘Downtown Football Cinema’) packs central Szabadság tér with football aficionados, the action broadcast on two huge screens. With a few thousand able to fit comfortably into this alfresco space, the Focimozi can provide a real stadium atmosphere – sadly, though, without being able to cheer Hungary being gifted with a last-minute own goal. The draught beer is drinkable Borsodi, with regular prices charged.
District V. Szabadság tér. More info
Champs Sziget Beergarden
Where the daily bible, Nemzeti Sport, sets up camp for the tournament, Champs Sziget allows you to watch the match in comfort, with a huge screen and 20 other LCD TVs scattered around the bar area and open-air lounge. Surrounded by the greenery of Margaret Island, close to the Danube and the stop for frequent trams 4 & 6, Champs also offers quality pizzas and daily offers on cocktails. Book a table through the website or plot up on a comfy beanbag.
District XIII. Margit-sziget. More info
Almost all ruin bars in Budapest’s party hub of District VII will be showing matches, the relatively early kick-off times for evening games allowing for a full programme of live bands and DJs afterwards. Kuplung (‘Clutch’) is no exception, this former repair shop on Király utca a major venue for bands and spinners. Open until 4am every night, it’s happy to accommodate celebrating fans long after the final whistle has sounded. The outdoor courtyard is a bit more intimate than others in town.
District VI. Király utca 46. More info
Alongside the major outdoor live venue of Budapest Park, Nagyszünet is its chill zone, with a summer-long schedule of film screenings, art installations, acoustic concerts and, of course, TV football. Pull up a chair or snag a hammock, order a spritzer or a healthy snack and catch the match in comfort. In between games, take your friends on at csócsó, table football.
District IX. Soroksári út 60. More info
Puskás Pancho Sport Pub
Named after Hungary’s most revered footballer, Öcsi to Hungarians, Pancho to Madrileños, this smart sports bar is part of the Symbol entertainment complex up in Óbuda. Surrounded by images of the master in action, this pub contains 15 LCD TVs and offers food of decent quality. It’s more a destination to talk business with colleagues rather than get messy with your mates, but a convivial enough place to see a game.
District III. Bécsi út 56. More info
Opening this spring, Rocky’s in the vortex of Budapest’s party district, Goszdu Udvar, has been gearing up for the World Cup ever since. Co-owned by a sports-mad dude named Döme, whose many brushes with famous personalities has resulted in the plethora of signed memorabilia you see on display. For the tournament, a 120-seat terrace will come into play, complemented by nine types of draught beer, including Czech Budweiser, Italian Poretti and Belgian Grimbergen.
District VII. Kazinczy utca 52A. More info
Essentially a US-style sports bar with a large space for pool tables, Stifler has developed to become an essential football haunt in town. It now has four key locations around Budapest, two on the Grand Boulevard at Erzsébet körút 19 and 36, one nearby at Rákóczi út 32, and one over in Buda at Margit körút 105. Burgers are another feature and drinks deals. For June, suitably, the discounted spirit is vodka.
District VII. Erzsébet körút 36. More info
Westend Szurkolói Terasz
Atop this major shopping mall behind Nyugati station, the Westend Szurkolói Terasz (‘Westend Fan Terrace’) promises a stadium atmosphere with its 1,500-capacity terrace, more than 100 types of beer and grilled specialities. The screen alone extends over 7×4 metres, bigger than some bars in District VIII. A madhouse when Hungary were involved in Euro 2016, the Fan Terrace may be a little more subdued for Uruguay-Saudi Arabia. The panoramic view, though, at sunset, cannot be gainsaid.
District VI. Váci út 1-3. More info