City guide

Budapest’s newest rooftop bar Leo opens with Chain Bridge view

Photo : Sándor Csudai / We Love Budapest
Leo Budapest

Crowning recently unveiled Hotel Clark on the Buda side, Leo is the latest addition to the city’s rooftop bars and probably the most panoramic, too. A toast here with variations of gin a tonic or a glass of Krug champagne is backdropped by Chain Bridge views of a never-before-seen angle, but the scenery also embraces St. Stephen’s Basilica, Parliament and Buda Castle. Run by the same chef as the in-house Beefbar restaurant, the kitchen at this top-level hangout creates Kobe burgers, prime pizzas with beef and even popcorn with truffles. All this can be yours amid verdant decor.

From the Hotel Clark’s Fő utca entrance, a perfumed lift whisks you up to what is now considered the most elite rooftop bar in Budapest. A host first welcomes you, assisting with available seats that are usually more scarce around sunset – booking is recommended. Comfy couches are arranged in a circular fashion to make the 360-degree panorama equally enjoyable for each guest. Sturdy glass walls protect the terrace from wind.

Photo: Sándor Csudai / We Love Budapest

Referring to the bar’s name Leo and its proximity to the lion-shaped sculptures that embellish Chain Bridge, the decoration resembles a tropical forest with green-hued patterns all over – this exotic theme is even featured on the shirts of the wait staff. But it’s not just design that makes Leo highly Instagram-friendly.

Photo: Sándor Csudai / We Love Budapest

The bartenders’ creativity knows no bounds when it comes to concocting decorative drinks. Classic G&T is masterfully mixed with hibiscus and apple or augmented with a touch of red wine and rosemary. Then there is a cocktail named Your Highness, a refreshing blend of Aperol, vodka, rhubarb, strawberry, yuzu and a splash of champagne. Viva Leo is made with tequila, cherry, bergamot and grapefruit. The drink selection also includes Hungarian and international wines, beers and Japanese whiskies.

Photo: Sándor Csudai / We Love Budapest

Lunch and dinners are turned into a culinary adventure by chef András Sipos, whose delicacies include aquadella, lime-infused lamb ragout with coriander, mini burgers, oysters with champagne foam, and classic Caesar salads.

Photo: Sándor Csudai / We Love Budapest

Thanks to Leo’s unique location, a bonus feature will crown any first visit here. From this elevated viewpoint, the stone-carved lions of the Chain Bridge appear from such an angle that provides a clue for one of its biggest mysteries. Legend has it that the graceful beasts guarding the statuesque link lack tongues, a deadly error by Hungarian artist János Marschalkó, the creator of these sculptures. If you are up at Leo, you can find out for yourself.

Leo Budapest
  • District I, Clark Ádám tér 1
  • Daily noon-midnight