A few months ago, many Budapest residents were shocked to learn that Kertem – one of the city’s most popular summertime hangouts – would not be allowed to reopen in its original City Park location near Vajdahunyad Castle and the Ice Rink pond, due to extensive refurbishment plans for that site. Fortunately, Kertem’s management gained permission to reopen this summer at another location just a few minutes’ walk away, in front of the historic Olof Palme House. We recently visited this open-air oasis, and while it’s not quite as cool as the previous locale, we’ll certainly be back again soon.
Gone are the low-slung stone walls that surrounded the old site of Kertem, which always made it seem like a splendidly secluded garden of grooviness – the new Kertem location occupies a sprawling lawn in front of the Olof Palme House (a long-ignored but beautiful neo-Renaissance building dating back to 1885), with a road running right in front of the seating area, making the place feel much less like a hidden haven of happy times… but nonetheless, the music remains upbeat, the bar remains covered with old vinyl discs from classic Hungarian rockers, and the grilled Balkan Burgers remain just as delicious. It’s a little bit of a longer bike ride or stroll to get here from Heroes’ Square – the new Kertem location is found right across the street from City Park’s single hill, not far from the soon-to-be-demolished PeCsa Music Hall – but it’s still well worthwhile to come here for a long afternoon of sipping cold fröccs in leafy shade while admiring fellow patrons at nearby tables. With all of the big plans in store for City Park (keep reading We Love Budapest for more coverage about that soon), it remains to be seen if this will end up being a “permanent” location for Kertem… but nonetheless, we are glad to be able to spend sunny and starlit times there with folks from all walks of life once again this summer. Check out our photo essay of the new site below (you’ll probably spot some familiar faces), and please feel free to share any thoughts you have about Kertem’s new location in our comments section.