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.
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.
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.
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.
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.