A new English-friendly bar has opened in Budapest, and it is the expat’s dream. With cold beer and hot wings, NFL viewing parties and Premier League screenings, quiz nights and karaoke, it’s easy to imagine how the Anglophiles will find it hard to keep away!
Hoff House opened its doors for the first time this weekend, with a launch party full of hot wings and bubbly champagne. Located on Nagymező utca, Hoff House sits squarely in the heart of Budapest, easily accessible from anywhere in the city. It’s a large establishment, with three floors – each with its own theme. On the ground floor is the Pub, where food and drinks can be ordered, and plenty of seating is available. Along one wall is a banner proclaiming, proudly, “F*ck it, I’m daydrinking.”
Upstairs, the vibe is comfortable and relaxed, with wide couches for lounging, an assortment of pillows and beanbags on the floor, and even a series of shelves for storing your shoes, so guests can scamper about in stockinged feet. Unsurprisingly, this room is called “the Chill”. A small stage is set up for live music, and a large curtain separates an office area, which the bar hopes to offer to businesses in the future.
In the basement, an underground cellar with its arched, exposed-brick ceiling brings it all together. Called “the Late Room”, there’s a bar, large dance area and a projector screen for watching football matches (in the American and international sense of the word!).
A spiral staircase connects all three levels, with old photos celebrating the end of Prohibition on the walls, as well as retro travel adverts and other fun, eclectic choices of art.
The idea for Hoff House all started with wings. American expat David had been craving a proper plate of hot wings for years after moving to Budapest. He reached out to the building owners about using the kitchen to start a wing business. To his surprise and delight, they offered him the whole bar. Together with Yasmine, who runs Party Bookers, and has been looking for a way to keep her employees employed as tourism dried to a trickle, they decided to open the international community space which is Hoff House. The name “Hoff House” is an homage to the past, as Yasmine helped build a hostel in her early days in Budapest called the David Hasselhostel.
It’s easy to feel the buzz of bright-eyed enthusiasm that comes with the grand opening of a new venue, and the good feeling here in Hoff House is infectious. The staff are friendly and attentive, and on-hand to explain the different flavours of wings on offer. And as one American to the next, I can vouch that these hot wings are as authentic as it gets. I ordered a plate of the Crazy Buffalo bone-in wings, alongside a pot of the in-house Hoff Sauce for dipping. Together a Pakistani girl, who had ordered the same as me, we attested that they were deliciously spicy – hot enough to make both of us pause for a cooling swallow of beer! But they don’t stop there – currently, Hoff House is working on partnerships with local chili farmers, so they can bring even spicier wings to the menu!
There are lots of daily food and drink specials to look forward to at Hoff House, including 99HUF wings, fish bowls and more. The tip jars are captioned with witticisms like “Please tip us so we can get drunk & naked after work,” and a drawing of Rick from Rick and Morty with the text “Tip me what you gooooooot!” Also placed along the bar are bottles of hand sanitiser, and the barstaff urge all visitors to keep health and safety in mind while enjoying themselves during these coronavirus times.
Hoff House is set to become the to-be spot in Budapest for English-speakers to meet, drink, eat and socialise. The prices are fair, the location is unbeatable and the atmosphere is inclusive. At the moment it is cash-only, but they hope to get card payments up and running this week. Make sure to keep an eye on their website and Facebook page to stay up to date on events and parties!
District VI. Nagymező utca 40
Open: Mon-Fri 5-11pm, Sat-Sun 2-11pm