Conceived in Japan and slowly sweeping Europe, listening bars balance high-spec audio equipment with a select choice of music. Thanks to two old friends, Dima and Ilya, Budapest now has its first, Blutorange, right on Király utca deep in the nightlife vortex.

At Blutorange, extremely comfortable sofas and armchairs, atmospheric lights and a top-quality Magnepan sound system combine to make your listening experience perfect. The DJs and musicians at the decks are given a free rein, playing music that cannot be heard anywhere else, and with no restrictions in terms of style. Here, only one thing matters: quality.

A German name was chosen because the English version of ‘Blood Orange’ was thought too dark. All the same, its very singularity means it can be quickly remembered. Its sound suits the dense place, made up of many small objects and hidden design elements. Paintings decorate the walls, most the work of Ilya’s artist father.

Ilya himself is a chef, working for many years in the hospitality industry, so he takes care of this part of the business. Dima is considered the artist, the development of the image of the place and the musical programming are primarily linked to him.

Along with providing choice music, Blutorange can also fix quality drinks. Yes, there’s decent beer, wine, pálinka, rum, whisky, gin and tequila, but the bar’s strong suit is mezcal. More than 30 varieties line the back bar.

While tequila is made exclusively from blue agave, mezcal uses several types, even the wild variety. Blutorange has two plants on display. The distinctive, smoky-flavoured spirit is a serious matter in Mexico, the name of the producer written on each bottle, even if it’s from the tiniest village.

In the spirit of authenticity, they serve mezcal in small, hand-sized clay pots just like in Mexico, here for an average price of 2,500 forints. This is a drink that should be sipped slowly – you don’t need five to get happy.

Alongside, Mexicans drink a zingy pineapple-based soft drink, tepache, also served at Blutorange.

The kitchen is still under development and the menu is not quite complete. It is certain to be vegetarian, quite filling and quick-to-prepare from quality ingredients. The flavours of Mexico will again prevail to accompany the mezcal, such as kimchi-mayonnaise, chili-aubergine and Roquefort-and-sweet-potato tacos with almond salsa.

Look out, too, for the dumplings with onion-mashed potatoes and miso sauce. But a simple tomato salad served in olive oil also slips down easily.

Blutorange offers first-class music, mezcal and dishes, allowing it to stand out from the rest of the many bars, pubs and bistros in the vicinity. Ilya and Dima are thinking long term, encouraging regulars to drift back to this convivial corner spot where Király and Kis Diófa utca meet.

Venue information

1077 Budapest, Király utca 39
Open: Mon 5pm-midnight, Thur-Sun 5pm-2am