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Nightlife

15 best terraces in Budapest for alfresco drinks

With terraces now allowed to reopen, here’s a selection of Budapest’s best, from chic rooftop spots on Andrássy út to bohemian hangouts by the Danube. Still operating within certain restrictions – staff must wear masks, customers don’t have to, and all places must close by 9.30pm – these alfresco venues should liven up as soon as they open for business.

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360 Bar

One of the first and most popular rooftop bars in town, not only in summer nor just in the evening. There are yoga classes in the morning and heated igloos in the winter. They open on Saturday, with plenty of exciting cocktails waiting for the fastest to book a table for that winning weekend sunset.

2/15

Bambi Eszpresszó

This Mecca of retro is one the most popular terraces on the Buda side, providing an experience somewhat like sitting in the sunny 1960s. Whether it’s a cooler day in autumn or a hot summer afternoon, the patio is always full. They also open on Saturday, so get there early for a cold beer and sausages.

4/15

Bereg Embassy Bar & Café

The little hidden garden of the Hattyúház, a sturdy landmark in Buda, allows visitors to sit under tree shade amid lantern light. Here, too, they were also very much looking forward to the grand opening, but tidying up the garden may take priority. Give them a quick call before heading over here – they should be back in business soon.

5/15

Bestia

It’s always convivial to sit on the Bestia terrace right in front of St Stephen’s Basilica, order from their range of craft beers and superior snacks. Saturday should be lively but random, Sunday will operate with table reservations and an à la carte menu.

6/15

Csendes Társ

This cosy downtown oasis beside the pleasant pocket park of Károlyi-kert has been a student favourite since the early 2000s. As bigger sister Csendes has not been operating for quite a while, it may be worth booking a table at its companion venue and soak in the atmosphere.

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DOC Vino Bar

One of the loveliest wine terraces in the city centre is the perfect place to meet up with friends again. At one of the many tables lining the street in Budapest’s business quarter, you can sit back and peruse the list of 150 fine wines, while snacks can be ordered from the kitchen of Italian favourite Pomo D’oro opposite. The place should open the minute they can – call ahead just in case.

8/15

Fecske Presszó

At the spacious Fecske (‘Swallow’) opposite the Szabó Ervin Library in the heart of Budapest’s student quarter, preparations for reopening are in full swing. As soon as they get the green light, they’ll be serving guests again. If anything is delayed for any reason, there’s always the Kis Fecske (‘Little Swallow’) round the corner on in Mikszáth Kálmán tér, which has been serving takeaway coffees and beers since the winter.

9/15

Félix Hélix

Ready to open on Saturday, this popular little spot along a pedestrianised spur of Kazinczy utca sits within Budapest’s nightlife hub, yet its bohemian feel and discerning kitchen set it apart from the standard drinking destinations on its doorstep. An international crowd convenes on an extensive terrace, an oasis of convivial chatter slap in the city centre.

10/15

Fellini Római Kultúrbisztró

One of Budapest’s most popular summer destinations was a pioneer along this now burgeoning stretch of the Római embankment, other alfresco places opening along this section of the Danube in Óbuda since then. The Fellini reigns supreme, though, its colourful deckchairs ranged around the riverbank, water lapping just below your feet. Cyclists plan their trips around it.

11/15

Ibolya Espresso

Another big retro favourite in town is Ibolya on Ferenciek tere. Although much has changed in recent years, sometimes not to the taste of its many regulars, its atmosphere remains. As does, in fact, the old-school feel of the menu – its toasted sandwiches are still a triumph.

12/15

Kabin

The still unspoilt getaway on Népsziget attracts all kinds to this once neglected island alongside Újpest in north Pest. Popular with the alternative crowd, families and dog owners, the laidback bars here are scheduled to open on 1 May but they may break out the tables earlier. The full range of drinks may not be available straight away but you shouldn’t worry about – order up a spritzer and take in the sunny views of the Danube.

13/15

Központ Budapest

Heavily fined for operating during lockdown then saved by regulars chucking in contributions, Központ is the main drinking destination on erstwhile buzzy Madách tér, gateway to the Gozsdu Udvar. Here, though, the clientele is defiantly local – Központ made the top 5 in many people’s ‘What I Miss The Most During Quarantine’ lists. Bound to be busy after reopening, so mingle with caution!

14/15

A Majomhoz

Buda's open secret garden proved a real hit in 2020. It has exciting plans for this summer, too, and should be welcoming guests pretty soon. New food outlets will also be open at some stage, plus outside events, within line with restrictions, of course. A setting in the tranquil urban park of Városmajor is another asset.

15/15

Pántlika

One of the oldest and certainly best-loved bars in the City Park, Pántlika will also open as soon as they receive the green light. From an authentically retro building dating back to 1963, it serves gourmet burgers and sought-after pálinka shots within a short walk of the boating lake by Vajdahunyad Castle.

Cimkék

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