With the arrival of autumn, it’s time to start moving indoors again. Within these cosy cafés, books line the walls and are perused over tea or coffee, while Hungarian writers, poets, actors and musicians make frequent guest appearances or give a small performance.
This café was opened by the Hungarian book publisher Magvető Kiadó, and has been a popular spot for cultural events in the city ever since. Visitors can browse the publisher’s own selection with a glass of wine in hand, while book presentations, slam poetry evenings and theatrical performances are organised on site. Cold evenings and rainy afternoons are brightened with any visit.
Like the Magvető Café, Kis Présház is associated with another publish company, Prae, which features authors from Pécs. Fine baked goods, premium coffees and other drinks are on the menu, and community events keep the place hopping with workshops on literature, music and art. Recently we heard about the cocktail book presentations taking place here – a very exciting prospect, indeed!
Kelet Kávézó és Galéria
Kelet means 'east' in Hungarian, and this café on Bartók Béla út is a cult favourite among locals. The walls are covered in bookshelves, featuring novels, books of art, social and architectural history and essays on the works of Jókai, Kosztolányi and Péter Nádas. Come to East for new-wave coffee, sweets, fusion bistro cuisine and books, alongside literary discussions, workshops and acoustic concerts.
Still walking down Bartók Béla út, you come to MITZI, whose cool bohemian vibe is complete with hanging lamps and lots of plants. MITZI is primarily a breakfast location, but that doesn’t keep it from being a great choice for evening conversation, too. The cosy interior is an ideal venue for young adults looking for cultural activity: guitarists, mini-concerts and book readings in the evenings.
Három Holló Kávéház
Három Holló, the Three Ravens, was the haunt of legendary poet Endre Ady at its prime location on Andrássy út. When it reopened in 2017 by the Pest foot of Elizabeth Bridge, it still ensured that literary life played a big role in creating the ambience. The interior is spacious, with each area accommodating a different need. The classic café at street level, with its marble tables and delicious Italian coffee, cakes and sandwiches, is the scene of working lunches and urban conversation, while the cabaret and theatre offer performances, concerts and other events. From this October, it will also function as a co-working office.
Massolit Books & Café
Massolit has long been a favourite for English-speaking audiences in Budapest, as it is one of the most popular foreign-language bookstore in the city. The walls are lined with bookshelves offering books in every genre, and workshops and book launches are also held here in English. Whatever the occasion, excellent coffee and fine snacks are available and, in nice weather, the back garden is a green escape from the hustle of city life.
The legendary stomping ground of Hungarian authors Karinthy, Kosztolányi and Déry, the Hadik Café has been revived and running under this name since 2010. Recent refurbishments have changed the interior from how the old writers would have recognised it, but Hadik remains the meeting point of reference for Budapest’s creatives. Cocktails and craft beers are served alongside coffee and food, and weekly events take place such as literary quizzes and special brunches.