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8 high-spirited Budapest rooftop bars to visit in summer 2016

Writers

28/06/2016 6.26pm

During summer, urban dwellers head up to Budapest’s breezy rooftop bars to chill out and sip refreshing drinks while enjoying spectacular views over downtown lanes and landmarks. From a high-class hangout atop a deluxe hotel that provides far-reaching views over most of the cityscape to a terrace bar sprawling directly above the city’s nightlife hub to a cozy oversized balcony that feels like visiting a well-to-do friend’s place, Budapest boasts an increasing selection of rooftop drinking destinations for anyone wanting to let loose amid lofty sights – here are our picks for summer of 2016.

Photo: László Balkányi - We Love Budapest

360 Bar

1/8

Widely considered as a must-see sight of Budapest’s nightlife, 360 Bar occupies the entire rooftop of the historic Paris Department Store, and while there is often a line out on the Andrássy Avenue sidewalk below to get aboard the upward elevator, it’s well worth the wait – emerging into the crisp air above the city here, guests enjoy uniquely lofty wraparound views of sparkling city sights, while the bar’s ambience is equally scintillating. Along with delicious cocktails and an impressive menu, 360 offers live music and theme parties that can stretch from midday until late into the night. This is probably one of the city’s best spots for watching the stars first emerge in the sunset sky, but there’s more to enjoy beyond after-hours action here – frequent morning yoga sessions and Sunday brunches also turn a 360 visit into a peak experience.

Photo: Norbert Juhász - We Love Budapest

A38

2/8

As much as we love the A38 Ship, the city’s most buoyant concert destination just barely made our list, considering that its “rooftop” is actually the top deck of this heavily modified Ukranian stone-carrying barge... but we’re not going to let nautical technicalities keep us from excluding this happy hangout, because this is undeniably one of Budapest’s best spots for open-air sunset concerts by diverse Magyar musicians, and its riverfront location makes it a pleasantly panoramic hedonism headquarters. Since A38’s biggest shows take place below deck, the open-air bar is a cool warm-up spot to visit before dancing into the night downstairs – and this is certainly Budapest’s only nightlife nexus with its own ferryboat stop.

Photo: Nick Robertson - We Love Budapest

BRKLYN

3/8

Located at the very center of Pest’s District VII nightlife – tucked between the ruin pubs of buzzing Kazinczy Street and Gozsdu Udvar’s chic eateries – BRKLYN is an artfully hip club that is carefully designed to offer appealing settings on multiple stories, including a small-but-stellar rooftop terrace complete with an open-air bar featuring a zigzagging covering and a tasteful photography collection of black-and-white slices of life. Unfortunately, the roof area is usually closed here, apparently only welcoming guests on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights – we wish it were open more often, as the one-of-a-kind views directly over the bustling pubs below make this a desirable destination anytime.

Photo: Corvin Club

Corvin Terrace

4/8

As one of Budapest’s first rooftop-terrace establishments, the scene at the top of this run-down department store by Blaha Square is now more of a community center than a simple bar – with its gigantic projection screen, the Corvin Terrace is the headquarters of the popular Budapest Rooftop Cinema series (screening alfresco films ranging from Inception to the new Robert Mapplethorpe documentary, Look at the Pictures), and also the preferred viewing spot for plenty of sports fans watching myriad matches. When no games or movies are playing, groovy DJs get the party started here on weekday evenings well before sunset, allowing plenty of time to chat with friends while admiring the views – which are especially far-reaching from the upper-level rooftop seating area above the open-air bar.

Photo: Gozsdu Sky Terrace

Gozsdu Sky Terrace

5/8

Above the epicenter of District VII’s party zone, Gozsdu Sky Terrace is hidden in plain sight atop the ever-bustling Gozsdu Udvar complex. Once we find the ground-floor entryway in a covert corner of an arcade hall, we are just an elevator ride away from high times at this sprawling rooftop bar. From this elevated viewpoint, guests can admire glimpses of the St. Stephen’s Basilica dome, while a fragment of the Buda Hills peeks above the background. With an expansive drink selection and assorted nibbles, this place is an ideal spot for group gatherings, and from Thursday through Saturday, parties provide great times to revelers after the sun goes down. This rooftop terrace operates all year round, with transparent walls providing shelter during the cold months.

Gozsdu Sky Terrace (closed)
Address: 1073 Budapest, 6 Holló Street (Gozsdu udvar)

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

High Note SkyBar 

6/8

Crowning Budapest’s deluxe Aria Hotel, the High Note SkyBar offers soaring experiences: while perched atop this rooftop haven, sit back on comfy sofas and soak in the sweeping scenery that provides 360-degree views over many of Budapest’s major landmarks. From this breezy setting guests get up-close vistas over St. Stephen’s Basilica, standing a stone’s throw away from here, or we can zoom our lenses to the Parliament dome or the massive Citadel across the Danube. When the sun goes down, guests can catch glimpses over the sparkling metropolitan landscape by moonlight, including the glowing Chain Bridge, the illuminated Buda Castle, or the graceful Matthias Church shining bright in the distance, while reimagined Hungarian dishes and sipping on a chilled Aria Royal cocktail just add to this visual feast. This heavenly hangout is a perfect destination for special occasions, important business meetings, or romantic date nights.

Photo: Liebling

Liebling

7/8

Liebling is a popular downtown hangout throughout the year, regularly hosting live concerts that allow up-and-coming artists to introduce their acts to Budapest’s downtown crowd. When the weather is warm, guests invade the bar’s small rooftop terrace – accessed by climbing a spiral staircase – that offers limited views of the adjacent Klauzál Square Market Hall and neighboring buildings’ historic façades... but while this alfresco hangout is the least scenic spot in this list, the cozy feeling of this flora-lined lounge make it seem more like visiting a well-to-do friend’s terrace rather than a public drinking establishment. Liebling offers a selection of reasonably priced drinks, snacks, and hot meals, with all these amenities making the place a comfortable hideaway for friendly get-togethers and out-of-sight dates.

Photo: Hotel Rum

Coming soon: Hotel Rum rooftop bar

8/8

For a long time now, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the grand reopening of the rooftop bar above Egyetem Square (formerly the site of the much-missed Tip Top Bar) – but now that the stylish Hotel Rum is fully operational in the building below it, the management is renovating the rooftop space and preparing to open their own alfresco lounge here within the upcoming weeks, complete with retractable awnings so that it can welcome guests in all weather. For now, not much else is known about this bar, aside from its undeniably stunning panoramic vistas that encompass both the city life down below and landmark views stretching far into the Buda Hills – but We Love Budapest will certainly check it out soon after it opens.

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