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.
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.
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.
Bereg Embassy Bar & Cafe
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.