With the reopening of Budapest, new terrace bars have appeared around the city while some revered favourites have had to close. Here are seven great alfresco drinking options of 2021 vintage – and a suggestion for an outdoor bar crawl away from the crowds.
The old Dürer Kert
was a real Budapest legend, a live-music venue (punk, metal, anything spiky)
whose many bar areas were also popular, close to City Park. Long earmarked for closure,
it moved this summer to the city’s burgeoning recreational hub of BudaPart, near Kopaszi-gát in south
Buda. Despite a different atmosphere, it keeps faith with its heritage, keeping its alt-boho flavour while staging all kinds of events, many with free
admission. Such is Saturday’s 12-hour music session Fresh ’n’ Spicy, running
from 2pm and through most of the night.
Once near the former Dürer
Kert, another legend has closed: Kertem, a victim of lockdown and the Liget Project
transforming City Park. This summer, they found a new location,
on the edge of the south Pest industrial zone of Kőbánya, close to Népliget.
The vast complex of the former Northern Vehicle Repair Depot is shared with the
Opera House and the new Museum of Transport, behind which a secluded space
surrounded by old factory buildings now hosts this popular alfresco drinkery. It
retains its old atmosphere and its loyal clientele, who just have to go
that little but farther.
This summer’s big
hitter, MONYO Land is where craft brewing and live music meet down in Kőbánya, courtyard location
for these Budapest artisanal hipsters. With regular live acts towards the end
of the week – look out for Lezarvs and Omega Diatribe this Friday, 20 August –
MONYO should be busy for a good few weeks to come, despite the relatively long trek
Rumours of the
demise of prime party spot PONTOON were greatly exaggerated, it seems. Slated
to be closed for two years while the nearby Chain Bridge is renovated, PONTOON popped up out of the blue, moving from one side of the
Pest bridgehead to the other side, and shifting the whole shebang onto a ship. Gently
rocking in the Danube, the boat has several decks, ideal to find somewhere to
relax if the partying gets too much. If you’re out this weekend, it might be an
idea to time your visit around Saturday night’s Balearic beats by Ibiza-based
Landikhan, part of an evening
set up by Pure Lust.
Tilos a Tilos
This 2021 newbie was
not only a veteran of Pest nightlife but its prime driving force circa 1991. Back
then, every underground band in town played here before the Tilos closed on New
Year’s Eve 1994-95. Operating through the early 2000s as inferior café Zappa
(who also played here), the venue changed hands so that five scenesters from
Budapest’s drinking and dining scene can now revive it. Given the pandemic
restrictions, they decided to name it Tilos A Tilos ('Forbidding the Forbidden’),
and create a new logo and signature dishes and drinks. Its occupies a third of
Mikszáth Kálmán tér, sharing the square with other branches of Fecske and Lumen.
A series of unplugged concerts and gastro events is planned for autumn.
Set on a boat on
the Pest side of Elizabeth Bridge, WAKA Budapest serves cocktails in a tiki bar setting,
inspired by the tropics. An elephant watches over you as you sip your Frozen
Passion Negroni, the mixed drinks graced with high-end spirits such as
Tanqueray, Absolut and Havana 7. Music-wise, electronica rules, with four Dark
LAB DJs spinning for the fireworks boat party on 20 August, and Pécs pop-up
party people LEGAL commandeering the boat on Saturday, 21 August. Sunset here
and busy spot alongside Nyugati station, Zsiráf opened its Buda location at Millennium Wind Gate Park this summer. Still
finding its feet – there’s no WiFi and there’s some byzantine and
draconian system for glass deposits – ’Giraffe’ still wins out with its verdant
location, backdropped by the Buda hills. Ideal for early-evening chatter.
Island’, often referred to as 'Mosquito Island’) was an insect-ridden wilderness
until a few summers ago, when places such as Wasser started to open up around the foot of Újpest railway bridge. Appealing to three
vital customer bases in Budapest – cyclists, dog owners and those who prefer
their company to foreigners – Népsziget slowly gained in popularity. Kabin remains the key place, where on Friday, 20 August, the Serial Chillers tread the boards. Still more underground than, say, Római-part over the river,
Népliget still has that lost-in-the-woods feeling while being easily accessible
from downtown Budapest.