10 of our favourite cocktail bars in Budapest in 2023


  • We Love Budapest

24/03/2023 5.02pm

'A bar is a place where people meet, share what they have and are grateful because they know they are not alone', says the 1999 American film The Florentine. It is otherwise a forgettable movie experience, but this line is really spot on. It’s true, at a bar or at the smaller format tables in the dim light, we share many secrets with each other, alternating between joy and sorrow as we move from sobriety to a slightly different state of consciousness. There are plenty of chic, cool, mysterious, new-wave, and arty bars in the city, so we’ve put together a selection of our top picks.

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest



1051 Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 5-6

It would be difficult to give an objective opinion on Múzsa, as just looking around the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace would be an all-night activity and aesthetic wander. In 2021, they also won the top European bar-design award. All this is topped off with a world-class bar experience, an institution within an institution that you'll fall in love with the moment you book a seat at the bar and entrust yourself to their expert staff. There are many stories to tell and every sip reflects a dedication and a journey to the pinnacle of professionalism.

Season after season, this elegant bar comes up with fabulous drink creations, with a new-wave look, and a 21st-century twist. Expect to see cotton candy clouds at the edge of your glass. Expect a surprisingly salty flavour to take over an exotic and fruity cocktail. They run amplitudes that are a joy to connect with!

WLB tip: Egyptian Blue, Sunglow cocktails

Photo: Mystery Hotel

Mystery Hotel Budapest - The Great Hall Restaurant & lounge


1064 Budapest, Podmaniczky utca 45.

We have long been fond of the history and symbolism of the eclectic building on Podmaniczky Street. The history is mysterious and shrouded in legend, as the palazzo was the headquarters of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungarian Freemasons in their heyday. Among the members of the association, which blended the doctrines of metaphysics and the occult in a unique way, were such great figures as Endre Ady, Pál Ignotus, and Dezső Kosztolányi. It's been a long road to its transformation into a 5-star hotel in 2019, and The Great Hall Restaurant & Lounge is a prominent feature of the Mystery Hotel Budapest.

What's more, you can take a seat at the bar on the fourth floor, right in the secret meeting room, designed in an oriental, Egyptian style. Naturally, they're also a fan of gin and tonic, so they've got 6 of their own creations, with room for classic favourites: they're happy to fix a Negroni or an Espresso Martini. But go for the house signature drinks, which add to the mysterious atmosphere of the Mystery Hotel Budapest. Let's sit back, enjoy your drinks, and think about the enigmatic stories that have been told within the walls of The Great Hall. (x)

WLP tip: Twisted Fate and Cauldron signature cocktails

Photo: LEO Bistro

LEO Bistro


1013 Budapest, Clark Ádám tér 1.

Can a cocktail collection be holistic? LEO at Clark Adam Square has managed to put together a very well-considered, interdisciplinary cocktail menu for this season. At the heart of the collection are crystals, 7 in total, with 7 different vibrations, properties, colours, and textures. It's indeed fashionable these days to be interested in crystals and minerals, and to carry lucky stones in your pocket, but it's a useful pastime and one that simply goes back to Mother Nature. LEO's beautiful bar invites you to play a mysterious game, the centre of which is a wooden board with minerals attached to it. Whether to turn the board over and choose based on ingredients, or let your intuition guide you blindly, is up to you.

Custom brews and infused drinks are a basic offering, but each of their crystal-tuned drinks comes with an extra. We don't want to spoil all the punchlines, but we need almost all our senses to fully immerse ourselves in LEO's magical crystal collection.

WLB tip: Rely on your sense of touch, any memories you have of the rocks, and your mood! It will hit you anyway!

Photo: Hirling Bálint - We Love Budapest



1061 Budapest, Paulay Ede utca 5.

More info

If it weren't for the Boutiq' Bar on Paulay Ede Street, Zoli Nagy's passion, and the butler system he introduced, we wouldn't be writing this selection. They are the alpha and omega. Besides being a cradle for bartenders and a professional workshop, they do infinitely respectable hospitality. They focus on those who arrive alone and just fancy a drink at Boutiq', perhaps toast with someone or to peek into the life of a bar with a long history. The bar and workshop, which has been around since 2008, was named one of the world's 50 best bars in 2012 and is a landmark for practically every expert in the local cocktail culture.

You can be sure they're making even the most basic cocktail to top quality, and in the process, they're coming up with groundbreaking ideas that will then spread across the city. That's it! Boutiq has an intimate atmosphere, and reservations are recommended as the sell-out nights start on Thursday. Without them the bar life of Budapest really wouldn't be where it is.

WLB tip: Stay tuned, Boutiq’ is a legend. And, if we've already tasted the classics and current favourite creations, head to PPC (Pink Pony Club) on Friday and Saturday.

Photo: ÉTOILE Champagne Bar / Kriston Petra

ÉTOILE Champagne Bar


1053 Budapest, Ferenciek tere 10.

Elegance and bubbles in one of Budapest's most magnificent buildings. The ÉTOILE Champagne Bar has many unique features that make it a must-discover for fans of the genre. There are quite a few bubbly bars in the city, but this is the only one dedicated to champagne. There's a wide selection of vintage batches and beautiful magnums, and you can taste a number of champagne house specialities that are rare in Budapest.

Csaba Virágh, sommelier and member of the jury of the Hungarian Sommelier Championship, is happy to guide you through the world of noble wines: they have a tasting bar, a selection of 6 lots. They will be pouring a minimum of 20 champagnes. Of course, ÉTOILE has its own playground: they also mix champagne-based cocktails, paying attention to all the important characteristics of this fragile drink. The Párisi Courtyard is a gift in itself, and the champagne bar adds to its elegance. (x)

WLB tip: Poppy Bon Bon, Pas-Sage cocktails

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest



1061 Budapest, Király utca 26.

Next to the Twentysix, the KAA has been welcoming guests since October 2022, and it’s every bit as photogenic and atmospheric as the big sister. The only difference is that it delivers night-time jungle vibes and lights. Don't be alarmed, the only danger is that you won't be able to choose from the rich drinks menu and that after 2-3 cocktails the mysterious lights on the side can be dizzying. According to our experience so far, we prefer to spend time at the bar: from there you can follow the drink preparation method and the guys are quite communicative, they are happy to tell you about KAA's cocktails and ingredients.

They make their classics in the style of living legend cocktail magician Charles Schumann, as precisely as possible. KAA's own drinks, on the other hand, are sometimes outrageous and feature some show elements. If you'd prefer to chat over a drink created especially for you, you should pick the 'three wishes': they'll personalise the cocktail and let your own story and tastes decide which way it goes.

WLB tip: Hemingway Daiquiri, En Fumo

Photo: Benkő-Molnár Fanni

Black Swan LAB


1072 Budapest, Klauzál utca 32

More info

We first entered Swan in 2017, and since then we've only sat at the bar, missing out on waiting and eating at the table. The most striking feature of the Klauzál Street Art Deco bar is the ceiling-to-ceiling ‘liquor library' itself, complete with a movable ladder. There is something old-fashioned and elegant about it. Whether you're in London or New York, this format would be a hit in any metropolis. They follow the trends and, in keeping with current spirit fashions, they always stock the most exciting of a range of drinks, but they wouldn't let go of the basic favourites.

You'd think they'd have more tourists due to the location, but they have had an international clientele since their opening, with many seeking this kind of Art Deco modern hedonistic milieu. Myterious lights, exemplary service, professional drinks, what more could you ask for?

WLB tip: Valkyrie punch, Lychee Tomato

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest

Hotsy Totsy Budapest


1074 Budapest, Síp utca 24

More info

In 2017, Hotsy Totsy appeared on Síp Street in Budapest, taking its name from a literally snappy urban legend. In New York in the 1920s, a hot-blooded dancer named Totsy was a public favourite, but once an inappropriate guest spanked her on the bottom and Totsy rewarded the intrusive gesture with a big slap on the face. This fire inspired the bar and it stays with it all the way: this spot is sexy, yet it doesn't lose its professional character. With their exciting events and guest bartenders, they're always upgrading the atmosphere and offerings. Their seasonally changing drink menu always has something unforgettable to surprise you with.

Back in the days when not every second Budapest outlet offered a haircut and some beard trimming, you could enter the 'speakeasy' barber shop from the bar itself. And now, from Thursday to Saturday, you can be a guest at Hudson by stepping through the red curtain.

WLB tip: head to Hudson for a taste of the classics!

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

The Duchess


Another unforgettable venue where Budapest's past and present meet in an exciting synergy. The rooftop bar of the Matild Palace is accessible by lift, and a fun fact is that the city's first such structure debuted here in the last century. A meeting place for decadent secret societies, today's The Duchess is both in keeping with the style of the hotel and stands out with its princessy boudoir atmosphere.

You can enjoy the panoramic views above in all four seasons, practically 'hovering' over the Elizabeth Bridge, but we prefer the cocktail hour during the summer sunset at leisure and up to the stars. Aside from the fact that the cocktail menu changes seasonally and they always come up with something gently elegant or unusually cheeky, and whether they mix a drink for the sunset or your current mood, it's a treat.

WLB tip: Her Majesty, Down Under

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest

IKON Piano Bar & Bistro


1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 5.

You can't say that Budapest's piano bars are overlapping, so IKON was a refreshing addition to this scene in 2022. The bar awaits us in a basement on the Pest side with a friendly atmosphere, kind staff, old tunes, and new songs from pianist Norbert Gazsi, from early evening until late at night. If you secure a seat close to the stage, be sure to book a table, as there's a lot of interest in this much-needed genre. We've missed this kind of live music and sophisticated form of entertainment in the area!

The drinks assortment is complemented by cocktails, so feel free to experiment. Champagne is not the only appropriate choice to go with the evergreen songs of Hungarian icons Katalin Karády or Rezső Seress! Sitting back in the comfortable, velvety seating of IKON, time passes very quickly, and after a drink or two, we can easily find ourselves on the dance floor.

WLB tip: Aviation, Mudslide

Related content

Admin mode