Beer, wine, spirits! Alcohol is always a great gift idea, and any Christmas meal or New Year’s party would feel a little sparse without a bottle of something to go with it. From outlets for craft beer to boutiques for fine wines, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best shops in which to pick your poison.
Beers & Books
Újlipótváros is famous for its lovely small shops, and Beers & Books is a treat. As the name implies, there’s a special concept here which you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Founder György Gombkötő oropened his business as an antiques store, but decided he wanted to switch a few years later… and thus Beers & Books was born. There are over 200 types of beers available, many foreign imports, but featuring Hungarian hand-crafted options as well. Along with, of course, books, there are also beer mugs, beer openers and beer posters for sale.
District XIII. Pannónia utca 46B
Open: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-2pm
The name says it all, but this specialty beer shop offers nearly 550 brews to choose from, 60% from small-batch Hungarian producers. Beerselection has been supplying thirsty patrons with choice beers for four years now. The selection of drinks spans a wide range, from simple lagers at 650 forints to a special Belgian sour beer costing 25,000. Because of their close relationship with small breweries, there are often beers available here which only have a few hundred bottles commercially available.
District VIII. József körút 22-24
Open: Mon-Fri noon-8pm, Sat 2pm-8pm, Sun 2pm-6pm
Csak a jó sör!
Only good beers and nothing less – this shop was founded by Gergely Kővári, who helped usher in the Budapest beer revolution of 2011. Truly a paradise for hopheads, it stocks about 450 options, at least a quarter of which are Hungarian. The cheapest lager is 500 forints and the most expensive item, an American barley wine, is 12,000. Staff are knowledgeable about all the beers, and can offer guidance on what to select. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find the best beer here, including seasonal Christmas specials.
District VII. Kertész utca 42-44
Open: Mon-Sat 2pm-9pm
DOC Vino Bar
This tiny wine bar is packed with options, and the professional staff are happy to find the best pairing for your Christmas dinner. The name refers to the Italian rules of origin protection, which guarantees quality. Wines are available from across Italy, including bottles arriving straight to the city from organic vineyards. Many can be sampled before purchase to ensure you’ll pick a bottle you’ll love. Whether you’re shopping for something light and fruity, or a denser, heartier red, you’re sure to find something delicious in this cosy boutique.
District V. Arany János utca 12
Open: Mon-Sat 4pm-midnight
Located on downtown Veres Pálné utca, this bar and shop offers more than 500 spirits for tasting in-store, and over 1,100 for purchase online. Originally selling only whiskies, they now also stock rum, tequila, gin, prosecco, calvados and cognac. Even homemade brandy and unique spirit options such as beetroot or celery can be found. The bar is attached, so Christmas shopping can be paired with some holiday cheer of your own.
District V. Veres Pálné utca 7
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-midnight
Hudi Hudi is a Budapest-based distillery, producing beer, cider and soft drinks, inspired by Central Europe’s hopping craft market. Only three minutes’ walk from the Corvin Quarter, it also stocks wines, spirits and sparkling wines, as well as Norlan designer whisky glasses, a great Christmas gift. The cheapest beer can be bought for 415 forints, and the most expensive spirit tops out at 23,000.
District VIII. Nap utca 19
Open: Mon-Fri noon-8pm
MyWine Bar & Shop
Located on downtown Arany János utca, this wine bar is playful and relaxed, while maintaining an air of elegance. Excellent Hungarian labels are sold here at fair prices, with classics alongside experimental new brands. Whether shopping for yourself or picking a gift for a friend, the selection is comprehensive and the staff are available for recommendations. Even some small-scale beers are stocked, and a delicatessen is on-hand for some tasty cheeses and cold cuts.
District V. Arany János utca 16
Open: Mon-Thur noon-11pm, Fri noon-11.30pm, Sat 4pm-11.30pm
Founded in 2011, Radovin currently has four stores in Budapest, but head to Böszörményi út for the largest one. Walk in and be amazed at the selection of 400 different items – and that’s just the wines! There are nearly 150 distilleries represented on the shelves. Around half of the wines are Hungarian, many from small-scale operations, so it’s possible to find a few hundred bottled specialties of the Lenkey or Csaba Török wineries. Rare foreign varieties are also available, as well as craft beers and quality spirits.
District XII. Böszörményi út 18
Open: Mon-Wed 10am-8pm, Thur-Sat 10am-9.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm.
Special Xmas opening hours: Sun 22 Dec until 8pm, Tue 24 Dec 9am-2pm, Tue 31 Dec 9am-4pm. Closed 25-26 Dec, 1 Jan.
The Cocktail Shop
The Cocktail Shop has been selling alcoholic products since 2003, and their selection can be purchased online as well as in person. A range of spirits is available, including cognac, tequila, mezcal and absinthe. In addition, all sorts of cocktail accessories line the shelves, shakers, spoons, glasses, filters and boxed sets, perfect for the budding bartender. Wine- and coffee-making tools are also sold, both online and in-shop.
District IX. Közraktár utca 10
Open: Daily 10am-7pm
Vino Castillo Wine House
The Vino Castillo Wine House has had its webshop open for ten years, where online shoppers can find the best Spanish drinks, but this past January finally saw the opening of a brick-and-mortar shop here in the city as well. Head to Dob utca and choose from more than 70 types of Spanish sparkling cava, and other specialities including vermouth and sherry. Being a wholesaler, prices are better than buying elsewhere!
District VII. Dob utca 7
Open: Mon-Sat noon-8pm