Let’s face it, Budapest is up to its eyeballs in craft beer. Where there once was little but mass-produced lager, there are now exciting small-batch, locally brewed ales in all kinds of flavours, served at lively, high-design locales, mostly in the city centre or party quarter. Some provide top-notch food, others lay on brewery tours. Here we offer you our pick of the best. Cheers!
Bölcső Bar & Food
A cradle of hop-fuelled gatherings in a bohemian setting, Bölcső is firmly part of the BBB scene, which is to say the lively bars and cafés around Bartók Béla Boulevard on the Buda side of Liberty Bridge. This labour of love for founder Dani Kondorosi comprises a timber-lined pub with 20 brews on tap, currently including Braindance Berliner Weisse from Reketye in Nagytarcsa and Jack Lemon pale ale by Hara’Punk (‘Feed the Punk that Lives Within!’), brewed alongside the Trafó arts centre in Budapest. Notably decent burgers, steak tartare and black-pudding strudel may accompany, along with your choice from the 40 whiskies on offer.
Address: District XI. Zenta utca 3
Open: Mon-Fri 11.30am-11pm, Sat-Sun noon-11pm
Scottish global chain BrewDog has had a pawhold on Budapest since late 2018, when it opened at a central location. The best brews from Scotland (and special guests) flow from 25 taps, while breakfasts and brunches also feature. The selection is impressive – presented on a cinema-style schedule board – and currently includes examples from local breweries such as MONYO (Boris the Blade), Hara’Punk (Son of a Bitch) and Fehér Nyúl (Sanson Rural). You’ll find this spacious outlet in the dog-leg street of Anker köz, off Király utca, as central as you can get without serving Dead Pony Club India session ale in the underpass of Deák tér metro station.
Address: District VI. Anker köz 2-4
Open: Mon-Tue, Sun 10.30am-1am, Wed-Thur 10.30am-2am, Fri-Sat 10.30am-4am
Fehér Nyúl Taproom
Fehér Nyúl, Budapest’s own White Rabbit Brewery, had long been associated with the most prominent venues around the city before it finally opened its own taproom and started laying on tours in 2018. Set in a former textile-painting shop in south Pest, this modest drinking den operates on Friday and Saturday evenings or by appointment. Fehér Nyúl’s full assortment can be sampled, its APA, IPA, White Passion Bavarian wheat beer with mango and passion fruit, and White Stag white stout with cocoa beans and coffee. Brewery tours are also provided – the next takes place on Thursday, 25 July at 7pm. The 90-minute guided visit is carried out in Hungarian but occasional English explanations should feature – and the beer will be universal. Tickets include ale samples and cost 3,000 HUF – book here.
Address: District IX. Soroksári út 110-112
Open: Fri 6pm-10pm, Sat 4pm-10pm or booking a table on +36 30 429 8593 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
FIRST Craft Beer
One of the many success stories of Budapest’s artisanal ale revolution, FIRST Craft Beer now also run a prominent pub and kitchen in the city centre – but its headquarters remain at the brewery between the Árpád híd and Forgách utca stops on the blue M3 metro line. Here, an open bar operates from mid-afternoon five days a week, pouring FIRST’s own brews (Irish red ale, chocolate vanilla imperial stout, Belgian witbier) from ten taps. Hungarian-language – usually English-friendly – tours take place on Friday and Saturday evenings. Register and transfer the entrance fee (3,990 HUF including beer samplings) at least three days in advance. Details here
Address: District IV. Váci út 83
Open: Taproom Wed-Thur 4pm-10pm, Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat 2pm-midnight, Sun 2pm-9pm. Tours Fri 7pm. Sat 5pm, 6pm & 7pm
‘In Hop We Trust’ is the motto here, a funky little spot in the party quarter where ales are rotated at dizzying speed. Current examples include Hand of the Mad King, Fog Breaker and Temporal Purgatory but that can change any day now. Created by guerrilla brewer Armando Otchoa and Csakajósör! owner Gergely Kővári-Marschall, Hopaholic is beer geek heaven, the tap list and bottled selection featuring favourites from around the world. They won’t serve shots or wines, but they will have hermelín (pickled cheese) made according to a Czech recipe, and other snacks. If you’re coming with a group, book a table. Closed on Sundays.
Address: District VII. Akácfa utca 38
Open: Mon-Wed 4pm-midnight, Thur-Sat 4pm-2am
HOPS BEER BAR
Set in Budapest’s party quarter, HOPS was opened by brothers Gergő and Zoltán, whose father had a long history in the hospitality trade. The décor is worthy of note, wallpaper created from beer coasters, a ceiling of old hops sacks. Today it’s overseen by BEERSIDE, the official local distributor of top brands such as Mikkeller, Omnipollo, Pohjala and Tired Hands, so you can sample decent specialities. It’s both a bottle shop and a bar with ten taps.
Address: District VII. Wesselényi utca 13
Open: Mon-Thur 2pm-2am, Fri-Sat 2pm-3am, Sun 2pm-midnight
Horizont Taproom by Léhűtő
Renowned local craft brewers Horizont run Léhűtő in the Gozsdu Udvar, offering over a dozen tap brews in two rooms. In the larger space, beer flows from 13 taps, more than half of them Horizont’s, while the smaller one serves three types of Horizont as well. The horizontal design accentuates the branding, while a monitor above the counter is connected to ale specialists Untappd to show the popularity of the brew you have chosen. Baguettes and burgers also feature, and the team often organises club nights and meet-the-brewer events.
Address: District VII. Holló utca 12-14
Open: Mon, Sun 4pm-midnight, Tue-Thur 4pm-2am, Fri-Sat 4pm-4am
Jónás Craft Beer House
Open until 2am at weekends, Jónás brings the riverside Bálna building to life thanks to its range of ales and Danube-facing terrace. Run by the founder of adventurous local brewers Reketye, Zoltán Reketye-Trifán, Jónás often strays into international waters, offering global favourites such as Paulaner and Mort Subite.
Address: District IX. Fővám tér 11-12
Open: Mon-Thur 11am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11am-11pm
The man behind KEG Sörművház, Zoltán Halász, wrote a blog called Művelt Alkoholista (‘The Cultured Alcoholic’). Now he is riding the craft-beer wave with KEG. Halász has transformed a former gym into a well-structured expansive space, with a small stage for acoustic concerts, TVs on the wall for live matches and a tree-shaded terrace for observing the revived bustle of Bartók Béla út. Within are 32 beer taps. Shunning the hipster trend for chalking up ale choices on a board, Halász has created a digital interface not unlike an airport departures board, showing the provenance and price of the brew concerned. Half of the selection consists of the most popular varieties, the other half of special small-batch brews, with an overall 50/50 split between domestic and imported.
To ensure that ale fans aren’t falling over in the doorway, Halász offers a 5×1 decilitre sample selection. Ales are kept at 10-12 degrees in the cold store, passing through pipes which are also chilled under the counter. This cooling system keeps the brews chilled down to the last drop. Beer is affected by heat, and if you don’t feel it now, you will do in the morning.
Address: District XI. Orlay utca 1
Open: daily 11.30am-11pm
Neked Csak Dezső
More bistro and beer palace than an honest-to-goodness bar, Neked Csak Dezső stands near Blaha Lujza tér in the shadow of the Baroque Chapel of Saint Roch. This sturdy corner building has long been a graveyard for new bar ventures. This time, the bar in question is the once cultish Dezső, which garnered a substantial following from its long-term stint on nearby Dohány utca. With 32 craft beers, new-wave coffee and quality bistro food, the bar name still celebrates in name and neon the revered, once banned, Hungarian film The Witness.
Address: District VIII. Rákóczi út 29
Open: Mon-Tue 11.30am-midnight, Wed 11.30am-1am, Thur 11.30am-2am, Fri-Sat 9am-2am, Sun 9am-midnight