City guide
Time Warp: see Budapest stores then and now
Photo : / Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest
Time Warp: see Budapest stores then and now

When we visit a new shop, bar, or café in Budapest, the history of its location almost always comes up. Some owners don’t really care about it, while others enthusiastically dive into archives and ask older residents of the building about the site’s back story in search of the old identity of their new place; sometimes they preserve a piece of it with a photo, a refurbished window frame, or carefully preserved flooring. We collected a few stores around Budapest that somehow managed to continue providing commercial services for many decades now, even if the business model is very different now.

Szalay Söntés – Kisüzem Örkény Pharmacy – Patika Szimpla – Mc Donald’s Grocery store – non-stop store Hairdresser – Olló Hairdresser Salon

Szalay Söntés – Kisüzem

Kisüzem stands today at the corner of Kis Diófa and Dob in District VII – this place is the best when the weather is good, and we can sit in the windows with a fröccs in hand while watching the everyday life of Klauzál Square. Before World War I, a café called Erzsébet operated on the ground floor of this building of historicist style, and later it was followed by a saloon called Szalay Söntés, meaning that people have been drinking at this corner for a long time now.

Örkény Pharmacy – Patika

The pharmacy at a particularly bustling corner of Blaha Lujza Square was opened in 1873 by István Örkény, the father of the renowned absurdist Hungarian writer of the same name. Since the author of One Minute Stories was also a pharmacist, he worked at the shop, which still fulfills the same function.

Szimpla – Mc Donald’s

The groundbreaking ruin pub on Kazinczy Street isn’t the first place in Budapest that chose the name Szimpla. Back in the day, a coffeehouse of the same name awaited guests with espressos at Blaha Lujza Square’s intersection with Népszínház Street, where today there’s a fairly well-known fast-food restaurant.

Grocery store – non-stop store

The corner of Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road and Nagymező Street is a busy junction where it’s very useful to have a little shop – which was the case in the past and also today, although we doubt that the “Delicatesse” of decades ago was able to provide munchies at 4am, which is no problem here nowadays.

Hairdresser – Olló Hairdresser Salon

The owners of Olló Hairdresser Salon looked into the history of their parlor thoroughly, and it’s only by coincidence that an archive photograph from 1917 clearly shows that the shop on Klauzál Street housed a hairdressing salon/barber shop back then. The residents also confirmed this, so it’s appropriate that nowadays the floor of the store at number 29 is covered with freshly-cut hair once again.