Cafes and Bars
Like Vienna, Budapest is famous for its cafés and cake shops and the most famous of the famous is the Gerbeaud, on the west side of V Vörösmarty tér, a fashionable meeting’ place for the city’s elite since 1870. But sorry to say that in recent years this place has become pretentious and overpriced.
The Művész, VI Andrássy út 29, almost opposite the State Opera House, is a more interesting place to people-watch than Gerbeaud and has a better selection of cakes at lower prices. It is now open 24 hours a day.
The New York Café, VII Erzsébet körút 9-1 (metro: Blaha Lujza tér), has been a Budapest institution since 1895. The elegant turn-of-the-century décor glitters around the literati who still meet here.
The perfect place for coffee and cakes up in the Castle District is the crowded Ruszwurm, I Szentháromság utca 7 near Matthias Church. Two more good cafés on the Buda side are Angelika, I Batthyány tér 7 and the untouristy Café Déryné at I Krisztina tér 3.
Jazz café V. Balassi B. u. 25. T. 169-5506. Open daily, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Tue.-Sat., 8 p.m.-10 p.m. No 4, 6 tram to Jászai Mari tér.
Isabela café I. Iskola u. 36. T. 202-0571. Open every day 9-2 a.m. In a small street behind the Batthyányi square market you can find a café offering a wide range of drinks, beer and special coffees with a great atmosphere. Take M1 to Batthyányi tér.
Art café V. Vörösmarty tér 1.T. 267-0297. Best view in the area. Live jazz and interesting cocktails. Walk to end of the Váci u.
Café incognito VI. Liszt Ferenc tér 3. T.351-9428.. Open Mon: Fri., 10 am: midnight, Sat: Sun., 3 p.m.: 12 p.m. Ml to Oktogon. Terrace.
Underground VI. Teréz krt. 30. Open daily, 3 p.m.: 3 a.m. Acid Jazz and House. Every Wed. great House music party.
Bars and Pubs
Amstel Bar V. Váci utca 61.You'll be hard pressed to find a better all-nighter than the Amstel Bar. With a downtown setting, a good selection of beers and pleasant staff, it's all too easy to find yourself drinking until the early hours.
Belgian Brasserie I. Bem rakpart 12. As far as we're concerned, you can't go far wrong with a bar that serves Chimay, Duvel and Hoeggarden. Conveniently located on the Buda embankment (and within easy reach of the M2 metro line), many of the bar's clientele are unsurprisingly drawn from the nearby French Institute. With a laid back atmosphere and a menu that includes the ubiquitous moules marinière, we like this place a lot.
Cactus Juice VI. Jókai tér 5. Although on the face of it a Wild West theme bar in downtown Pest may seem just a bit tacky, Cactus Juice actually works quite well. Cuisine follows suit with a variety of burgers and Tex-mex dishes. Largely Hungarian clientele with music in the evenings.
Fregatt V. Molnár utca 26. Another English-style pub near to Budapest's Elizabeth Bridge, which retains its popularity with the English speaking community, despite the arrival of similar places in town. A gentle crowd and relaxed atmosphere make this a decent enough place to share a few pints.
Janis' Pub V. Király Pal utca 8. Named after Texas' most famous blues songstress, Janis Joplin, this downtown pub boasts decent live music as well as Guinness and Gösser beer on tap. Easy to find and situated close to Budapest's major hotels.
John Bull Pub Apáczai Csere János utca 17. As the first English-style pub to open in Budapest, it's not surprising that the clientele here are mainly English and American expats. Located behind the Budapest Marriott Hotel, the John Bull Pub could almost be mistaken for the Rovers Return in Coronation Street. And that in a nutshell, is its main flaw. The phony traditional style décor (which includes a darts board) gives a subdued, rather soulless feel to the place. Moreover, the presence of Double Diamond on tap suggested that we'd somehow managed to slip into a weird 70s time warp.
Universum V. Vaci utca 33. Café/club nicely located in Budapest's most famous shopping district. By day, the snazzy enough café attracts a mixed crowd, although as the sun sets it's predominantly twenty-something clubbers who turn up for the sounds of the in-house DJ.