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Category - Budapest bars
Thinky’s Guide to Budapest Bars and Pubs
Hungarians love to drink, but rarely just for the hell of it, they always need a good reason… the bars and clubs open until 4 or 5am, even on a weekday, how’s that for a good reason?
To make things more interesting, part of the charm of Budapest is that the action is spread all over the city, so the intrepid drinker can always find somewhere to party nearby, although the best venues may not be immediately obvious from street level. An essential starting point is always one of the kerts or romkocsmák – Hungarian for “gardens” and “ruin pubs” respectively.
And don’t forget, before you’ve had one too many, to say “Ege’sze’ge’re!” (to good health) to your new-found Hungarian friends…
I n the middle of a hot August evening, I dropped in at Janis Pub and had a beer. It was the last one I would get from the little pub for almost five months. The beer was fine, but the doors inexplicably closed afterward.
Nevertheless, I would peer in once in a while, wondering if this was yet another cool but unused space that would be left in the economic dust. It was chock full of Janis Joplin memorabilia and nautical bric-a-brac. Something about it evoked San Francisco and the heyday of Joplin’s career. I wanted to sit down for another beer.
The name itself is taken from a drink (moloko drencrom) favored by the main character Alex, (played brilliantly by Malcolm McDowell). Moloko is Russian for milk, but in the movie, it is a primer for “a bit of the old ultraviolence.” Luckily, I have seen none of that at Moloko, save for on the basement big-screen on a slower night, where Mortal Kombat is played.
We at Think have been coming here for our drinks and a bit of relaxation since we started in August. The relaxed atmosphere and the fast service is one draw that the cheap drink prices only add to. That, and the waiters venturing out onto Egytem, Square is pretty convenient in the hot summer months.
1,000’s of business cards all pinned to the walls and ceilings. With an excellent menu that caters for all tastes the only thing is…you will need a huge appetite as the servings are huge. (Smaller portions are available for children).
An excellent selection of import and local beers, complimentary peanuts that you just chuck the shells on the floor and that Olde Worlde feel. Live music from locals playing all your favourites, excellent service and prices that won’t empty your wallet.
The walls are painted bright red and yellow, both beginning to lose their luster. The grime-gathering has begun in earnest, befitting a basement dive whose door is a short step from the asphalt and exhaust of the street.
The bar itself is raised above the floor. Ascending to order would feel like offering sacrifice to some subterranean deity of imbibement, save for the paint job.
Taken with Rokályuk’s strangely industrial interior shape, one might muse that one drinks in the belly of a far more infernal beast: Thomas the Tank Engine, zombie lord of toy marketing hell. But, at Rokályuk you can grab a drink cheaply where the locals looked worn and weathered. Maybe. During my visit, the barmaid was warding off utility workers from shutting the place over a delinquent 3.600 HUF balance.
At least, this is what the Irish Cat says might happen on its website. The owner has strived to reproduce an Irish pub’s atmosphere for its patrons. This small but well maintained basement public house sports walled booths and a winding common room wrapped around an appropriately stocked bar.
The selection of drinks includes the requisite Guinness, Jameson and the rest of Ireland’s best, with a good selection of Pálinkas, American spirits and local brews. The food menu is sparing in its Irish offerings, but certainly not lacking in the quality department. Expect to pay a fair price for it all. You will be served by a courteous and friendly staff who, though English capable, always appreciate your attempts to speak a bit of Hungarian.
?The founders of the venue sought, “a suitable spot for our club in the inner city. The kind that us as musicians would have loved to play in.” What they found was a dank hole filled with trash. From those fetid depths was born a first-class venue.
Jazz aficionados pass through an entry parlor with a high ceiling, and windingly descend into the basement, passing framed portraits of performers past along the way. Jazz Garden is an acoustically and esthetically fine-tuned space. The design seems inspired by early 20th-century garden cafes in Paris, and features street lamps, cobbled floors and clambering, flowered vines. One can see Josephine Baker stepping onstage here for an impromptu performance.