As the name suggests, these are essentially drinking establishments set up in disused buildings, often in the court yards of a derelict apartment blocks. Renowned for their cheap beer, hip music and interesting surroundings - it's definitely worth taking the time out to hunt down one of these bars.
In the backstreets of Budapest
DiVino is Budapest's latest uber-cool wine bar, found on the swanky, renovated square in front of the mighty Szent Istvan Basilika (Saint Stephen's Basilica).
It's connected to the fashionable Tigris restaurant and the class just oozes from every angle: from the sleek, chic, minimalist decor that lets full attention focus on the beautiful young things posing elegantly on low pinewood stools, to the endless list of wines and tasty, but pricey, nibbles, chalked up on the large blackboards above the bar.
The borbar (winebar) highlights 26 talented young Hungarian winemakers and a different winemaker is featured every week.
When I visited on opening night at the end of May, the winemaker to watch out for was Csaba Miklos and the coolest drink was a sparkling rose called Frici from the Gere vineyards. Refreshing, innovative and very, very hip. Just like DiVino.
A fabulous bar in the heart of Budapest. The owners have taken over an entire building and filled it with wacky art (flying rabbits) and rooms with different themes. There's a dance area, a chill-out area and many more secret, hidden corners to discover. Great style and originality.
The wonderful Neszmely Vineyard is now Hungary's most successful wine producing estate with 560 hectares of grape vines.
It still retains the family business atmosphere and we stayed in the delightful 'Borhotel and etterem' (wine hotel and restaurant) with views of the mighty Danube.
The Hilltop company only started in 1991 but already produces some of the best whites in Hungary. The Neszmely Irsai Oliver 2006 is an absolute classic: crisp, fruity, all those cliched white wine flavours really do come true with hints of straw, spice and summer.
The Irsai Oliver grape is a relatively new hybrid and a relative of the Muscat grape.
It's eminently quaffable and very good to drink on hot summer evenings by the Danube!
Also recommended are the:
Neszmely Olaszrizling 2006(Italian riesling) and the Premium Neszmely Grigio 2006
Situated 75km east of Budapest, near Tata.
Ady Endre utca 11-13
Tel +36 1 336 2220
Stylish minimal like bar with top quality spirits and liqueurs. Try the Boutiq'specials from their list, and you won't drink cocktails anywhere else while in town.
Paulay Ede.u.5, Downtown,VI.distr. Two minutes walk from Deak square.
Tiny, cosmopolitan New York City-esque cocktail bar with foreigner friendly service. Always crowded by models and hip people.
Anker koz 3. Kiraly u corner. Downtown, 5th district Budapest. Near metro station "Deak Ter".
This is a great place to have a drink. Very cosmopolitan and yet laid back. Seems to be very popular with young people and expats.
Not bad value either - a large glass of wine set us back about £1.30.
On the main square in the heart of the what was once the Jewish ghetto.
District VII, Klauzal ter 1-2, Around Kiraly utca, Budapest
Metro M2: Blaha Lujza ter
If you visit Heroes' Square, I strongly recommend to pass by this small and cosy wine store on the nearby Damjanich Street. It has a wide range of Hungarian and Italian wines, and absolutely not a rip-off like other wine stores in the centre. The staff speak German and Italian, but no English - yet.
Damjanich u. 25/A
(on the corner of Damjanich and Nefelejcs Street
Great restaurant in a good location, not far from Octagon. Food is fantastic, atmosphere great. Two people, two courses, best bottle of wine on the menu; £45 - bargain. It's full of locals too - a good indication.
6th district, Liszt Ferenc ter 2
This is one of those places where the guests stay longer than they expected, and end up working there. The writing all over the walls and the squat-like attic give it a definite acid house feel, but don't worry, everyone’s friendly, and the hippy vibe is pretty infectious.
The 24-hour bar (essentially a fridge) and adjoining lounge are great to meet people and play some free pool. It’s a party place as well, so expect to have some messy evenings. A little bit of a mission to find, but definitely worth it. AND make sure you do a shot of Unicum at the bar. Medicinal apparently. Can't really remember.
A reasonably priced and enjoyable restaurant on the Pest side and just south of the popular tourist areas.
Home-brewed beer, which you can have in litre sized glasses if you want (and at about £2.70 a litre at May 2007 exchange rates). Ask the band for your favourite tune.
Kinizsi utca 30-36.
Metro Ferenc Krt.
or short walk from the tram which runs along the banks of the Danube
This was recommended by our hotel receptionist and was brilliant. It is a pub with great food and atmosphere and clearly was the place to be. It gets pretty packed, mind.
Address : VII. Akácfa u. 13.
Tel : (+36-1) 322 7645
Open daily :15:00-04:00
They have an extensive selection of Hungarian, French, Italian, Far-Eastern dishes and wide range of Hungarian and international wines, drinks and cocktails.
Budapest, Nyári Pál u. 9.
+36 1 266 3277
Where possible I like to partake of the local tipple on my travels but rarely, if ever, have I tasted anything like Hungary's herb based spirit, Unicum. A single measure of this concoction should be more than enough for two to three people ... the first sip tastes a little of cough mixture, and the second enough to convince you that no, apologies to the good people at Benylin, this is something far nastier.
On the plus side, it does come in great globe shaped bottles - miniatures of which make ideal presents for friends back home, particularly those you don't like much.
Just about every bar in Budapest
For under a tenner you can spend an afternoon sampling hundreds of fantastic wines in the underground cellars of this brilliant attraction.
Not at all pompous, so you don't have to be a boffin to enjoy it. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff are lovely - if a bottle's empty just shout up and they'll open another.
Szentháromság tér 6; tel: 1 212 10 31; www.magyarborokhaza.hu
Go there for the vast array of tasty Belgian and German beers at low cost. You will inevitably get hungry and descend into the 'Jungle' restaurant in the cellar where a plethora of paper mache zoo animals peer at you as you tuck into giant portions of steak and veg type fare with names like 'cry of the rhino'. Great value with roars and squawks to keep you amused throughout the meal.
VI. Jókai u. 30
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