Equal parts edgy and refined, Budapest is a cinematic city that’s world-class for both casual drinking and boozy bar-hopping. From fine Hungarian wine to rowdy ruin bars, there’s something to offer everyone, including a growing craft beer scene. Much of the nightlife scene is centered on the Jewish Quarter, but you’ll also find fun drinking venues lining the Danube and on the outskirts of town. Whether you’re looking for romance, revelry, or anything in between, read on for a list of must-drink bars in Budapest.
- The best ruin bars in Budapest
- The best cocktail bars in Budapest
- The best rooftop bars in Budapest
- The best wine bars in Budapest
- The best outdoor bars in Budapest
- The best beer bars in Budapest
The best ruin bars in Budapest
Ruin bars are a unique feature of Budapest’s nightlife scene. These bars are located in abandoned or derelict buildings, hence the name, and are known for their quirky decor, cheap drinks, and lively atmosphere. Doubling as bohemian event spaces, you can also catch live music, film screenings, and cultural activities at ruin bars.
Opened in 2002, Szimpla Kert is Budapest’s first ruin bar and its most famous to this day. It’s located in the Jewish Quarter and spans two floors and multiple rooms, each with its own unique character and style. Szimpla Kert also has an open-air courtyard with a garden where you can relax on old sofas while sipping your drink.
Where: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
Several years ago, two of Budapest’s premier ruin bars, Fogasház and Instant, joined forces to create the Instant-Fogas Complex, a massive nightlife venue in the Jewish Quarter that’s now home to seven dancefloors, 18 bars, and an outdoor area. Though interconnected, each area of the complex has a distinct style, be it a multi-floor club like Instant or a more traditional ruin bar like Fogas with its vintage furniture, street art, rooftop terrace, and miscellaneous events.
Where: Budapest, Akácfa u. 51, 1073 Hungary
The best cocktail bars in Budapest
Budapest is a city that deserves celebrating, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a cocktail in hand. Thankfully, the city delivers, with your pick of gorgeous cocktail bars that’ll make you want to stick around for a second round.
Boutiq’Bar is a cocktail bar in Budapest that’s known for its expert mixology. It was founded by a group of bartenders who wanted to elevate the art of cocktail-making by using high-quality ingredients and focusing on both flavor and presentation. Come for the inviting lounge-like interior, stay for the creative drinks.
Where: Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 5, 1061 Hungary
Sophisticated and stylish, Black Swan is an intimate, dimly lit cocktail bar in Budapest. The bartenders are highly skilled and passionate about their craft, creating cocktails that are both delicious and visually stunning. The menu features classic cocktails, signature drinks, and a range of wines and spirits, and the eats on offers are as exquisite as the drinks.
Hotsy Totsy is an underground, speakeasy-style bar in Budapest whose bartenders are known for crafting bespoke drinks based on the preferences of its patrons. Drink at the sleek bar or slide into a plush leather banquette while blues and jazz classics play in the background.
Where: Budapest, Síp u. 24, 1075 Hungary
The best rooftop bars in Budapest
Treat yourself to Budapest’s rooftop bars, and you’ll find a new appreciation for the city’s many striking landmarks from every angle. From St. Stephen’s Basilica to Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest is a city that delights the senses — especially the eyes and tastebuds.
Located high above Budapest, boasting some of the best views in the city, 360 Bar is the perfect place to sip a signature cocktail on a sunny day. The drinks menu is extensive, and there’s also a handful of small bites and larger plates on offer. 360 Bar also has an igloo garden to keep you warm in the winter, with nine reservable insulated see-through “igloos” to drink in.
Where: Budapest, Andrássy út 39, 1061 Hungary
High Note Skybar
High Note SkyBar is an immaculately landscaped rooftop garden that serves a wide array of cocktails, fine wines, and bar eats. The best part? High Note Skybar offers customers a front-row seat to the St. Stephen Basilica, Budapest’s largest church, from the top of the Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Hotel Collection.
Where: Budapest, Hercegprímás u. 5, 1051 Hungary
The best wine bars in Budapest
Hungarian wine may not have the global prestige of its French or Italian counterparts, but ask any connoisseur, and they’ll be quick to tell you that it can hold its own. Or head to these wine bars in Budapest to find out for yourself, whether you go totally local or opt to try the international wines on offer for comparison.
St. Andrea is a premier fine-dining restaurant in Budapest’s historic center that also has a wine and skybar. The wine list at St. Andrea is extensive, featuring a wide selection of local and international wines, including many from the St. Andrea winery. The skybar is a popular spot for after-work drinks or night-out cocktails, with chic decor and unobstructed views of the city.
Where: Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 78, 1055 Hungary
A lowkey establishment in Budapest’s buzzy Jewish Quarter, Kadarka is an excellent choice for anyone looking to sample classic Hungarian wines — even the name references a native Hungarian red grape. While popular, Kadarka is more local and less trendy than other bars in Budapest, making it a great choice for a casual drink.
Where: Budapest, Király u. 42, 1061 Hungary
Drop Shop is an understated, slightly industrial wine bar near the Parliament Building in Budapest. It’s both a wine bar and a wine store, featuring a larger selection of international wines than many other bars in the city. If you’re hungry, you can snack on small plates like cheese and charcuterie, alongside a predominantly post-work crowd.
Where: Budapest, Balassi Bálint u. 27, 1055 Hungary
The best outdoor bars in Budapest
Budapest is a European capital that’s magical in winter when it’s dusted with snow and done up in lights, but there’s nothing like enjoying a drink outside on a sunny day. Here’s where to drink in summer, spring, and maybe even fall or winter.
Kertem is a seasonal beer garden and one of the largest outdoor bars in Budapest. Near the popular Széchenyi Thermal Baths, it’s the perfect place to continue unwinding with a brew after a soak in the baths — or maybe even a romp in Széchenyi’s thermal beer spa. Food is available, and dogs are welcome, a fact you’ll see many locals taking advantage of.
Where: Budapest, Könyves Kálmán krt. 25, 1101 Hungary
Walk along the Danube River that separates Buda from Pest, and you’ll find Pontoon located by the north pillar of the landmark Széchenyi Chain Bridge. A nice place to stop day or night, Pontoon is a relaxed spot for food, drinks, and whatever local entertainment is unfurling around you, from people-watching to live music in the evenings.
Where: Budapest Vigadó 1/A kikötő, 1051 Hungary
Gozsdu Udvar, or a Gozsdu Courtyard, isn’t a bar but a bustling outdoor complex in the Jewish Quarter that’s home to several bars and restaurants. You’ll find an eclectic mix of people here, from flea-market shoppers to late-night partiers.
Where: Budapest, Gozsdu udvar, 1075 Hungary
The best beer bars in Budapest
The craft beer scene in Budapest is growing, although the city is also home to several beer gardens that are more about serving ambiance than innovative brews. If you’re looking for a taste of what the beer scene has to offer, however, you’re in for a treat at the bars below.
Specializing in small-batch beers, Gravity Brewing is one of few beer bars in Budapest that actually has a brewery on site. Come for a beer in the taproom or a full-on brewery tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the sudsy magic is made.
Where: Budapest, Lónyay u. 22, 1093 Hungary
Élesztő is a cool craft beer bar with dozens of brews on top, from easy-drinking beers to those with more complex flavors. The warehouse-style bar is set in an old glass-manufacturing plant, with exposed brick walls, vaulted glass ceilings, and long tables where you can drink with a small or large group. There’s also a food stall on site.
Where: Budapest, Tűzoltó u. 22, 1094 Hungary
Where to stay near Budapest’s best bars
Most of Budapest’s top bars are located on the Pest side of the city, which is generally much livelier than the Buda side. Moreover, they’re largely clustered in central Pest, conveniently located near Budapest’s best hotels. There are plenty of centrally located Budapest Airbnbs, as well, but for a sure thing, consider the hotels below for their proximity to the majority of the bars featured on the list above.
We hope you love these hotels near the must-drink bars in Budapest! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
Aria Hotel Budapest
If you’re looking for a hotel near the best bars in Budapest, you might as well stay in a hotel that houses one of the best bars in Budapest. Home to the High Note Skybar, the Aria Hotel by Liberty Hotel Collection is a five-star hotel located a stone’s throw from must-see sights like St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, not to mention the nightlife-heavy Jewish Quarter.
Where: Budapest, Hercegprímás u. 5, 1051 Hungary
Price per night: From $330
Prestige Hotel Budapest
The centrally located Prestige Hotel Budapest gives guests a surprisingly good deal on a sumptuous stay. It’s also within walking distance of many of Budapest’s best bars, including Szimpla Kert, 360 Bar, Boutiq’Bar, Gozsdu Udvar, and many more on this list.
Where: Budapest, Vigyázó Ferenc u. 5, 1051 Hungary
Price per night: From $123