Budapest Nightlife Introduction
Many guide books on Budapest give the impression that, before the political
changes of 1989, there was little in the way of nightlife. Although it's
fair to say that back then most venues (especially those in university
halls) were a throw back to the days of cheesy 70s disco, glitter balls and
alarmingly wide trousers, locals have always found places in which to party
until the early hours.
Of the more 'sophisticated' western style clubs which have sprung up since
then, many come with burly bouncers, expensive beer and journeymen DJs. That
said, it's still easy to find a lively salsa bar or enjoy the laid back
atmosphere of a Budapest jazz club.
As well as our listings for nightclubs and casinos below, further details
about nightlife in the city can be found in the Budapest Sun or Budapest 'In
Your Pocket' Guide.
A38 Ship (A38 Hajo)
XI. Pázmány Péter sétány (at the Buda side of Petőfi Bridge), Tel: 464 3940,
Website: www.a38.hu, Open: 11am-midnight Mon-Sat. When club nights are
advertised in advance 4pm-4am.
We're fine with party boats just so long as they stayed moored all night
(essential after a few shots of Unicum). Luckily, the A38 does just that,
being an old stone-carrying ship in its previous incarnation. Having been
dragged all the way from the Ukraine, its new owners set about giving it a
full refit before opening for business in 2003. The A-38 attracts big name
DJs from across Europe, with the fun and games spread over three floors
(incorporating a restaurant, roof terrace, lounge and club). Those in the
know rate it highly.
Ba Bar Lounge Café
VII. Huszár utca 7, Tel: 06-20-919-7979, Website:
Sun-Thu 11.30am-2am, Fri-Sat 1130am-4am, Metro: Keleti pu.
Located just a short walk away from Keleti railway/metro station, the Ba Bar
Lounge is an modern, attractively decorated bar cum restaurant, with small
dance-floor attached. In keeping with its upscale aspirations, service and
attention to detail are both good, while the comfy chill out areas and
tasteful music are a far cry from some of Budapest's dodgier venues. Nice.
Bahnhof Music Club
Bahnhof Music ClubVI. Váci utca 1, Tel: 302 4751, E-mail: email@example.com, Open: 9pm-4am Wed-Sat, Metro: M3 Nyugati pu, Tram
With a catchy name and some talented resident DJs (for Budapest at any
rate), Bahnhof is one of the better clubs in Budapest. At weekends both
dance floors are packed solid. Quite how they attract so many good looking
Hungarians into a single place at any one time is beyond us. Chances of
Cha-Cha-Cha Underground Café
IX. (located in Kálvin tér metro station), Tel: 215-0545, Website:
www.chachacha.hu, Metro: M3 Kálvin tér
Looking like a set from Carlito's Way, the retro chic of Cha-Cha-Cha makes
it great venue for both daytime drinks and a good boogie at night. Sure,
it's located in a grotty subway just across from Kálvin tér metro, but don't
let that stop you from checking out this likeable haunt on a party night.
XV. Késmárk utca 32, Tel: 06209 213 845, Website: www.colosseum.hu, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Open: Sat 9pm-5am (with extra parties some Fridays), Bus
77 and 177
If you hanker for a night out in Budapest's 15th District, then this
sport/dance club combo may just be for you! There's a sort of archetypal 70s
throwback feel to the place, with techno-house and dance hits blasting away
until the early hours. Oh, and one of the chaps spinning those steel wheels
is called DJ Dive...
X. Népligeti út 2. Tel: 263 1614, Website: www.e-klub.hu, E-mail:
email@example.com, Open: Fri 9pm-5am, Sat 10pm-5am, Metro: M3 Népliget
Located next to the Planetarium in the Népliget, E-Klub is as hedonistic as
they come (in a not too subtle way either). And, with the likes of Ganxsta
Zolee playing here - he's famous in Hungary - you know this place is
popular. Strictly over 18s - and that's just for those visiting their
Fat Mo's Music Club
V. Nyári Pál u. 11. Tel: 267 3199, Fax: 328 0706, Website: www.fatmo.hu,
Open: Mon/Tue noon- 2am, Wed noon-3am, Thu/Fri noon-4am, Sat 6pm-4am, Sun
6pm-2am, Metro: M3 Kálvin tér/M3 Ferenciek tere
A music venue, bar and restaurant rolled into one, Fat Mo's is included here
(rather than on our bar/pub pages) as the club stages regular DJ sets, along
with jazz, soul and blues nights. Seemingly around forever, the club has
still managed to retain its popularity, both with locals and expats alike.
II. Lövőház u 1-5, Tel: 345 8358, Fax: 345 8547, Website:
www.kameleonmulato.hu, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
, Tram 4, 6 to
Looking a bit TOO much like Tony Montana's boudoir, the Kaméleon Club is
actually located on the 4th floor of the Mammut II shopping mall. Lots of
Latin nights (making us even more certain he chose the furnishings) while
there's a pleasant enough restaurant and bar area. Proclaims itself a
techno/trance free zone!
VI. Nagymező utca 25, Tel: 312 3823, Open: 10pm-6am daily, Metro: M1 Oktogon
Anyone with vaguely Bohemian leanings seems to wind up at Piaf, a stylish
and sophisticated night-club, named of course, after the famous French Diva.
Red velvet furnishings abound, while the music upstairs (which is often
provided by a resident pianist) has a distinctly jazzy feel. The basement
bar is an altogether different proposition though, with all sorts of weird
and wonderful characters cutting shapes on Piaf's lively dance-floor.
School Club (Közgáz Pinceklub)
IX. Fővám tér 8, Tel: 215 4359, Website: www.schoolclub.hu, Open: Mon-Sat
8pm-5am, Metro: M3 Kálvin tér, Tram 2, 47, 49,
Student disco located in the bowels of the city's Economics University.
Disco oriented grooves and a weekly karaoke are supplemented by cheap beer
and no-nonsense food. Bouncers have a reputation for being real bruisers, so
keep out of trouble!
Casinos in Budapest
If you prefer to gamble, rather than dance the night away, Budapest has over
a dozen casinos, most of which are sited in the luxury hotels along the
Dunakórzo. Formal dress is often a prerequisite for entry (as is a sizeable
wallet). All accept hard currency only (usually US dollars, sterling or
Casino Budapest Hilton
I. Hess András tér 1-3, Tel: 375 1001, Open: 7pm-2am daily, Free Entry,
Metro: M2 Moszkva tér then Várbusz
Slots plus Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, English Roulette, French
Roulette, Red Dog and Video Poker. See Hilton Hotel.
Las Vegas Casino
V. Roosevelt tér 2, Tel: 266 2082, Open 2pm-5am daily, Free Entry, Metro: M1
Slots plus American Roulette, Blackjack, Craps and Poker. See Hyatt Regency
Tropicana CasinoV. Vígadó u. 2, Tel: 266 3062, Website:
www.tropicanacasino.hu, Open 2pm-5pm daily, Free Entry for Hilton guests,
reduced entry for Budapest Card holders, Metro: M1 Vörösmarty tér
Popular casino just off Váci utca which is easily recognizable thanks to a
bright neon entrance (see left). And, even if you don't plan on gambling
away a fortune, the Tropicana can provide a few hours entertainment without
emptying your wallet. Slots plus American Roulette, Black Jack, Caribbean
Draw Poker/Stud Poker and Punto Banco.
I. Ybl Miklós tér 9, Tel: 202 4244, Open: 2pm-5am daily, Free Entry,
Website: www.varkert.com, Tram 19, Bus 86/116,
The nicest of Budapest's casinos, the building was designed by Miklós Ybl -
the architect responsible for the city's State Opera House. Slots plus
American Roulette, Black Jack, Craps, Punto Banco and Stud Poker.
Budapest Sport Introduction
With a population of only 10.5 million it's surprising that, over the years,
Hungary has had such a high level of success in major sporting competitions.
At the Olympics especially, the nation often achieves a respectable tally of
medals in disciplines such as football, fencing, gymnastics, water polo and
Back home, major athletics meetings and football matches are held at the
Puskás Ferenc Stadion (formerly the Népstadion) - Budapest's 68,000 all
seater arena - while indoor events will take place at the nearby Budapest
Arena (a purpose built, futuristic looking venue, that replaces the old fire
Football (Soccer) in Budapest
The most popular spectator sport is football, with Budapest providing most
of the nation's popular teams. The standard of domestic football is
moderate, while the international team failed (yet again) to reach the Euro
2004 Championships in Portugal.
Sadly, Hungary hasn't really had a world class team since the golden team
(aranycsapat) of the 1950s, which many hold to be the greatest footballing
side ever. The team's domination of the world stage at this time, through
players such as Ferenc Puskás, Jószef Boszik, Sándor Kocsis and Nándor
Hidegkuti was most famously demonstrated in a friendly match against England
on a cold November afternoon in 1953.
The home side, who had previously joked about Puskás being a couple of
stones overweight ("who's that fat little fellow?") knew they had a match on
their hands when, during the warm-up, the Hungarians began volleying the
ball to each other continuously from opposite sides of the pitch. The final
scoreline of 6-3 to Hungary (which flattered England) saw Hidegkuti help
himself to a hat-trick.
The following year, as a prelude to the World Cup in Switzerland, a return
friendly in Budapest was marked by a similar scoreline, this time 7-1 to
Hungary. With Puskás's team now seemingly unbeatable, they waltzed through
the early stages of the World Cup to play Germany in the final. Although in
qualifying, they had trounced a deliberately under strength German side (and
despite going 2-0 up early on in the final) the combination of a change in
tactics by their opponents and an injured Puskás saw Hungary lose 3-2. Older
locals of course still claim that the team was robbed (a thunderous last
minute equalizer by Puskás was disallowed for offside) although the sad
reality is that the match marked the beginning of the end for Hungary's
global supremacy. Less than two years later, the players who had made up the
team dispersed to the four winds after the Soviets invaded in 1956, with
both Puskás and Kocsis (nicknamed "the man with the golden head") staying in
While today's Hungarian teams aren't even on the same planet in footballing
terms (with many top players being arrogant, lazy and unable to fathom the
concept of a tackle), a trip to a match in Budapest can still be good fun.
It's certainly cheap compared to western prices and although there's some
hooliganism (particularly centred around Ferencváros the most popular team),
thugs are hardly on a par with those in Germany, Holland or the UK.
Budapest's most popular local teams are:
IX. Üllöi út 129, Tel: 215 6025, Fax: 215 3698, Website: www.ftc.hu,
Capacity 18,000, Colours: green and white, Metro: M3 Népliget
Hungary's biggest and most successful club. "Fradi" as they are
affectionately known, have the best stadium in town and the most ardent fan
base. Local rivals Honvéd provide the best fixture of the season. Be warned
though wearing red in the home end is not a bright idea.
XIX Újtemető utca 1-3, Capacity 15,000 (5000 seated), Colours: red and
black, Metro: M2 Határ út then tram 42 to the end of the line
Not surprising really that Honvéd's prodigal son Ferenc Puskás is still hero
worshipped here by those old enough to remember his wizardry during the
1950s. Occasionally he attends on match days, although what he must think of
this famous old army side's current team is anyone's guess.
MTK Hungária FC
VIII, Salgótarjáni út 12-14, Tel: 333 8368, Fax: 303 0592, Website:
, Capacity: 12,700, (5000 seated), Colours: white and
blue, Metro: M2 Népstadion then trolleybus 75 or tram 1
Playing at the Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion (named after the famous Hungarian
forward who played in the "aranycsapat" of 1954) MTK have seen a resurgence
of late, now overtaking both Kispest and Újpest as Budapest's second best
IV. Megyeri út 13, Website: www.ujpestfc.hu, Capacity 32,000 (12,000
seated), Colours: white with purple trim, Metro: M3 Újpest Központ then Bus
104 or 96 to Megyeri út
Not the force they once were during the 1930s, these days Újpest play second
fiddle to Ferencváros. Mention András Töröcsik (their finest ever player) in
glowing terms though and you'll be guaranteed a few pints after the final
With the benefit of Lake Balaton and a Strand or Fürdő in most towns, you'd
expect Hungarians to love water sports. Swimming, waterpolo and canoeing are
all very popular in Hungary, with swimming baths also being a major social
meeting place for people. Best of all, most are family-oriented with good
facilities and cheap entrance prices:
Alfréd Hajós Swimming Complex (Nemzeti Sportuszoda)
XII Margaret Island, Tram 4/6 the bus 26, Open 6am-6pm Mon-Fri, 6am-7pm
Sat/Sun. See Margaret Island
XI Kelenhegyi út 4, Trams 18, 19, 47 to Gellért tér, Open 6am-7pm daily. See
Gellért Baths in our sightseeing section.
XII Margaret Island, Tram 4/6 the bus 26, Open May-mid September
A massive sprawling complex on the Margaret Island which becomes
unbelievably busy during the summer. See Margaret Island
XIV. állakerti körút 11, Metro: M1 Széchenyi fürdő, Open 6am-7pm daily
See Széchenyi Baths in our sightseeing section.
Hungarian Formula One (F1) Grand Prix
The Hungarian grand prix is held each August at the Hungaroring, east of
Budapest at Mogyoród (take the M3 motorway out of Budapest). Having proved
to be extremely popular over the years, the Hungarians are justly proud of
hosting such a prestigious event. Although the race itself isn't in the same
league as say San Marino or Monaco (due to a narrow, slow circuit), the warm
weather and excellent facilities make the Grand Prix a pleasant event to
attend. In particular, good natured Finnish fans always have a great time
(they jokingly believe that the Hungarians are distant cousins, see
language). Tickets are not cheap though and can, on occasion, be difficult
to obtain. For further information visit www.hungaroring.hu (official ticket
sales) or www.formula1.hu (unofficial website).
Basketball and handball
These sports are both popular in Hungary with an enthusiastic and noisy
following. Hungary has had a strong record in major handball tournaments
with good men's and women's teams. The basketball league has attracted
sub-NBA standard American players, though unusually, the strongest teams are
not based in the capital. Further details can be found on the Hungarian
basketball Federation's website at: www.hunbasket.hu.
Golf has only recently begun to take a foothold in Hungary, being seen as a
status symbol by many of the city's new young professionals (who can usually
be found trudging around in the rough or cursing from the bunkers).
Hungary's best golf course is Birdland Golf and Country Club, located in the
spa town of Bük-fürdő (a long way from Budapest) although the Pannonia Golf
and Country Club at Alcsútdoboz lies only 40km west of the city. The
Petneháza Golf Club (driving range) is also worthy of consideration if you
just fancy whacking off a few balls during your Budapest stay. For further
details about golf courses in Hungary visit: www.hungolf.hu or
The city guide lists scores of restaurants of different tastes and budgets.
Just about every ethnic style is available: Mexican, Jewish, Greek,
Japanese, French, Slav and many, many others.
The top-of-the-range Gundel, is where visiting royalty and heads of state
often eat at. Your local corner etterem will offer an impossibly large menu
of usually fried foods and a piled-high plate for reasonable prices.
A tip: Hungarian wines range from undrinkable plonk to award-winning,
well-made and delicious Cabernets. If you don't have time to experiment,
stick to wines from the Villany region, preferably Cabernet Sauvignons, or
Chardonnays from Balaton. The prices are very reasonable. Local beers are
also sold at a good value. Try Dreher on draught; a light, lager-style beer.
1146 Budapest, Állatkerti út 2.
Open: Noon - 4 pm, 6:30 pm - 12 am. Sunday brunch 11:30 am-3 pm
1014 Budapest, Országház u 2.
1036 Budapest, Árpád fejedelem útja 94 Tel: (36-1) 436-4100
1126 Budapest, Kiss János altb. u. 38.
1146 Budapest, Állatkerti u. 2 468-3110
Open: daily from noon - 11pm
Bécsi szelet Restaurant
1085, Budapest, József krt. 63 318-4934
Open every day 12-23 pm
Champs Sport Pub
Budapest, VII., Dohány utca 20. Tel.: 413-1655
1011 Budapest, Bem rkp. 16-19. 487-9416
Open: daily from noon - 3pm, and 6pm - 12 am (last orders 11pm)
Csárda - Budapest Marriott Hotel
1052 Budapest, Apáczai Csere János u. 4.
Budapest, VII., Városligeti fasor 46-48. Tel.: 352-1641
1033 Budapest, Óbudai hajógyári-sziget 122.
Daily, 12 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Budapest, XVIII. Dobozi u. 70.
Budapest, Hess András tér 6. Tel: 488-7416
1053 Budapest, Ferenciek tere 7-8.
Daily, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
1036 Budapest, Mókus utca 22 250-4241
Kék Rózsa Restaurant
1072 Budapest, Wesselényi u. 9. 342-8981
1014 Budapest, Táncsics Mihály u. 25. 212-8565
Open: daily from 12pm to 12am
1034 Budapest, Kenyeres u. 34 368-6402
Open: Monday - Saturday noon - 12am. Closed on Sunday
1025 Budapest, Csatárka u. 58 325-9967
Open: restaurant: daily noon - midnight, salon: 6pm-3am
Budapest, II. Kisrókus u. 23 316 02 31
1125 Budapest, Virányos u. 4/a. 212-2413
Open: daily from 6pm - 12am
Remiz Cafe and Brasserie
1021 Budapest, Budakeszi u. 5.
Telephone: 00-36-1-275-1396, 00-36-1-394-1896
Budapest, V. Deák Ferenc u. 2 266 62 10
1148 Budapest, Városligeti tó 422-0222
1087 Budapest, Mosonyi u. 3.
1065 Budapest, Podmaniczky u 14. 302-4456
Open: daily from noon - 1am
Szép Ilona Kisvendéglő
1021 Budakeszi út 1-3.
Tel : 275-1392
1025 Budapest, Pentelei Molnár u. 15.