Night life

Many parts of Budapest are beautifully floodlit at night. There is also plenty of night life. The Las Vegas Casino (V. Roosevelt tér 2, Tel. 317-6022) is open day and night, and the Tropicana Casino (V. Vigadó u. 2, Tel. 266-3062) from 11 a.m. until 6 a.m. The Moulin Rouge (VI. Nagymező u. 17, Tel. 373-0577) hosts revue and cabaret but is...

Many parts of Budapest are beautifully floodlit at night. There is also plenty of night life.

The Las Vegas Casino (V. Roosevelt tér 2, Tel. 317-6022) is open day and night, and the Tropicana Casino (V. Vigadó u. 2, Tel. 266-3062) from 11 a.m. until 6 a.m.

The Moulin Rouge (VI. Nagymező u. 17, Tel. 373-0577) hosts revue and cabaret but is also a coffee house and restaurant all in one; it is open until four in the morning. As indeed is Old Man’s Music Pub (VII. Akácfa u.13, Tel. 322-7645).

Both Liszt Ferenc Square (near the Oktogon) and Ráday utca are places full of bars, restaurants and intimate little cafés that appeal particularly to young people. Most are open until one or two in the morning.

 

Going out 

Happily, night life in Budapest is surely but slowly returning to the glory days of the capital a hundred or so years ago, when the coffee house culture was at its zenith. There is a buzz about the place nowadays. The number of “good places” is steadily rising; there are more visitors with more demanding tastes. There are more foreigners living here long-term, who add to the cultural colour of the city as well as partake in everything it has to offer. The younger generation has a greater disposable income, and being more discerning, is prepared to spend more on classy entertainment.
So, Budapest of an evening still belongs predominantly to younger people, as will be observed as they wander from one venue to another. This is especially true in the summer months, when many events are staged outdoors. Since the year 2000 night life around the Nagykörút (Outer Ring Road) has expanded dramatically, owing in no small measure to the emergence of an unlikely new type of “in” place – the converted inner courtyards of temporarily unoccupied tenement-houses. Known as “romkocsma” (literally “ruin-pubs”) they are extremely simply furnished but for the year or two (or three) that they are in existence quickly become hugely popular places for young people to have a beer, a sandwich and a chat while listening to music. Word about which ruin-pubs are the current hottest spots spreads like wildfire over Internet fora. If you have not yet tried one, you cannot know how important a part they play in young people’s lives in early 21st century Budapest. And don’t worry about there being a language barrier – the night spots of Budapest are filled with a youthful crowd who almost all speak English!

 


GOING OUT: IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 20’S


A “Ruin-pub” in the Seventh District, for example the Szimplakert (VII. Kazinczy utca 14). This ruin-pub is open all year and also incorporates a cinema. Nearby are also the Szimplakert, Szimpla, Dupla and the Kis Szimplakert… Information and pictures at: www.szimpla.hu

 

Concert at the Fonó Music House. Housed in part of an old factory, the Fonó Music House in southern Buda has been a cultural centre for folk music, world music and jazz since 1995. There is a also a superb record shop and a great selection of drinks in the bar. It is a little way out from the city centre, and you may have to explain to the driver where it is! (XI. Sztregova utca 3. www.fono.hu )


Nighttime Turkish bathing at the Rudas Baths.Reopened in 2005 after an internal restoration and refit, the Rudas is now open on Friday , Saturday and Sunday nights from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. Unlike during the baths’ daytime opening hours, where men and women bathe separately on different days (and in the buff), these nighttime sessions are open to all (but trunks and bathing costume are obligatory!). (I. Döbrentei tér 9, by the River on the Buda side, just to the south of Elizabeth Bridge.)

 

 

GOING OUT: IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 30’S


Ervin Szabó Library between 6 and 8 in the evening. Budapest’s main library has been functioning in its present neo baroque baronial palace since 1927 and underwent a comprehensive restoration and extension for the Millennium. It’s an interesting adventure just to take a final look around the café (that was once a stable block) on leaving: students packing their things together getting ready to go, every conceivable newspaper and periodical from all around the world, hundreds of computers, dozens of clever faces, beautiful Hungarian girls.

 

Discover “Budapest’s Soho.” It is just a few minutes’ walk from the library to this exciting quarter of the city. There are dozens of coffee houses, restaurants and tiny shops along and backing on to Ráday utca, one of the main streets of the part of the city known as Ferencváros. It started to become popular around 1995, and enjoys a more relaxed and casual atmosphere than the city’s other, outwardly more elegant coffee house quarter, Franz Liszt Square. (Ninth District, between. Kálvin Square and Bakáts Square.)

 

The A38 Ship. Not far from Ráday utca but a little to the south of Petőfi Bridge on the Buda side of the River moors the A38 Ship, opened in 2002 as a specialist concert venue and restaurant. It takes its name from being number 38 in a fleet of Artemovszk stone-carrying vessels originally from the Ukraine. There is a strong emphasis on world and rock music, and there is also an elegant restaurant with a pleasant roof terrace open for dancing and parties in summer. (A little to the south of Petőfi Bridge on the Buda side. www.a38.hu

 


GOING OUT: IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 40’S


KogArt House, for the opening of an exhibition, and followed with a drink in the elegant restaurant. An fine, imposing arts exhibition centre opened in 2004. The centre’s highly polished presentations are geared for those in the business elite who tastes are on the conservative side. Exclusive restaurant with old pictures on the walls on the ground floor. (VI. Andrássy út 112. www.kogart.hu )


Menza Retro Restaurant. Though the name of this fashionable restaurant in Hungarian means “canteen” it is in reality anything but. It is a real work of art. If only this sort of thing could have been allowed in 1975, say, Budapest would have been as exciting a place as London … (VI. Liszt Ferenc tér 2. www.menza.co.hu )


Columbus Jazz Ship on the River Danube. It is easier to find this venue than many a here-today-gone-tomorrow jazz club. A spectacular view, the cream of Hungarian jazz musicians, and affordable food. An ideal way to round off a busy day’s sightseeing. Returning visitors especially welcome!
(V. Vigadó tér 4. pier number 4. www.majazz.hu )

Budapest Jazz Club (www.bjc.hu)
Budapest VIII. Múzeum u. 7.

If you look for quality live music experience in a cool and relaxed way or if you are a Jazz-enthusiast or just newly acquired the taste of it, please visit Budapest Jazz Club the centre of Budapest’s Jazz life! We offer besides excellent acoustics in a splendid palace interior a cozy Jazz-Café.

 

 

GOING OUT: IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 50’S


Concert in the Great Hall of the Music Academy. One of Europe’s most attractive concert halls built in art nouveau style, with excellent acoustics. The experience is to be gained from simply going there to see and hear a concert – it is of secondary importance who is playing and what is on the programme. Though visitors know it primarily for its concerts, its main function is actually as a music conservatoire, founded in the nineteenth century by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. (VI. Liszt Ferenc tér 2. www.lfze.hu )

 

Dinner in the garden of the Fészek Club. The Fészek Club is just three minutes’ walk from the concert hall. The building dates from 1903 but its garden reminds one of the inner courtyard of a Renaissance private mansion house. It is a special feature in the cultural life of Budapest, frequented by many an older artist and upstanding member of the community who likes to move in those circles. (VII. Kertész utca 36.)


Café New York. The most beautiful of all Budapest’s coffee houses, closed for years, is finally set to reopen in 2006 after extensive and meticulous restoration. This is where modern Hungarian literature and the Hungarian press both have their roots. Legend has it that when it first opened in 1894 the owner threw the front door key into the Danube so that his coffee house would never close, not even at night. (VII. Erzsébet körút 9-11.)

 

 

GOING OUT: IF YOU ARE OVER 60

Budapest Operetta Theatre. Budapest was once regarded as third in importance, after Paris and Vienna, in the world of operetta. Nowadays there are confident signs of a resurgence as operetta – and musicals – are once again enjoying huge popularity in the part of the city which is sometimes dubbed “Budapest Broadway.” (VI. Nagymező utca 17. www.operettszinhaz.hu )


Dinner somewhere in the area of Andrássy út. What better after the theatre than to sample one of the many first class restaurants on and around Andrássy út? It is well worth deviating from the main thoroughfare and exploring the side streets. There are excellent restaurants, for example, on Ó utca and Mozsár utca – permanent beacons, if you like, in a world that is perhaps somewhat prone to change and instability.


Late-night movie at the WestEnd City Centre, followed by a walk under the stars in the roof garden. The WestEnd City Centre, designed by one of Hungary’s leading architects, József Finta, and opened in 2000, is one of modern Budapest’s most renowned buildings – a colossus containing shops, offices, a hotel – as well as a multi-screen cinema. Here the last showing of the day’s films starts later than in other cinemas, well after dinner in fact. A word of warning if your Hungarian isn’t up to scratch, though: more English-speaking films are shown dubbed into Hungarian than in the original language with Hungarian subtitles! Afterwards, have a walk in the roof garden and take in the view towards the slumbering city centre. The first building you will see is the imposing Western Railway Station, designed by the office responsible for the Eiffel Tower. (Sixth and Thirteenth Districts, between Nyugati Square and Lehel Square, numerous entrances.) 

 

Other venues

 

Pótkulcs

Difficult to find and as they say hard to leave! Trams 4 and 6. Blue metro station-Nyugati, or yellow metro station Oktogon. Full menu and traditional Hungarian dishes till midnight. After exploring the huge booze menu if there any room left..Honey Palinka, Absinth, Unicum. Outdoor under the stars terrace full with couchez and interesting plant life. Table soccer (csocso). Every Thuesday Night Hungarian Folk Live. 

 Wednesday, Tursday, Friday concerts from Jazz to Ethno, Klezmer, Word, Gipsy, Alter Rock and space multimedia ensemble. Bossanova, tango, beat'z and Raggae Dj's. Good buzz each night. Different exhibitions each month. Look out for it..in the yard ....it's the one with no sign or whatever!