Our Big Fat Budapest Nightlife Guide: What to Do, Where to Drink, and Best Area to Stay in Budapest for Nightlife. This is a Comprehensive Guide to Budapest Hungary Nightlife to Help you Plan your Trip!
Spectacular during the day and full of culture, history, architecture, and shopping to keep visitors busy, Budapest really comes into its own at night.
As the sun sets over the Danube, Budapest’s ruin pubs and wine bars begin to buzz, and locals and tourists flock to the famed 7th district for a hit of the city’s lively nightlife. As the night goes on, dinner cruises fill up the Danube, cultural performances entertain those looking for a high-brow evening, and the city’s nightclubs, cocktail bars, and pubs burst to life.
Whether you’re looking to dance until dawn, learn about and taste Hungary’s many high-quality wines, pull off a stag party for your best mate, or enjoy a low-key or cultural night out, Budapest’s nightlife scene has something for everyone.
As locals in the city, we’ve had the chance to explore Budapest’s nightlife for the past year, and put together this guide to help travelers visiting the city wondering what to do in Budapest at night. We hope our experiences help you plan the perfect trip to Budapest!
Table of Contents:
- Best Area to Stay in Budapest for Nightlife
- Budapest Nightlife Guide
What’s the Best Area to Stay in Budapest for Tourists?
Introducing the Different Areas to Stay in Budapest. We’ve outlined the more popular Budapest areas to stay so you can find the best neighborhood to stay in Budapest for your style of trip.
- The 1st (Castle District) is the best area in Budapest for those looking for a quiet, romantic experience. If your main focus is going out in Budapest, you’ll likely find the Castle District too quiet and isolated.
- The 5th District in the city center (Pest) is the best Budapest area for general sightseeing and higher-end hotels. If you want to stay in a 4-star or 5-star property or want the best hotel location in Budapest from an overall tourism perspective, the 5th is the best district to stay in Budapest. It’s also a quick walk from most places in the 5th to find the best night life in Budapest, including anything from high-end wine bars to clubs, ruin pubs, and cheap student hang-outs.
- Focus your Budapest hotel search on the 6th and 7th districts if you want the best area to stay in Budapest for nightlife. The 7th is considered the Budapest nightlife district, although there are plenty of places to go out in the 6th as well. For more details about where to go out in Budapest, keep reading!
- If you’re looking for cheap places to stay in Budapest, consider staying in the inner 8th district. For those on a budget, the 8th might be considered the best location to stay in Budapest due to the fact that it’s slightly beyond the highly desirable 1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th districts, while still being very convenient.
- If you like to stay a bit off the tourist trail, the 9th and 13th are the best neighborhoods in Budapest to get a feel for local living. Both districts are quite large, and you’ll want to stay in the inner sections, closest to the Pest city center. In the 9th, look at hotels near Élesztő (as a point of reference). For the 13th, look for hotels or holiday apartments near Szent István krt.
What’s the Best Area to Stay in Budapest for Nightlife?
If you’re wondering what area to stay in Budapest to enjoy the city’s nightlife, we recommend the 7th and 6th districts.
Without a doubt, the best place to stay in Budapest for nightlife is the 7th district. The 7th is the best district in Budapest for nightlife and has the most bars and nightclubs. The inner part of the district — between Károly krt (Charles Boulevard) and Erzsébet krt. (Elizabeth Boulevard) running east-west, and between Király u. and Rákóczi út running north-south — is considered the Budapest bar area.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Budapest for nightlife, but don’t want to stay right in the heart of it, you should also consider the inner 6th district. The 6th district has a small pedestrianized bar and restaurant street on Hajós u. – while not exactly the zenith of the Budapest party scene, it’s a lively area and nice place to stay, while still giving you easy access to the 7th (for the true bar district Budapest) and the 5th, for sightseeing and higher-end restaurants. If you choose to stay in the 6th, Oktogon is a good landmark when looking for hotels. If you find yourself within a short walk of Oktogon, you’ll be in a convenient location for exploring the entire city, and for nightlife.
What are the Best Hotels to Stay in Budapest Within the Budapest Nightlife Area?
Where is the best place to stay in Budapest for those coming to the city for nightlife? We’ve outlined a range of hotels throughout the 6th and 7th districts below, which are both considered the best location in Budapest for nightlife!
Corinthia Hotel (rated 9.2/10), the Ritz-Carlton Budapest (9.0/10), Kempinski Hotel Corvinus (9.1/10), and The Aria (9.6/10) are all excellent 5-star luxury hotel choices, all within an easy walk to Budapest’s most popular nightlife areas. The Aria has the distinction of being voted the best hotel in the world!
Exe Danube Budapest (rated 9.1/10), Carat Boutique Hotel (8.7/10), and Ambra Hotel (8.6/10) are all well-rated 4-star hotels located right in the heart of Budapest’s nightlife district. Hotel Moments (9.6/10), Callas House (9.4/10), and K+K Hotel Opera (8.8/10) are a short walk away from the nightlife area, but will be a bit quieter!
Roombach Budapest Center (rated 9.0/10), Mika Superior (8.8/10), and Ibis Budapest City (8.6/10) are good options. The top-rated 3-star within an easy walk of the Budapest nightlife area is Casati Budapest Superior (9.4/10), which is one block from Kiraly St, a popular nightlife street filled with bars and restaurants.
Where Can I Find Some Cheap Accommodation Budapest That’s Still Central and Convenient?
Your best bet for budget Budapest accommodation is a hostel, and the best hostels in Budapest are located in Pest, close to the nightlife. We’ve outlined a few options for great hostels below, which should get you started in your search for great Budapest places to stay, even if you’re on a budget!
If you’re looking for places to stay in Budapest for cheap, Hostelworld is a great go-to source for hostels throughout the city, offering what can only be described as a massive selection of the best hostels in Budapest to choose from. The hostels we’ve listed below are all rated 8.5/10 or higher by past guests, and most are rate 9.0/10 or higher.
Calm & Quiet Hostels
AVAIL Hostel (rated 9.9/10), Downtown Oasis (9.8/10), Big Fish Hostel (9.6/10), 7 x 24 Central Hostel (9.4/10), and Activity Hostel (9.3/10) are all well-reviewed choices right in the heart of the nightlife district, or on the border and within a quick walk to bars, clubs and restaurants.
Where is the Nightlife in Budapest? Introducing the Party District Budapest
If you’re wondering where to party in Budapest, we’ve outlined a few of the most popular options below.
The 7th district (Erzsébetváros) is considered one of the best places to party in Budapest. More specifically, what most people would define as the ‘party area Budapest’ falls within the inner part of the 7th district, contained between Károly krt and Erzsébet krt., and between Király u. and Rákóczi út.
While the entire area is filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs, there are a few clusters and famous parts of the district that draw the most people!
For a fairly low-key Budapest night out, Kazinczy utca is a great bet. This is mainly because of Szimpla, the most famous ruin bar in the city, which calls Kazinczy Street home. With Szimpla at its epicentre, Kazinczy has grown into one of several popular restaurant and bar streets in Budapest, giving you plenty of selection in terms of spots to choose from.
In the summer, there is a street food pod just down the street from Szimpla called Street Food Karavan, where you can grab a beer or fröccs (wine spritzer, a very popular Budapest drink, especially in warm weather) and some street food, and enjoy a low-key meal with friends.
Király u., Dob u. and Gozsdu Udvar
Running through the center of the 7th district, both Király and Dob streets are popular among those looking for more of a party street Budapest, as they’re lined with bars and restaurants, giving you loads to choose from. Toward the western end of the streets, you’ll find Gozsdu udvar (Gozsdu Court) running between Király and Dob. Gozsdu is one of the top Budapest party places, with loads of bars and restaurants to choose from, and an appeal for all ages. It’s essentially a wide, covered alley running from Király and Dob into a central courtyard area. From there, another small alley runs up to Holló u. and down to Rumbach u., and both of these areas are also lined with bars and restaurants.
Advice for Planning a Stag Do Budapest
If you’re planning a Budapest Stag Do, read on for our tips about where to stay in Budapest Hungary for a stag, what to do, and other tips!
If you’re planning a stag party Budapest, staying in the 7th district would be your best bet, or in the 6th close to Oktogon and Király u. Pubs, clubs, ruin bars, etc, are all fairly concentrated in this area.
You can read our instructions for getting from the Budapest airport to the city centre, but if you want to all stay together (i.e. not take separate cabs), take a look at this option: this company offers 20 seater vans, and 50 seat coaches are also available. There are no shortage of taxis at the airport, which usually end up being about €25 to €30 per cab to the centre.
In terms of what to do, consider a spa party (sparty), escape room, and beer bike during your visit – these are some of the most popular stag do activities in Budapest.
Szechenyi thermal baths hosts the most famous spa party, and you can book tickets online here (book in advance, as they sell out quickly). Even if you don’t go for the party, it’s worth going to the baths to enjoy and relax during your stag do trip, and you can buy full-day passes in advance to skip the queues. It’s one of the most popular attractions here, so they are quite accessible by. Funnily enough, the metro line (Line 1) is the oldest underground metro in mainland Europe, and is UNESCO protected.
We also recommend doing an escape room, which are really popular here and there are hundreds of scenarios to choose from. Teams are limited to 5 or 6, so you’ll need to book multiple scenarios at the same time. Check out Mystique Rooms, Gozsdu Mission, or E-Exit Rooms to get started in your research.
Beer bikes are also very popular here for stag dos, although we haven’t tried one ourselves. There are a number of companies out there, so do your research in advance to figure out the best option for your trip, including how many of you there are on the stag do.
Finally, definitely go to a ruin bar. Szimpla Kert is the most famous one, but there are many to choose from. Whereas Szimpla Kert has more of a pub or bar vibe, Instant is the most famous ruin club in Budapest. If you’re here in the warmer months (usually April 1 to mid-October), there will be patios and outdoor beer gardens all over the city, which is a nice way to beat the heat.
Tips for Planning a Stag Do Budapest
- Just a quick heads up – stag-do parties are very common here, but don’t have the best reputation. They have been known to cause a lot of problems, and even damage in some cases, so a group of 20 or so may not be received warmly by locals, especially outside of the 7th district.
- Some bars and clubs will not allow large groups on a stag do, whereas others are happy to have your business, so you do need to do some research in advance for restaurants, pubs, and hotels, etc. We recommend calling the venues you plan to visit in advance. If you’re calling from abroad, Skype makes it super cheap. Staff at bars and restaurants within the tourist centre will all speak English, so you shouldn’t have any problems with language if you call.
Best Ruin Pubs Budapest: Where to Experience the Best Ruin Pubs Budapest
The Budapest ruin club is a unique experience in Hungary’s capital, and you’re unlikely to find anything like these ruin bars Budapest anywhere else in the world. Read on to find out what makes these places so special, and our picks for the best ruin pubs Budapest!
Budapest’s ruin pubs and ruin clubs are a unique-to-Budapest experience absolutely worth visiting at least once during your trip to Hungary. When communism fell and the economy opened up, a group of young and creative entrepreneurs invented this unique ruin club Budapest concept out of thin air, and it’s since grown into a city-wide phenomenon popular with locals and tourists alike.
Ruin pubs are essentially pop-up bars (or clubs) that never went away. Created in formerly abandoned buildings, or in the narrow spaces between two buildings (or in unused parking lots, or on rooftops…) they have a “shabby chic” look that’s honestly more shabby than chic, but still a lot of fun. When communism fell and the economy was transitioning to a capitalist model, there was a glut of cheap but derelict real estate in Budapest’s city center, and young entrepreneurs spotted the opportunity and pounced. They bought-up the buildings, arranged for city engineers to inspect for safety, and filled the spaces with a random mishmash of furniture and decorations that give the bars the appearance of a thrift shop or flea market, but with music and drinking.
Some ruin pubs skew more towards the pub end of the scale and are great for meeting up with friends for a chat and a few beers. Others are definitely ruin clubs, and are best for a late night Budapest party experience like no other.
Where can you experience the unique Budapest ruin bar scene? Some of our top picks are below:
Szimpla is probably the most famous bar in Budapest, and if your friends tell you that you have to visit simple bar Budapest, know that they’re actually talking about Szimpla Budapest 🙂 With a weekend brunch and Sunday morning farmer’s market, you can visit Szimpla during the day for a low-key experience or wait until after dark for a jam-packed bar experience. Szimpla definitely isn’t a nightclub; if you’re looking for somewhere to dance the night away, Instant (below) is a better bet.
Élesztő is one of our favorite ruin pubs, although it’s a bit off the tourist track (and therefore mostly filled with locals). The pub is broken into different “stations” around a central courtyard, with a spot to buy local craft beer, wine, and tapas on the outer edges of the courtyard. Craft beer is exploding in Budapest, and Élesztő is one of the original spots in the city to try unique local brews, but it’s certainly not the only game in town. For those who want to be within stumbling distance of great local beer, Élesztő also has a hostel on site! Seating is quite limited in the winter, and in nice weather the inner, open-air courtyard is the place to be!
Instant isn’t so much a ruin bar as it is a ruin club. If you’re looking for a ruin experience that doubles as a dance club, Instant is the place for you. In 2017, they closed their original location, and are now located at Akácfa utca 51. in a huge complex that includes Fogas Ház and Kert, Liebling (a low-key bar with a nice rooftop in summer), and Lärm (a techno club).
Csendes Vintage Bar & Café is another of our favorite Budapest ruin bars, because it’s mostly locals hanging out here, and it has a pub atmosphere that’s conducive to a long chat with a good friend. Add to that, the wine they serve in fröccs (wine spritzers) is of a reasonably high quality, so it’s not a guaranteed headache the next day. The main location is indoors, but they have a nearby wine bar garden area in the summer as well.
Corvin Club (Corvinteto) is on the rooftop of a grocery store. Yup, you read that right. This place is best in the summer, when you can go up onto the actual rooftop, and they have an outdoor cinema some nights. In the cooler months (autumn, winter and spring), the club is one floor down and inside, and focuses on electronic music.
After Szimpla, Anker’t is probably the next most popular Budapest ruin pub for tourists and visitors to the city. In the summer, it’s essentially a big beer garden in the courtyard. In winter, there are some inside spaces and tables. Anker’t’s vibe depends on when you go: earlier in the evening, it’s got more of a pub/beer garden ambience, and later in the evening it feels more like a bar with music (but not a club).
Where to Drink in Budapest: The Best Bars in Budapest City Centre
Whether you looking for some cheap cocktails Budapest or the best pubs in Budapest, we’ve picked some of the best Budapest bars to whet your whistle while in Hungary’s capital. Depending on what you’re looking for, we have highlighted our picks for the best bars in Budapest Hungary. Each section below includes a selection of our picks for the best Budapest bars and pubs.
While the city doesn’t have a massive pub scene (beyond ruin pubs), there are a few pubs in Budapest Hungary if you know where to look. We’ve listed a few good options below:
Kiadó Kocsma (Jókai tér 3)
Cozy and always busy, it’s best to make a reservation if you plan to be there on a Thursday to Sunday evening, as this place fills up fast. Serving a small menu with both Hungarian and typical pub food fare, and a wide range of drinks, this place is perfect for a casual dinner or long visit over drinks.
Beckett’s Irish Pub (Liszt Ferenc tér 11)
With a prime location along the strip of restaurants at the lovely Liszt Ferenc tér, Beckett’s is probably the best Irish pub in Budapest. Good spot for pub grub and a pint, and when the weather is nice the outdoor tables offer great seating along the pedestrianized Liszt Ferenc tér.
The Caledonia (Mozsár u. 9)
Just around the corner from Kiadó Kocsma, The Caledonia is a Scottish pub that’s usually filled with both expats and locals. If you want to catch a football (soccer) or rugby match, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find it playing at The Caledonia.
Budapest Wine Bars
When we first moved here, we were surprised to learn that Budapest has a huge wine scene. Hungarian wine certainly isn’t as famous as some other continental varietals, but it’s damn good, diverse (Hungary has 22 wine regions!), and well-priced to boot. It’s not uncommon to go out on a weekend to see groups of young Hungarian guys hanging out, drinking wine together (that would never happen in Canada – they would all have pints!). And as a sweeping generalization, Hungarians tend to be wine drinkers rather than beer drinkers, a marked departure from their neighbors in nearby countries like Austria and the Czech Republic.
Because of all this, Budapest has a great selection of wine bars, ranging from super fancy to cozy and casual. If you’re interested in exploring Hungarian wine, we’ve listed a few tried and tested favorite wine bars below to get you started:
Divino (Multiple locations; we recommend the one across from the Basilica at Szent István tér 3)
One of the more well-known wine bars in Budapest, Divino is always buzzing, especially on summer evenings and weekends at the Szent István location, which faces the Basilica. Offering wines from all over Hungary, and with prices ranging from cheap and cheerful to vacation splurge.
DOBLO (Dob u. 20)
Doblo has a cozy and eclectic atmosphere in the heart of Budapest’s drinking district (the 7th). Many evenings, they have live acoustic music to enjoy with your glass, and there’s an option to buy by the glass, or get a tasting package that will expose you to the tastes of Hungary’s different wine regions.
St. Andrea Wine & Skybar (Deák Ferenc utca 5.)
The fanciest of those listed here, a trip to St. Andrea is also pricer than the other options, made up for by the fact that it has great ambiance and nice views from both the open air terrace (in nice weather) and the glass-enclosed bar (in all weather).
Kadarka (Király utca 42)
A cozy and colorful spot within the nightlife district, Kadarka has helpful staff willing to make suggestions and fairly reasonable prices, with a 0.7 dl glass of red ranging from 650 ft to 1590 ft (approx. €2,10 to €5,00).
Nice Bars in Budapest
If you want a bit of a posh night out, the city is full of gorgeous cocktail bars to check out. Budapest has many upscale and relatively fancy spots in the city center, many of which have lovely ambiance, and are some of the best places to drink in Budapest (as long as you’re not on a budget).
Hotsy Totsy (Síp u 24)
A cocktail bar in the heart of the nightlife district, it’s easy enough to walk by this place without noticing anything as it’s discreetly tucked away in a small cellar location along Síp u. Bartenders here are friendly, knowledgeable, and stylish, evoking a hipster-meets-prohibition-America aesthetic. Of course, there’s a fantastic cocktail list to choose from, plus some beer and wine. If having a drink isn’t enough for you, Hotsy Totsy is also a barbershop.
Her Majesty the Rabbit (Secret Location)
A secret speakeasy and piano bar, a trip to the Rabbit isn’t something to leave until the last minute. Indeed, non-members need to get a black card to visit Her Majesty the Rabbit for the first time, which you can do by applying online, or lucking out and being given one at another bar in town (we got one given to us at either Hotsy Totsy or DOBLO – we can’t remember exactly). They also have a strict no-photo policy once you’re in.
Good Spirit Bar (Veres Pálné street 7)
Serving up more than 500 types and brands of spirits, you’re sure to taste what your heart (and mouth) desires at Good Spirit Bar. Born out of a family-run online whiskey shop, this place as an upscale-yet-relaxed feel to it and a nice bar menu to enjoy while you sample the cocktails.
Aria High Note Bar (Hercegprímás u. 5)
Located on the rooftop of the 5-star Aria Hotel, the High Note is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over Pest on a warm evening, fancy drink in hand. The best part of High Note has to be the view of St. Stephen’s Basilica – it’s so close, it almost feels like you can reach out and touch the cupola!
Where to Drink in Budapest: Where to Find Great Craft Beer in Budapest
In the last couple of years, craft beer has exploded in popularity in Budapest, and it’s now possible to take your pick from an array of fantastic brew pubs and places specializing in local craft beer.
Budapest Craft Beer Scene
While the city doesn’t have a massive pub scene (beyond ruin pubs), there are a few pubs in Budapest Hungary if you know where to look. We’ve listed a few good options below:
Neked Csak Dezső (Rákóczi út 29)
A personal favorite, this pub has been around for awhile, but just recently moved into a new, larger and upgraded location on Rákóczi út. They have over 30 beers on tap, both locally-made and those from small European breweries from across the continent.
Beer Brothers (Kossuth Lajos utca 20)
A newcomer opened by (as the name suggests) 2 brothers, Beer Brothers has 12 rotating taps rotating weekly and a menu of burgers and goulash.
Beer Point (Erzsébet krt. 30)
Admittedly not winning on ambiance, Beer Point nonetheless has a great selection of beer, with 16 rotating taps, as well as bottled options and pub grub-style food. I prefer going here in summer, when they open up the floor to ceiling windows, and it has a “bring the outdoors in” feel to it.
Jonas Craft Beer House (Fővám tér 11)
Jonas is best when the weather is nice enough to sit outside, as they have a great terrace right on the Danube, across the river from the Gellert Hotel. Located at the south end of the Whale Building (Balna, in Hungarian), Jonas has 8 taps.
EXPLORE MORE OF THE BEST OF BUDAPEST:
•Budapest I – Castle District •Budapest V – Belváros •Budapest VI – Terézváros •Budapest VII – Erzsébetváros •Budapest VIII – Jószefváros •Budapest IX – Ferencváros •Budapest XIII – Újlipótváros and Angyalföld •Best Time of Year to Visit Budapest •Getting Around Budapest •Getting To and From Budapest Airport
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