You may already have heard about it and if not, you surely will and it is not even far from the truth: the Grand Boulevard of Budapest is like a strict frontier between two different reign of pub. The famous-infamous party quarter of the inside the Grand Boulevard areas are fully packed with pubs and bars. You always see them everywhere you go. Outside the Boulevard you might think this is completely over because you suddenly stop finding them spontaneously. Please don't believe this illusion! Especially not if you have taken a new apartment in this zone. Even outside the Grand Boulevard the pubs are out there! You just have to know exactly where to look for them. Fortunately, you don’t have to hunt them. Now we start to draw the map to them with our words.
The attractive, recently renovated Hunyadi square with a park in the middle and with the impressive enormous building of the Hunyadi Square Market Hall (currently under renovation - but still operates) is already an attractive checkpoint to visit and a great place to have your home around.
The close apartments and rentals here are to be found in a calmer, not so touristy but still surprisingly well equipped downtown residential area. If you rent or have your apartment in this zone and you still want to go in the middle of the biggest buzz you easily can do it but you don’t have to. The pubs you can find around might be the pubs you happily frequent in the future. Why? Because THEY ARE WORTH IT! The near pubs are not tourist magnet. They are for local people to make them feel welcome and to make them want to return.
1. KáOsZ Drink Station - Where the local people turn you into a Hungarian
One of the very best local and frequenter pubs that I’ve ever seen inside and outside of Hungary is just seconds away from one of our main Budapest party streets, Király utca. KáOsZ can’t be really called a hidden gem because it is not hidden enough, just a gem. It is also close to Oktogon - tram and subway station and right at the line of the 0-24 tramline (4 or 6).
The “Drink Station” has opened in 21th December of 2012 (The previous semi-official Mayan End Of World Day). The name KáOsZ means Chaos itself. And truthful to its origin this local is as chaotic as it is possible. The style is a mixture: a small dose of a ruin pub design powder spilled on a traditional Hungarian pub base, shaked up with visual pop cultural references and the memory of previous thematic parties in the pub.
There is always a new interesting detail to point out: an old piece of furniture, an antique decoration item, a crazy wall painting, vintage commercial posters, surprising objects and constellations. Also the guests take there part. They are from every age, gender and genre. Many of them became friends here but they are at least part of each other’s life. There are also frequenters from different foreign countries like a Dutch one who rents his apartment in the close buildings.
The main host János (John) - in his 60's - is a seemingly grumpy one like a Czech bartender, strict to his house rules (and flexible in other feature) but overall he is kind and caring with his bunch of returning quests. As a newbie you also will get your drink or food decently but you still have to earn his trust to get into this inner circle. He has built a community here. There is always happening something on the two levels of KáOsZ, especially around the bar where the frequenters most preferably gather.
The mezzanine level is most of the times calmer so it is an ideal spot to reserve for even bigger companies. There are lot of birthdays, team buildings and other occasions in KáOsZ and the guests usually interact with the rest of the people on the scene so you can always meet new Budapest people. Many guests are speaking English. János speaks four foreign languages. Sometimes you may catch even live music. If not? There is a Youtube Jukebox to put your own song!
The beers on tap are from the Dreher selection: Dreher, Arany Ászok and Pilsner Urquell. From the house wines I suggest you to ask for Villányi Chardonnay. It is quite rare to find in Budapest bars and still a pleasant one. If you are looking for the house speciality cocktails ask for KáOsZ cocktail or Dr. Zacher! The pub foods are one of the best grilled sandwich in town and Italian hand made pizza only of Italian ingredients and nachos. There are the usual Hungarian pub sports: Darts and Table soccer (csócsó).
Did I tell suspiciously too many good things about KáOsZ? No wonder! I am a frequenter myself!
Mostly recommended for: community, the person of the bartender, Youtube jukebox, pizza and one of the best grilled sandwich, chaotic appearance and crazy details in the design
2. Ogre bácsi - The cave of the horrifyingly good Hungarian beer
Ogre bácsi is the second good pub-gastronomical reason to rent or buy a Budapest apartment around the Hunyadi square. You can have this superb cellar brasserie as a neighbor. It is the trademark beer bar of one of Hungary’s biggest craft breweries, Szent András Sörfőzde (Saint Andrew Brewery). It is a friendly cellar with a bar room and two further rooms to sit and 10 beer taps from the selection of this popular brewery and also regular guest beers on tap as from other Hungarian as from foreign brewers (each one in 0,5 / 0,3 / 0,2 liter portion) and quite an enjoyable wide bottled beer selection in the fridge.
The basic Szent András beer portfolio includes almost everything from the lady hit Raspberry Witbier (elected for the beer of the country in 2017) till the the 7% ABV strong black lager, Fekete - “black” in Hungarian). Furthermore there are all main beer types on the list: vienna lager, pilsner, american IPA, witbeer, different fruit beers and also seasonal ones.
Ogre bácsi is a typical place for big conversations above tasty beers. They don’t have any pub sports to offer. Here is everything about beers and people. Sometimes sport broadcasts and presentations but basically beer and people and Ogre. The name (Uncle Ogre) derives from the personal cult of the main bartender who is a famous professional beer expert in the Hungarian beer scene and a big critic on Rate Beer. His person is so characteristic and well known in nation-wide craft beer subculture that several wall decorations are based on it: the face of famous historical and pop cultural characters were replaced by his in the photo montages on the ogre green walls.
The matter of beer snacks: The brewery comes from the Great Plain, the Eastern Békés county. Also the beer snacks you can get here come from that area. The delicious mini pretzels are hand made by retired ladys from this area. Besides the beer Békés was even before know for the sausage. It is a Hungaricum. Of course you buy a plate of them with different kinds of sliced vegetables and bread or simply snack sausages next to the beers.
WARNING: This is a NO WINE ZONE! To the beers you can get some shots, for example pálinkás from where else than Békés county?
Of course the guests will interact here gladly too. Beer lovers most of times speak English and can help you to pick your best option. Also the bartenders can serve you in English with basic knowledge but the only girl, Zsófi also speaks English completely.
Mostly recommended for: Good Hungarian beers, good atmosphere, the sausage plate, snack sausages and handmade pretzels
3. Papa Joe Koccintó - Where your can add beer to your daily menu
The Market hall side of the square includes the attractively eclectic Papa Joe Koccintó. Koccintó means ca. toasting place. The atmosphere of this pub-restaurant could be an emerald in every city of every country. It’s the kind of venue where the traveler takes a rest happily. Having your apartment anywhere close, you can repeat the amusement.
There’s a basic rustic appearance, with wooden cassettes on the ceiling, white painted splashed mortar walls matching the inner arches and the bar of raw bricks. And besides the corresponding vintage village thematic ruin bar objects this rustic design-base is shaked up with some urban elements like retro commercial and movie posters reminding you an old fashioned French café. Keep an eye on the the thick water pipe legs of the higher tables left from the counter!
Behind the name Pape Joe there is József (the Hungarian Joe) who runs his business for 35 years and named it after himself. WARNING: This is not only a pub. They have complete a’la carte with daily offer and even a daily lunch menu. The food menu is always changing.
The arrangement of the guest space is quite comfortable. On the right there are banks and low tables to make you really feel in a decent cantine at the lunch time (not that we haven’t noticed that time around some people by clinking their beer mugs above their just emptied plates yet.) You can order from the menu until 6:00PM. Then they turn on the pub-only mode. There will be a new pub food for the night shift too, but it is still under reconsideration. We will update you! Till that time you can get easy snacks like chips and peanuts.
You can mix and match the tables for bigger companies. This is also an intended location to reserve the whole place for private parties in Budapest. There are four beer taps and bottled ones from the Dreher sortiment. The wines come from three different famous wine regions of Hungary (Eger, Villány, Szekszárd). You have a smaller but basically complete bar of liquors, whiskeys, bitters, rums, ect.
Mostly recommended for: design and atmosphere and having lunch under pub circumstances.
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