Insider’s Guide: Budapest Nightlife - All Things Drinking, Dining & Dancing

  • 12 Oct 2023 7:12 AM
Insider’s Guide: Budapest Nightlife - All Things Drinking, Dining & Dancing
Budapest is brimming with exciting spots to drink, dine and dance. Renowned ruin pubs, quirky bars and great restaurants dot downtown Budapest, offering a kaleidoscope of options for you to decide which direction you want your evening to take.

Bistro or cocktails? Sunset tunes or Mexican delights? Here are half-a-dozen alternatives for anyone in need of fresh inspiration to shape their night out in Budapest. 

1. Hotsy Totsy 
Location: 1075 Budapest, Síp utca 24. 

This iconic speakeasy cocktail bar will transport you to the decade of gangsters and bootleggers. Stepping inside Hotsy Totsy feels like stepping into the infamous prohibition era (just remember to step with caution by minding your head upon entry). 

Hidden underneath the buzzing streets of the party district, visitors can luxuriate in a stylish retro haven. The authentic brick enveloping the bar in contrast with the swanky furniture provides a funky, yet refined, vibe. 

Since opening in 2017, Hotsy Totsy has deservedly won a variety of domestic and global hospitality awards. This is no surprise considering the skilled team behind the bar, notorious for creating some of the wildest cocktails in Budapest. The mixologists at Hotsy Totsy are able to meticulously assemble an improvised concoction in accordance with your preferences.

In addition to the sounds of glasses cheerfully clinking against one another and ice cubes rattling within the confines of cocktail shakers, guests can hear jazz music playing modestly. The jazz renditions of modern pop songs will fully immerse you in the glorified era of the 1920s.

2. Mitico
Address: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 47.

In the mood for an especially stylish evening in Budapest? Mitico is a terrific choice if you fancy spending the night sipping carefully crafted cocktails at a stylish cocktail bar. An evening at Mitico is the perfect opportunity to go beyond the typical ‘jeans and a nice top’ dress code.

The interior is sultry and chic, with a ‘wildly’ unique jungle theme. While the velvet sofa lining the walls will have you drinking in complete comfort, this cocktail bar provides a lively atmosphere through exciting live music events and exceptional DJ sets. 

Be charmed by live RNB and classical music performances taking place on the Mitico stage every week. On the weekend you can also enjoy disco, house, and soul music played by local and international DJs occupying the balcony booth.

Enjoy the variety of music available whilst perusing the delectable selection of signature cocktails, named after hits from the 80s and 90s. Needless to say, the classics are also available and equally as fantastic. 

3. Esetleg Bisztró 
Location: 1097 Budapest, Fővám tér 11-12.

Indulge in tasty food and drink whilst enjoying magnificent views across The Danube. Situated along the river bank in District 9, Esetleg Bisztró offers pleasure for both your eyes and your belly. 

With a spectacular location and a carefully curated list of Hungarian wines, this trendy restaurant is the perfect spot for visitors and newcomers to take in the breathtaking views of the city. Of course, Esetleg is also a favourite amongst locals. As you drink or dine, admire the grandeur of Liberty Bridge and Gellért Hill. You can also marvel at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, an impressive building that sits by the river bank in Buda.

If you choose to dine, a variety of Hungarian options are on the menu - the goulash and túrógombóc are most definitely considerable crowd-pleasers. As the sun goes down and the DJ settles into the booth for the night, live music fills the place with vibrancy. 

As Esetleg Bisztró is partially located in the Bálna, an iconic contemporary building in the shape of a whale, you can meander through the modern art gallery and shops inside, pre or post-dining. The lively restaurant also offers outdoor seating, perfect for unwinding with a drink during the warmer months. 

4. Extra 
Location: 1072 Budapest, Klauzál utca 15. 

Nested boldly in a historic building, Extra can be described as a ruin pub on the sophisticated side. A great option for those looking for a middle ground between a ruin bar and a cocktail bar. Sit under the assemblage of scarlet umbrellas shading the smoking area, or partake in the spirited atmosphere surging throughout the bar indoors. 

Located in the centre of the party district, Extra offers pub grub and craft cocktails (both of which are necessities if you plan on visiting the other party spots nearby afterwards). 

This trendy urban space is often populated with tourists, which makes sitting at the bar a great place for chatting to new people if you feel like being ‘extra’ sociable. This is also the best seat in the house to watch various sporting events, as a screen is positioned above the bar. Needless to say, table service is also available and can easily accommodate large groups or special occasions. 

5. Tereza 
Location: 1065 Budapest, Nagymező utca 3.

This urban Mexican restaurant, situated in the heart of Budapest, serves delicious authentic Mexican cuisine.

The funky decor and mismatched furniture elevate the vivacious atmosphere of this bohemian restaurant. Drink and dine in the animated garden that is open all summer long. The indoor space is just as vibrant, extending the gastronomic delight into the colder months. 

Wash down the nachos, tacos, quesadillas, or fajitas with their extensive selection of tequilas and mezcals. Alternatively, try one of the flavoured frozen margaritas if you fancy a sweet and tasty beverage to accompany your meal. 

After treating yourself to food brimming with flavour, you will hopefully have room left for dessert. Otherwise, you will be stripped of the pleasure provided by indulging in the passionfruit cheesecake and tres leches.  

6. Zsiráf
Location: Budapest 1062, Teréz körút 53. 

Refreshing drinks, tasty food, and great music. Zsiráf truly is the quintessential spot for all things drinking, dining, and dancing. This outdoor beer garden, located next door to Nyugati Pályaudvar Station, is home to heaps of craft beers, gastronomic options, acoustic concerts, and DJ sets. Pop in for a bite to eat, a few drinks after work, a date, a catch-up with friends, or an exuberant night of partying.

During the day, visitors can grab some grub from the food trucks and choose from a sweeping variety of quality beer. With plenty of options available, including 6 types of craft beers and 8 types of draft beers, there is assuredly something for everyone. 

Once the sun has set, Zsiráf transforms into an open-air nightclub. Eiffel Square is swarming with an effervescent spirit as people drink and dance into the early hours of the morning. With different events and alternating music genres every night of the week, each evening at Zsiráf is utterly unique. 

Words by Lucy Drake for

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