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Are you looking for a unique wine experience? Have you ever been to Hungary? Then Budapest is your place to go! Wine tourism is emerging in this small European country more than ever before. Drink like a local in Budapest, the capital of Hungary and get to know some of the most elegant varietal the world has to offer! We’ve got a list of some of the cool wine bars to tryin Budapest to help you do just that.
Hungary has 6 wine regions and 22 sub-regions, with more than 100 kind of grape varieties. To start your journey to deep dive into the colourful landscape of Hungarian wines, there are several cool wine bars to choose from in the capital, from the ruin-bar like places to the fancy rooftop ones.
Why wine bars? Because they offer so much more than a plain pub. In my experience, the staff in those bars is very knowledgeable and explains the wines, so we can really find our favourite. What’s more, not only are commercial items held, but also specialties of small wineries, for example, that might not be on the supermarket shelf or served at an average restaurant.
P.S.: my personal recommendation is to try them all!
Related: Want to try your hand at bartending? Check out these bartender’s shoes for endurance and comfort.
Kadarka is a name of a red grape variety and also a wine bar on Király Street. It has a relaxed atmosphere, you can jump in here with your friends, like in jeans and a t-shirt to drink a glass of fine Hungarian wine and have a good chat. The colourful tables, the green wall, the blue counter and the mustard yellow tile evoke the mood of the 70s, but the dim lights dampen the retro feeling. Despite being in a tourist-heavy area inside Budapest’s lively Jewish Quarter, Kadarka has remained a mainly local haunt because prices are reasonable and service is kind. They offer around 200 kind of local wines alongside with tapas and some simple dishes. Top Tip: also try Bárka, the sister bar of Kadarka near Blaha Lujza tér, they offer daily lunch menu too.
Drinking wine is all about you, and in this tiny and cosy bar you not only can feel yourself home but try unique, limited edition natural wines from small producers from Hungary. In Wine&U, all glass of wine is accompanied with a story, about the wine region, the winemaker or the vintage. Located in the heart of Budapest, but in a quiet street away from the crowd, this bar is a real hidden gem to be discovered. Staff is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable, the place is dog friendly and you can taste ham and cheese from local producers or wine biscuits next to your wine.
Have you ever tasted wine in a library? In Könyvbár, you will have the feeling of that. Könyv means book in Hungarian, and the owners of this place are really fans of them. The idea here is to combine gastronomy, wine and reading so in addition to the traditional menu and an excellent selection of drinks, Könyvár offers weekly, book-inspired dishes for tasting. If you ever wanted to know which wine pairs best to your favourite book this is the place to try. Not just the special atmosphere but the excellent selection of Hungarian boutique wineries producing natural wines worth a here a visit. There is guided wine tasting every day in English!
VinoPiano was one of the first wine bars in Budapest being specialised in natural wines. Located in Budapest’s 9th district, a bit outside from the city centre but still at an easy-to-reach location. You can find here a nice selection of bio, biodynamic and natural wines from all around Hungary, as well as they organise regular tasting events where you have the chance to meet the winemakers. Try some of the delicious tapas, home-made cheeses and hams! If you feel like you need alkalizing after the wines, try some local craft beers just next door at Élesztőház. Every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm there is a community market. Hungarian primary producers, whose priority is to maintain harmony with nature, present their goods at the courtyard!
Local meeting point outside of the touristy city centre, Van Boris wine bar and wine shop offers a different experience. If you are courageous enough to take a 30 minutes bus ride from the heart of the town, you can feel like a native and taste a wide selection of excellent Hungarian wines and bubblies. The staff here is very knowledgeable and helpful, they also offer finger food, craft beers and beers from tap and spirits. Wine list is continuously changing, there are seasonal offers and I would bet the take-away selection covers all the 22 wine regions!
As you may know, Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River: Buda and Pest. For some reason there are fewer wine bars on Buda side, but one to consider visiting is Palack. The word “palack” means bottle in Hungarian and you I’m sure you will find your favourite palack after a nice tasting here! Each Wednesday there is a thematic tasting menu, 5 wines are presented by the staff to you (blind tasting is possible, if you feel the challenge) to scoring. Scores are ranked, and all testers are invited to a raffle game to win the wine of the night, the one which received the highest score. Are you ready for the game?
Wine tasting can be a great fun even with a bigger group or on your own. I personally like when the story of the wine, the winemaker or the wine region is also presented while having a nice glass. How about you? If you are also interested in such things, don’t hesitate to ask the staff at any of the wine bars listed above! Hungary’s wine culture is very rich and has long traditions, wines are unique, grape varieties are rare, so trying them will be a life-changing experience for all the wine lovers. Are you ready for the adventure?