Budapest’s craft cocktail movement has seen new bars and clubs spread across town like wildfire in recent years, making it that much harder to choose the best of the bunch.
While the Hungarian capital’s ruin bars offer a unique experience, the luxury bar scene here is second to none.
Whether you’re looking to sample handcrafted cocktails or the finest Tokaji wines, there are a multitude of glamorous bars to choose from, complete with sharply dressed staff and/or top-notch mixologists.
From the High Note Skybar to Blue Fox The Bar at Kempinski, here’s a run down of the finest luxury bars in Budapest.
KOLLÁZS – Brasserie & Bar
Set at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, KOLLÁZS – Brasserie & Bar offers what’s arguably the grandest setting in the entire city.
Serving everything from Tokaji wines to bespoke cocktails, its stand out drinks include the Smokey Forest and the Invisible Hungarian, a crystal clear Negroni White crafted with Hungarian Gin and a touch of bergamot, for citrusy complexity.
There’s also a delicious à la carte menu prepared by chef Árpád Győrffy, one of the finalists at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or Hungary competition.
KOLLÁZS – Brasserie & Bar, Four Seasons Budapest, Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 5, 1051; +36 1 268 5408
Positioned in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, this art deco style bar has gone from strength to strength since it opened in 2017.
Creative manager András Ódor’s menu reflects true Hungarian culture and gastronomy, serving up a whole host of bespoke cocktails and bar foods.
The Echo cocktail– a delicious mix of Rosolio di Bergamotto, Tio Pepe sherry, coconut water, lime juice and a cucumber salt solution, is one of its highlights.
Black Swan, Budapest, Klauzál utca 32, 1072; +36 30 663 5270
Boutiq’Bar is one of the best spots to sip on bespoke cocktails in a plush, old school setting.
It was co-founded by former Soho House supremo Zoltán Nagy and a strong London vibe is evident throughout.
All the classics are available, as well as an array of specially mixed drinks and expensive bottles of cognac.
We recommend the Space Zombie – a powerful mix of Bulleit Bourbon whiskey, spice and grapefruit juice.
Boutiq’ Bar, Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 5, 1061; +36 30 554 2323
Blue Fox The Bar at Kempinski
Located smack bang in the middle of the popular fifth district, the Kempinski Hotel’s Blue Fox The Bar has some of the city’s more unique cocktails.
The Elysium bar menu lists some real treats, from the delicious Oblivion and Liquid Soul, to the bizarre and bold Taste of Electricity.
A night lounge complete with a music sommelier and live bands takes center stage on Fridays and Saturdays.
You can also order a bite to eat from the hotel’s very own branch of Nobu and have it brought to your table.
Blue Fox The Bar at Kempinski, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, Budapest, Erzsébet tér 7, 1051; +36 1 429 4499
St. Andrea Wine & Skybar
St. Andrea Wine & Skybar delivers an all round view of the spectacular Budapest skyline.
Positioned atop Vörösmarty Square, it has outdoor terraces for the summer months and an indoor bar for colder nights.
The bar’s highly-trained staff whip an array of signature cocktails, including the Black Sheep – a citrusy mix of whiskey and amaro liqueur.
Visitors also have the option to tuck into some great gourmet bar snacks, which can be rustled up in no time at all.
St. Andrea Wine and Skybar, Budapest, Deák Ferenc utca 5, 1052; +36 30 300 3930
Easy Wine Budapest
Just a stone’s throw from the Hungarian Parliament Building, Easy Wine offers a unique wine tasting experience in a plush and lively bar atmosphere.
The bar has special self-service machines that allow guests to sample the wines before selecting a glass.
You can even take home a bottle of your favorite tipple at the end of the evening – the Cruxx Gemina Sour Cherry Wine is well worth a sample.
Easy Wine also has one of the city’s finest chefs on hand to serve up a decadent à la carte menu complete with delicious desserts.
Easy Wine, Budapest, Hold utca 23, 1054; +36 70 336 7717
High Note Skybar
Based at the five-star Aria Hotel, overlooking St. Stephen’s Basilica, the High Note Skybar holds a unique bespoke cocktail menu with accompanying décor.
Switching theme twice a year, complete with signature drinks relating to all things mystical – try the Philosopher’s Stone, or the Fountain of Youth mocktail, with wonderleaf non-alcoholic spirit, water kefir and seasonal fruit.
High Note Skybar at the Aria Hotel, Budapest, Hercegprímás u. 5, 1051; +36 1 445 4055
Kupola Bar at the Ritz-Carlton
Decked out with grand columns and huge windows, the Kupola Bar at the Ritz-Carlton provides a whole of host of bespoke cocktails and bar treats.
The glamorous venue is located in the heart of the fifth district, so it’s ideally situated for those eager to grab a drink while shopping on nearby Fashion Street.
Its cocktails available range from Moscow Mules to the finest champagne Kir Royale, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, the barman will make it for you.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest, Erzsébet tér 9-10, 1051; +36 1 429 5500
As its name suggests, 360 Bar offers an impressive 360-degree view of Budapest, with a roof terrace made up of heated igloos.
Accessible via a concealed door on Andrassy Avenue, this popular spot is busy throughout the year, especially in the summer months.
The menu here is filled with handcrafted cocktails, along with tasty bar snacks.
The Tokyo Iced Teas are highly recommended, as are the yummy beef burgers.
360 Bar, Budapest, Andrássy út 39, 1061; +36 30 356 3047
Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie
The beautifully-designed Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie stands in the Parisian courtyard at the Párisi Udvar Hotel, located in a revived Art Nouveau shopping arcade.
Guests can indulge in international cuisine as well as bespoke cocktails, such as the Midnight in Budapest.
A delicious mix of Martell VSOP Cognac and five-year-old Márton és Lányai apple brandy – the Martell representing France and the brandy embodying Hungary – it’s the perfect cocktail.
Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie, Párisi Udvar, Budapest, Petőfi Sándor u. 2-4, 1052; +36 1 576 1600
Minute Lounge & Bar
Located on Andrassy Avenue, Minute Lounge & Bar offers a refined menu of bespoke cocktails in an Art Deco-style setting.
From the tasty Quintessential, which consists of bourbon, pumpkin spice, cream, egg white, citrus, orange blossom and soda, to the bold Pho’Eva, made with tequila, Fino sherry, pho, lime and chili, some unique alcoholic combinations are on display here.
The luxury bar’s attentive, well-informed staff and its delightful food menu – the hummus and duck liver tarte flambée is a particular highlight – only add to its allure.
Minute Lounge & Bar, Hotel Moments Budapest, Budapest, Andrássy út 8, 1061; +36 1 611 7060
Situated in the heart of the capital’s party district, Twentysix Budapest provides a unique garden bar experience housed within a glass-domed courtyard.
Split into four areas – house, garden, studio and shop – this urban jungle is ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
In the garden, a vast selection of foods and drinks, complete with a wine, cocktail and pálinka bar filled with the finest Hungarian blends, are served up.
The mixology menu lists an extensive cocktail selection, including all the classics with a special twist.
Twentysix Budapest, Budapest, Király u. 26, 1061; +36 70 395 6129
Nathan Kay is a well-traveled freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in print and online journalism. His interests lie in tech, news and travel writing.