Get more bang for your forint with our Cheapo-tested tips for a night out in Budapest. Kari Hoerchler, who recently prowled the city’s streets hunting down hotels for us, also found out how to have fun…
Start the night with a free drink.
A cheapo could get a jump start on the evening with a free drink at the Matyas’ wine fountain in the Labyrinth of Castle Hill. However, we found it more efficient and enjoyable to fork out the HUF 8000 (roughly €31) to sample over 50 wines at the House of Hungarian Wines above ground.
Get your restaurant row on.
Ramble on over to the Liszt ter, the veritable restaurant row of Budapest. People watching is free of charge, not to mention fun. And, frugal dining spots abound. A fresh variety of cocktails, sandwiches and salads are available at Café Vian. ‘Pest favorites, including goulash and fruit soup, are served at Menza (which also serves international fare, like pasta and salads). Both restaurants run a tab of about HUF 3,200 (almost €13) per person.
Hit up a club.
For a walk on the wild side, head over to Erzsebet ter to catch live acts and art at the underground Godor Club. Even if the place gets overcrowded with revelers, it’s still fun to check out the stage from the park above via a glass bottom fountain. When we were last in Budapest, we made a visit. Pints of beer were HUF 480 (just under €2) and entry was free.
The late night and early morning crowd pumps at Szóda. Not only is the design of this club chic, but the crowd is notoriously hip, making Szoda the perfect place to find out where the latest and greatest kerts (makeshift bars in the courtyards of abandoned buildings) can be found. The team behind Szoda are also behind several of the city’s speakeasies.
Sit back and relax.
For a more mellow mood, catch local and European art films at one of Budapest’s opulent, old movie houses. Urania National Movie Theatre was built in the 1890s. Plush velvet seats and gold vaulted ceilings trick the eyes into thinking one is spending the evening at the much more expensive opera house across town. Stop by the box office to find out which films have subtitles. Tickets run between HUF 890 and 990 (€3.50-4).
Kari Hoerchler is a budget traveler and science fiction novelist stationed on Planet Earth. Not only has Kari been a star contributor to EuroCheapo’s guide to Budapest, she has also recently been spotted under spotlights on small stages in New York coffeehouses telling tall tales of a tropical island—and future vacation hot spot—in the Bermuda Triangle. Book ahead.