Budapest Café culture
The Hungarian Café culture goes back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As well as Vienna, Budapest is also famous for its numerous cafés. Everyone can find a place according to one’s personal taste, there is a wide variety. Budapest cafés have always been popular but nowadays we can witness a revival. It is great to spend some free time between two university lectures, chat with friends or organize a short business meeting in a café. In wintertime it is very pleasant to sip a hot chocolate or try a coffee speciality in the warm and buzzling atmosphere. In summer many cafes have a terrace with cosy armchairs and parasols, from where you can watch people passing by. There is really an endless variety, so no list can be complete. Just to name a few, here is a subjective selection.
It has a history of more than hundred years but was renewed a few years ago and they could achieve their goals. Its ars poetica best captures its characteristics: “Tradition and modernity. Respect for traditions, openness to new ideas. That is how Central Café could be described. We are proud of our forefathers and we are aware of the challenges of our age. We do not intend to evoke the past, but we intend to revive the kind of intellectuality that used to make this place one of the most popular intellectual centres of the capital.” Nowadays it is a very popular place with tables reserved for regular guests, newspapers to read and really undertaking a social function.
One of the most famous Budapest cafés is the New York, that is mentioned in each guidebook about Budapest. It has a great history, once it was very popular among writers, actors and intellectuals. Legend has it that once a famous Hungarian writer wanted to throw the key of the café in the Danube, so that they should never be closed. The café, that is now part of a 5 star hotel was thoroughly renovated in all detail, but the atmosphere changed a bit. It attracts mainly tourists and an ambitious young publicum. Callas is on the Andrássy Avenue, next to the Opera house. It’s location already presumes the prestigious inner decoration and design. The glistening details reflect elegance and luxury. They have nice afternoon cakes and gourmet dishes.
Terraced Budapest cafés:
Angelika is on the Buda side at Battyhany square. There is a great panorama on the Parliament building, from the uniquely arranged terrace. The building itself belongs to the famous Baroque St. Anna Church and hosts guests since 1720’s. The today’s design is elegant and cosy, you can try refined coffee specialities. Gerlóczy can be found on the Pest side, close to Vaci utca. It has a real mediterranean atmosphere, due to the intimate, small square where it is located, and the French and Italian style gourmet food served. The astonishing wide selection of breakfast and high-tea dishes and the polite staff make it a pleasant place. Furthermore in the evenings there is live piano or harp music.
The California Coffee Company is an international chain, they have more units around the city. The lounge cafe with fresh design interior and free wifi connection is very popular among the younger generation. The huge cosy leather armchairs invite for relaxation , consequently most of the guests sit for hours busy working on their laptops. The light rooms and electric plugs are ideal for eg. showing holiday photos to your friends. The hot chocolate and the Brownie are excellent, there is a take away option.