There’s a reason Budapest is commonly known as ‘Little Paris on the Danube’. While it might not match the scale of that particular city of love, Hungary’s capital is still one of Europe’s most intimate cities, thanks in large part to its huge variety of romantic bars.
High Note Sky Bar
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
High Note Sky Bar | Courtesy of Aria Hotel
While you most certainly won’t want to try and woo someone here in winter, there’s a real spectacle to an evening lounging in the classy, yet relaxed, atmosphere of the High Note Sky Bar. With the impressive St Stephen’s Basilica dominating the view, an evening here sipping wine in comfortable chairs as the sun sets over the picturesque square below is a strong contender for most romantic moment of any city break.
Though the prices at Blue Fox The Bar might put off many, the added benefit is that you’ll be spared those people who only visit Budapest to party. It’s a great location though, close enough to the central Deák Ferenc Square and the many bars and restaurants of the VII District. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or two before heading out to dinner.
If you want top-quality cocktails, there are few places in Budapest that can hold a candle to Boutiq’Bar. The place has been voted one of the best cocktail bars in the world, mostly thanks to the encyclopaedic knowledge of spirits and mixers – and their ability to inebriate – that its staff has to offer. If you’re looking for something more original than taking your date to a wine bar, a night of cocktail experimenting here is what you’re looking for.
St Andrea Wine & Skybar, Budapest | Courtesy of St Andrea Wine Bar
There are two St Andrea Wine Bars in Budapest, but it’s better to pick this option since the other, though equally as refined, doesn’t have so much to explore in the surrounding area, while this location has a prime spot at Vörösmarty Square, perfect after a stroll along the Danube or along the quaint shopping street on Váci utca. Better still is that it also has a skybar, which makes for an awe-inspiring view over the city.
It’s hard not to prejudge the admittedly tacky-looking exterior of this place, but if you can convince your date to trust you, then on the inside you’ll find a surprisingly quaint bar and lounge. The focus is on its many teas, but there is also a variety of alcoholic drinks, as well as shisha. It is dimly lit, but that only helps create a romantic atmosphere, especially with the availability of private rooms, too.
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Pavillon de Paris
Bar, Restaurant, French, $$$
Pavillon de Paris, Budapest | Courtesy of Pavillon de Paris
We’ll be upfront about this one; Pavillon de Paris is on this list mainly for the romantic garden dining. As you might expect, it offers a slice of Paris in Budapest, which might seem like cheating, but there are few better ways to get your date swooning. It is more of a place to eat than an outright bar, but the food available here offers French portions, not Hungarian ones, so neither of you will be too stuffed for the evening… if it goes well, anyway!
Fat Mo's Music Pub Restaurant, Budapest | Courtesy of Fat Mo's
If music be the food of love, then there might be no better place to take a date than Fat Mo’s. Not the best venue for a first date; the drinks are heavy and the food is greasy, but the cellar with its warm lights on exposed brick give it a honest closeness that is sometimes more appreciated than a more formal setting. The fact that it’s also one of the best jazz bars in Budapest helps add to its appeal.
Palack Wine Bar, Budapest | Courtesy of Palack Borbár
Palack Borbar is a combination of wine bar, restaurant and wine shop, but most pleasing is how it blends a stellar location near to Liberty Bridge and affordable prices on a huge range of Hungarian wines. It’s not the most well-known place, but it is small so don’t always expect to get a seat. Best of all is how, after the tasting experience, you could take a bottle of the wine you both enjoyed the most as a memento of a lovely evening.
This cellar location is hidden away from the world, and that gives it a certain sense of exclusivity. It’s a swanky place that is on just the right side of tacky – the golden chrome lamps testing that sense of style – but its soft sofas and relaxed atmosphere make it a great place to take your date for something a little more cosy, if the preliminary meal went well!