As Kert season comes to a close, Budapest slowly starts to take life indoors as the weather cools down. While most of us spent the summer suffering from the intense heat, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the temperatures decrease and the days are getting shorter, so soon the winter coats will be coming out. But there is no reason to feel sad, since life doesn’t stop in Budapest once the summer is over, but instead of closing down we seek places that are warming and cosy. Here are few places to help you and your heart to keep warm over the next months.
1. Rengeteg RomKafé
In the basement next to Élesztő, this café is not just any old café but also a sanctuary for lost teddy bears. Amidst the vintage curiosities and fluffy, as well as thread-bear, toys, this cosy café owned by Tibor Szabó, the brains behind the Míves café in Miskolc. His café offers a variety of lovingly made teas, coffees and hot chocolate, and according to them “VERY SLOW FOOD”. It’s not just the café’s premises that make it a warming place, but Tibor’s love for his café and customers is also felt. Loving gifts sent to him and his café still sit on the walls and shelves, such as baby photos of couples who met at the original Miskolc café.
Address: 22 Tűzoltó Street, 1094 Budapest view map
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 10:00 – 22:00
Featured image: Rengeteg RomKafé. Photo: Budapest Local
2. Gdansk Bookshop and Café
Crossing the river into Buda is something a lot of expats tend to scoff at, but this tiny café-bar on Bartók Béla út is a true hidden spot that is worth making the journey. Blink and you’ll miss it, this Polish Bookstore Café is the size of most people’s entrance hall, but owner Ákos’s hospitality definitely warms up this shabby chic haven with its bookshelves stacked with Polish literature and old Swinger sewing machines that double up as tables topped with handmade lace. The menu is simple, you can get delicious marinated herring dishes or homemade soups made by Ákos’s Polish wife, as well as warming shots of vodka, including the shooters like Veszett Kutya (Rabid Dog), made from raspberry syrup, a dash of Tabasco and chilled Polish vodka.
Address: 1111 Budapest, Bartók Béla út 46 view map
Opening hours: 4pm–11pm Mon–Thu, 4pm–12am, Fri–Sat
3. Cat Café
Budapest has more than one cat café, and while the one near Déak Tér has a full house and about 20 cats, this small cat café on Damjanich utca is quieter and more intimate. If you want a cosy café to work in with adorable cats each with their own personality then this is the place to come. You enter the basement an then pay a set price straight up which includes unlimited drinks and a slice of delicious cake. There are four cats here: Sushi, Luna, Imhotep and Szofi, who are all very affectionate and playful, but beware – they will try to steal your sugar packets and enjoy staring down into your cup of coffee! Or they will curl up in a basket or on one of the comfy sofas to sleep.
Address: 38 Damjanich Street, 1071 Budapest view map
Opening hours: 12pm–10pm Tue–Sun
4. Café Zsivágó
Step back into Imperial Russia in this small café hidden on Paulay Ede utca. Recline on vintage sofas, armchairs or wooden chairs for a cup of tea, a homemade Pirog pastry or a bottle of Russian champagne. The silky wall paper and antique fittings take you into the scene of a Tolstoy novel, but the little rooms upstairs or the comfy tables in the back – so when the weather starts to turn Russian, let Café Zsivágó take the bite off with a hot chai.
Address: 1061 Budapest, 55 Paulay Ede Street, 1061 Budapest view map
Opening hours: 10am–12am Mon–Fri, 12pm–12am Sat, 2pm–10pm Sun
5. Zsiga Bár
Just behind the church on Harminckettesek Square, this intimate bar and restaurant serving home cooked food is great for the cosy factor. Curl up on a tapestried sofa with view of paintings and other vintage trinkets to a bowl of home made goulash or other dishes of the day.
Address: 14 Horváth Mihály Square, 1082 Budapest view map
Opening hours: 10am–9pm Mon–Thu, 10am–11:30pm Fri–Sat
6. Fondue Bár
When the colder weather comes around, there is nothing more warming than a spot of comfort food. Inside the dark wood-panelled restaurant in the II District just behind Millenáris, the smell of melted cheese and kirsch whisk you away to a Swiss Alpine Chalet. Just sit down with friends over a metal cauldron of melted cheese and forget the winter.
Address: 25 Keleti Károly Street, 1024 Budapest view map
Opening hours: 4pm–2am Mon–Fri, 5pm–12am Sat–Sun
7. Dzzs Bár
Just because summer is over it doesn’t mean you have to give up the ruin bar nightlife for cosier hangouts. Dzzs on Nagy Diófa utca is in the heart of the heaving party district giving you everything you want from a ruin bar while still housing cosy spots. Get comfy among the cushions on one of the benches and you can even read a magazine on knitting if you want to homey.
Address: 32 Nagydiófa Street, 1072 Budapest view map
Opening hours: 5pm–2am Mon–Tue, 5pm–3am Wed, 5pm–4am Thu, 5pm–5am Fri–Sat, 6:30pm–2am Sun
Photo: official Facebook page of Dzzs Bár
About the author: Jennifer Walker is an Anglo-Hungarian former nuclear physicist turned writer based in Budapest, Hungary. She’s passionate about discovering Budapest’s hidden places, architecture and art.