Budapest has a grand history in music, ranging from operas to folk songs. Today, however, you’re just as likely to find techno clubs or live rock music: new clubs and music venues are constantly sprouting up all over Budapest especially around VII Liszt Ferenc tér and IX Ráday utca. Borozós are cheap wine cellars, where it is rare to see women, especially unaccompanied. Sörözös are beer houses that also serve good and moderately priced food.
The best sources for nightlife and cultural listings is The Budapest Sun (www.budapestsun.com),. You can buy tickets for most cultural and sporting events from TEX Ticket Express, I Déli pályaudvar, VI Andrássy út 18, and other locations, or order online at www.tex.hu.
Bars in Budapest
This Ruin Pub is located in the basement of the former Culture Centre. Its vaulted ceiling and air vent tubing are overgrown with a jungle of plants, while its walls are daubed in graffiti. As well as the usual eclectic mix of furniture, Filter Klub offers table football, reasonably priced drinks and regular live music.Address: , Almássy útca 1, Budapest,
Telephone: (30) 921 4212.
Probably the most famous of Budapest’s Ruin Pubs (bars that open in disused buildings that are usually decorated with an eclectic mix of second hand furniture), Szimpla Kert is something of a cult with both tourists and locals. Found in an old tenement house, customers that explore its labyrinth of corridors will find each room is adorned to a different theme. Helpfully, it also offers a good selection of drinks.Address: , Kazinczy útca 14, Budapest,
Telephone: (20) 261 8669.
Clubs in Budapest
Café del Rio
A little lick of Latin America can be found down by the banks of the Danube in the form of Café del Rio – a hugely popular, palm tree-filled club. Thousands of trendy young Hungarians turn up to watch big name international DJs spin tunes until the early hours each weekend with salsa the order of the day on Tuesdays.Address: , Hengermalom útca 51, Budapest,
Telephone: (30) 297 2158.
With the emphasis on electronic music, Corvintető bags some of the coolest DJs from all around the world, who drop in for deep house, dubstep and drum n bass sessions. The club occupies the top floor of a former department store and its summertime roof terrace rewards those still dancing at dawn with a panorama of the city. The darker months are kept indoors with its bulb-filled ceilings, neon acid corridors and scuffed floors.Address: , Blaha Lujza tér 1-2, Budapest,
Telephone: (20) 772 2984.
This perennially popular, democratically run institution in the heart of the city offers a wide range of musical styles, free wireless and nights that range from rock concerts and salsa to literary reading and art exhibitions. After nine years at the Cultural Center on Erzsébet Square, its new incarnation at Király útca comes with moveable walls so it can house a whole host of contemporary events, both large and small.Address: , Király útca 8-10, Budapest,
Telephone: (20) 201 3868.
Live music in Budapest
A38 is a Ukrainian stone-carrier barge that has been reincarnated as a floating club, art gallery, restaurant, bar and live music spot. It is one of Budapest’s trendiest venues and boasts a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and concerts. A recent revamp has given it an extra shine and with a plethora of live acts stepping aboard, it has also gained a reputation as one of Europe’s coolest music spaces.Address: , Budai alsó rakpart, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 464 3940.
Hungarian Heritage House
For something more traditional, head to the Hungarian Heritage House in Buda, home to the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble. Established five decades ago with the aim of collecting, preserving and performing folk music alongside customary Hungarian dance and costumes, they have since become one of the world’s top touring groups. The Hungarian Heritage House hosts their regular performances which include folk plays, music and dance.Address: , Corvin tér 8, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 225 6049.
Old Man's Music Pub
The Old Man's Music Pub, although crowded, is one of the city's best live music hotspots. Local acts are the predominant draw here, with the odd international group thrown in for good measure. Performers tend to lean towards blues, rock and pop from 2100 to 2300, with a DJ taking over after that.Address: , Akácfa útca 13, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 322 7645.
Classical music in Budapest
Bartók Memorial House
Bartók Memorial House is the former residence of the great composer and now a museum in his honour. In the early 20th century, Béla Bartók (1881-1945) and Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) scoured the country to capture its vanishing folk songs. Their efforts have enriched today's vibrant Hungarian music scene. Events such as concerts, film presentations and talks are held regularly in the house and the garden is used for open-air concerts in the summer.Address: , Csalán útca 29, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 394 2100.
Franz Liszt Academy of Music
The Franz Liszt Music Academy, founded by the musical genius himself in 1875, is one of the most prestigious music schools in Hungary. The recent addition of an independent Folk Music Faculty has further enhanced its reputation. Concerts are held in both the Grand Hall and Chamber Hall of this art nouveau building, which aims to attract the world's leading musicians and performers. Its eclectic programme of concerts includes everything from classical, jazz and folk music to opera.Address: , Wesselényi utca 52, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 462 4600.
Dance in Budapest
Trafó House of Contemporary Arts
A multidisciplinary centre of contemporary arts housed in a former electrical transformer station, Trafó offers a varied programme of dance, music and theatre (in Hungarian only). Hosting performances that are at the cutting edge of the Budapest art scene, as well as many international productions, the programme is often varied with everything from experimental exhibitions to cultural concerts.Address: , Liliom útca 41, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 215 1600.
Theatres in Budapest
Budapest Secret Theatre
The Secret Theatre is a collaboration of directors, writers and actors keen to put on high-quality plays for English language speakers in Budapest. As an independent company, shows can range from original productions by new writers to classic curtain raisers. Venues vary depending on what the show dictates, but past performances have taken place in auditoriums, basements, clubs and other private spaces. Sign up for the newsletter on their website for updates.Address: , Various venues, Budapest,
Nemzeti Szinhaz (National Theatre)
Located on the banks of the Danube, the Nemzeti Szinhaz (National Theatre) is the city's largest centre for theatrical productions. It mainly showcases Hungarian actors, writers and directors. Alongside classic shows, contemporary plays and adaptations of Hungarian literature are often found on the programme. Productions are in Hungarian, but for visitors that cannot speak the language, its garden and sculpture park are worth visiting too.Address: , Bajor Gizi Park 1, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 476 6800.
Palace of Arts
Opening in 2005, the Palace of Arts is Budapest's latest cultural centre, featuring two concert halls and the Ludwig Museum. Its breathtaking Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, which has an interior reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral, hosts orchestras and chamber shows, while the smaller Festival Theatre is used for dance, theatre and music productions. The Ludwig Museum displays a collection of contemporary art, both Hungarian and international.Address: , Komor Marcell útca 1, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 555 3301.
Music and Dance in Budapest
Hungarian State Opera House
This breathtaking neo-Renaissance building boasts an opulently decorated interior and some of the best acoustics in Europe. Opera season lasts from September to the end of June and most days includes several performances. In addition to the opera, this is the home of the Hungarian National Ballet, with supplementary orchestral concerts commonplace too. Guided tours are available in English.Address: , Andrássy Avenue 22, Budapest,
Telephone: (01) 814 7100.