Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Before a trip to Europe’s second-biggest city, first things first. Take in the architecture and people-watching. Sneak in a concert or art exhibit. Take in some fine red wine — quite a few.
And then, take a chance on a visit to the city’s top-rated and most affordable beer hall, Wiener Stadtkeller . Founded in 1924, Wiener Stadtkeller is the city’s oldest business and is one of Budapest’s many tourist icons. Although the bar is small — still having to go up small steps to approach it — it remains elegant and effortlessly accessible.
At Wiener Stadtkeller , a selection of 300 beers will make up most of your bar bill. When looking for your perfect glass of beer, look for Flemish malts, toppled wines or imported craft beers. The bar also carries a menu with a sweet range of pastries, cheeses and antipasti.
But Wiener Stadtkeller’s been a popular spot for years, even before its doors first opened, so why go now? You have plenty of time — as long as you’re on time for a 7:00 p.m. opening.
Just before entering this grand bar, be sure to enjoy a drink at Tip-a-Vor, as Budapest’s answer to London’s famed Camden Roundabout. A casual cafe-style cocktail lounge at the hip Anamayah Hotel, Tip-a-Vor is filled with raucous harp players and is as close to a pub as you will find in Hungary.
Coffee is an integral part of Budapest’s cosmopolitan social life, and it is often served in a coffee bar. At Opus Attos coffee bar , an intelligent coffee menu, located directly above the coffee bar of the same name, is a good place to kick off your coffee break. The bar’s chocolate brown bottles of coffee are ideal to drink in the early morning before heading for the coffee bar upstairs.
Another unique, affordable neighborhood cafe is Java Dig Inn , located on the side street of Kinderzach. The restaurant’s specialty is Chinese dessert coffee , which is the perfect way to end your day. The coffee bar downstairs offers a huge assortment of espresso drinks, beers and wine as well. But you cannot go wrong with Wiener Stadtkeller for coffee or with Java Dig Inn for something more indulgent.
“Budapest is a wine town; it has a very favorable weather, an easy climate and goes through all types of growing seasons,” says Kokaram-Prakash, general manager of the Vienna Schloss Hotel . “All that goes for the sweetness of their wines. And in a coffee city, you have many different flavors to choose from. Just like London, you have a selection of chocolates and chocolate treats to keep your senses satisfied. This city has the best mix of unique hotel and self-contained cafes.”
For a different coffee experience, consider Manelos , another in Vienna Schloss Hotel. Manelos is an up-and-coming hipster coffee shop, taking inspiration from an Oxford and a New York street corner.