The diversely fertile soils of Hungary—acclaimed across Europe for producing excellent grapes since the Middle Ages—continually nourish fruitful vines that provide varied berries to be refined into a broad selection of wines, from Eger’s robustly red Bikavér (meaning “Bull’s Blood” in Hungarian) to the honey-golden Aszú Essencia of Tokaj, a preferred beverage of King Louis XV and Beethoven. The tasteful mélange of Hungarian wines offers something for the palate of every oenophile, and Budapest visitors can sample the country’s entire vinicultural spectrum at these welcoming wine bars found throughout the city center.
Drop Shop—Located beside the Pest riverfront a short distance from Hungary’s Parliament House, Drop Shop is a contemporary lounge designed with sleek furnishings, yet the friendly staff here maintains a laid-back vibe appealing for connoisseurs and casual sippers alike. Here many impressive artisanal Hungarian wines and international favorites are available by the glass (the chalkboard of options is often updated during the course of each day), while a world-class array of bottles from Mediterranean regions and far beyond can be enjoyed on-site or taken home. Pest V, Balassi Bálint u. 27. T: +36.30.345.3739
Innio—Exposed brickwork and lively tunes surround imbibers at Innio, a hip hangout for Budapest’s young professionals and future wine aficionados. Located a short stroll away from St. Stephen’s Basilica, Innio is as popular for its fun-loving atmosphere—frequently scored by live DJs, with theme nights like “USA Fest” and a Ray Charles tribute—as it is for its fine Hungarian and global wine selection, along with gourmet tapas and hearty meals. During summer months, the sidewalk seating buzzes with conversations; this is one of Budapest’s best date destinations. Pest V, Október 6 u. 9. T: +36.70.311.1010
L’Enoteca—Perched alongside the Danube with panoramic views over Gellért Hill and the iconic Liberation Monument atop it, L’Enoteca is unmistakably sited in central Budapest, yet the interior looks just like a rustic ristorante of Italy’s countryside. As the sister establishment of Trattoria Toscana next door—one of Hungary’s most superb Italian eateries—L’Enoteca offers an unparalleled variety of vino from the cherished terroirs of Tuscany along with a splendid assortment of Hungarian wines, all of which can be paired with any dish from the Trattoria Toscana menu. Pest V, Belgrád rkp. 13. T: +36.1.486.1665
This relative newcomer to the wine-bar scene provides bibulous guests with an absolutely modern locale for enjoying fine wines and good times, all in an elegant position beside the Buda riverbank. Palack provides a spacious patio for tippling alfresco at candlelit tables, while the stylishly minimalistic interior houses a spectacular variety of Magyar-made nectars from myriad acclaimed wineries, including Takler Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir by St. Andrea, Weninger Kékfrankos, and many more, served with various tapas featuring Hungarian delicacies. Buda XI, Szt. Gellért tér 3. T: +36.30.997.1902