The bar scene, regardless of orientation, is volatile. Bars exclusively for gays have a difficult time staying in business, so you will find most of them mixed.
Budapest’s gay scene is largely male-oriented, with some progress in making it better for women. For reliable and up-to-date information, visit www.budapestgaycity.net or www.gayguide.net. Note: Before Gay Pride July 2008, a number of gay venues were attacked with Molotov cocktails. This only seems to happen around Pride time.
This is a well-hidden bar and can easily be overlooked. The hanging sidewalk sign is usually not even close to the entrance. Look for a large yellow a sign, and this is the entrance to this dark, often crowded basement bar. Most of the group consists of other tourists with a few locals mixed in, but exclusively men. You will receive a drink card which obligates you to drink the minimum of 1.000 Ft (EUR 3) or pay the difference when you leave. Make sure the bartender marks your card with every drink you order. There is a hefty fine for “lost” cards. Highlights are the spicy strip shows and go-go shows at 12:30 and 1:45am, busy dark video rooms, and a sizzling hot atmosphere, but it is empty until 11pm. Open daily 9pm to 5am. Budapest, V. Magyar u. 42. Metro: Kálvin tér (Blue line).
Another club to make its way to the gay scene in 2007, this is regaled as a hip, jumping club for the younger set, but is small. Men and women are welcomed to their different events each night. Besides karaoke on Thursdays, they have guest singers and transvestite shows. Open Wednesday to Saturday 10pm until the sun rises again. Budapest, VI. Dessewffy u. 33. Metro: Oktogon (Yellow line).
Although labeled a gay club, with cross-dressing bar staff, this club draws a large nongay crowd. They offer cabaret-style shows and extravagant drag shows, which draw the curious heterosexuals at midnight and 1am. There are three levels to the bar. Some have reported that the cover charge changes sporadically and some customers have been overcharged, so proceed with caution and count your change carefully. Open Monday to Saturday 9pm to 5am. Budapest, V. Belgrád rkp. 23. Metro: Ferenciek tere (Blue line).
Once known as Chaos, it is a modern, metallic bar for sizzling gay men in the underground shelter. The entry level has an overpriced Internet cafe and a small art gallery, where you will be greeted and given your consumption card. In the winter, coat check is mandatory. Nothing happens here until midnight at the earliest. Open daily 9pm to 4am. Budapest, VII. Dohány u. 38. Drink minimum 1,000 Ft. Metro: Astoria or Blaha Lujza tér (Red line).
This is a small gay bar where locals hang out, so you can practice your Hungarian skills here. The staff from the former Angyal’s bar has been here since its opening in 2006. Open Tuesday to Sunday 5pm to 5am. Budapest, V. Szép u. 1/b. Metro: Astoria (Red line).
Le Café M
Formerly the Mystery Bar, which was the first gay bar in the city, it changed its name for unknown reasons. It is a very tiny, but friendly place that draws a large foreign clientele. It is a great place to strike up a conversation and meet new people. Open Monday to Friday 4pm to 4am, Saturday and Sunday 6pm to 4am. Budapest, V. Nagysándor József u. 3. Metro: Arany János u. (Blue line).