Take a stroll through the Palace District, the inner part of the VIII District famed for its palatial apartments and shady courtyards. Mikszáth Kálmán Square is a charming spot that resembles an Italian plaza rather than downtown Budapest, and is home to various cafés and bars that dot its Renaissance style square. However, there is a door that leads inside an apartment complex that feels like a blink-and-miss it kind of place, but opens up into one of Budapest’s nicest shady summer spots – Garzonkert.
The cobblestone pathway through the gate might look like the entrance into someone’s private yard, but if you pay close attention you’ll see that the peaceful inner yard is actually dotted with eclectic chairs, fairy lights and has a bar at the end. So grab a beer and enjoy the view over old brick house opposite strewn with crawling ivy or the hanging balconies of the building above the courtyard.
Inside this corner of hidden Budapest you’ll find a sanctuary to escape the city while still being inside the Grand Boulevard. It’s ruined aesthetic perfectly suits Budapest’s ruin bar culture, melting into the past without forcing the present in its place. By day it’s shaded by the surrounding buildings and by night it’s lit up by its colourful bulbs that dangle across the courtyard.
The name “Garzonkert” translates as the “Studio Garden”, but more in the meaning of a bedsit rather than as an artists’ atelier, but the latter feels applicable, since the cultural life that once slipped inside this complex suit the name perfectly. The building, which is separate from the bar, was once used for workshops and artists’ galleries. While its artistic life has subsided, that bohemian feel still lingers. If you peer through the windows, you’ll still catch sight of a modern sculpture made from scrap metal or other artsy elements.
Today, the upstairs houses an artsy hostel called Minoo, which is popular with visiting artsy types today.
The bar itself carries a range of good craft beers, Hungarian wines and even a good range of the infamous Hungarian pálinka. You’ll also find a grill where you can get a bite of street food, just so you can be sure you don’t drink all that alcohol on an empty stomach.