As Budapest’s craft beer scene grows, interesting bars tend to pop up all over the city, most notably in the IX District. However, Skanzenklub was one of the places I discovered when I became fixated with speakeasies. I found one place, which was notoriously closed down and reopened again, but I also found Skanzenklub, whose unorthodox way of operating allows this clandestine joint to run via a legal loophole. Not to mention I love its Dada tribute in its logo!
Legally, this is not a pub, but actually a private venue… it just happens to open out onto the street. Because of this, you can still smoke inside, and technically you could even order a pizza and eat it on the premises while drinking one of their in house beers. The smoking thing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in the summer months the door is open anyway, so this isn’t such an obstacle.
Skanzenklub doesn’t work like your usual bar. When you go in you’re given a glass and directed to the outward facing taps containing craft beers, mostly homemade and Hungarian. Here, you have to pour out your own beer, and you are given a recommended “price” for your beer, which you pay into a vintage honesty box. The beers here are quality, but also low come at a reasonable price. Sometimes you might have 5 taps on offer, other times maybe just one.
The venue is cosy and hails back to another era. The walls lined with vintage posters and old cigarette cases or boxes. I love the feel of sitting back in a creaking wooden chair with a beer in hand and simply watching the life go past on the square outside.
I love this place, but this is not a bar for everyone. If you don’t like craft beer, that goes without saying, but if you’re concerned about being in a smokey joint even if you’re a beer lover, then the IX District has around 18 craft beer places anyway, you’ve got plenty of alternatives to choose from (head over to Jonás in the Bálna a couple of blocks down, or cross the Grand Boulevard to Élesző, among others). However, if you want to try something different with that old speakeasy feel, then Skanzenklub is for you!
Köztelek utca 4/a, Budapest, Hungary, 1092
Images credited to Skanzenklub’s Facebook page.