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Gypsy, Klezmer or Hungarian folk music in Budapest?

We'll be spending a week in Budapest in May and I'm looking for suggestions of venues to check out for Gypsy, Klezmer or Hungarian folk music in Budapest. We happily scored tickets to Chick Corea and for a ballet. So now I'd like to schedule in some of the traditional / fusion that thrives in Budapest.
Any suggestions?

Posted by
10681 posts

If you are lucky and the “Budapest Klezmer Band” is playing while you are in town you are going to have a real treat. http://www.budapestklezmer.hu/en Unfortunately like most Budapest venues they don’t post their performances very far in advance. If the “Wedding Dance” is showing at the Budapest Operett theater while you are in town, they do most of the music for the production. Really good. A close back up for that band is the smaller Klezmer Band that plays at Spinoza’s on Friday night. It’s dinner and a concert (actually the other way around). Again, we enjoy it and have gone a couple of times http://www.spinozahaz.hu/index.php?lang=en .

Then there are a couple of restaurants with Gypsy music: http://www.rezkakasbistro.hu/en/ and . http://margitkert.hu/english/gypsy_music_eng.html . For a little classical dinner try http://www.callascafe.hu/index_en.html this is also a great place after the Opera or Operett theater. All three require reservations. More laid back is http://pest.vakvarju.com/en/ its sort of a Chili’s but Hungarian style with a piano player most evenings. Its around the corner from where we stay when we are in town and its been our stand by for a laid back meal for years.

Here is one that is a little unusual. We are going to try if for the first time in March: http://www.orfeumclub.hu/en/ How about Jazz music? http://www.bjc.hu/en/concert-calendar.html

Budapest really is about the music and these are just a few of the options. There are still the church concerts, the Palace of Art, the national theater and dozens of small theaters.

Oh! I neglected the folk dancing and the gypsy band concerts. I have been to the folk dance show. Me and 300 other tourists. It was “interesting”. The Gypsy Band concerts pushed in the same venues (like the Danube Palace) are “good” too, but I don’t want to sit with 300 tourists. I want to be around Hungarians when I am in Hungary. The venues I gave you will get you there.

Oh, one last idea. Music? Well not exactly but there is a rhythm that she moves her belly to. When she got to our table and looked straight into my eyes, my wife stood up and drove the knife point first deep into the top of the wooden table. The belly dancer left in a hurry (we’ve been back a number of times and the table is well scared) http://www.sirlancelot.hu/

Ohhh, one more. It’s a freebee. If you face the opera house there is a pedestrian street that runs up the right hand side. About 100m up that street is a red storefront on the right. They sell sausages (along with other meats). It must be owned by a Jewish person because it closes early Friday and all day Saturday. Anyway go in and stand at the counter. This big burley looking guy will grunt something. Say sausage and point to one in the window. He will ask something to the effect of, “eat here?” Respond to the affirmative. He will slap the sausage on a paper place. Then he will grunt, “bread?”. Again the affirmative is the response. Then, “mustard?”, again the affirmative. Then it’s your turn. You grunt, “knife” and he will pull out this little tiny knife with a massive handle and hand it to you. His old butcher knives apparently get ground down to steak knives. Drinks are help your self in the nearby refrig. Pay and go outside to one of the stand up tables. Now for the music. If it is warm and if you are lucky, they are practicing in the Opera house with the windows open. Wa-la, private concert and fine sausage.

Posted by
1420 posts

Goodness, James! WOW!!

I * love * the "freebie" suggestion! Many thanks... you've given me lots to search. :-)

We won't be far at all from Obuda, have you tried the Kéhli Vendéglő restaurant? Spinoza is on my radar, but we'll be in Eger for the Friday night - wine cellar hopping, when there will be some fiddle & accordion {grin}. BTW, DH likes the suggestion for Sir Lancelot's... I guess that I may be adding my own notches on that table.

Posted by
10681 posts

Yes I have, its one of the most respected old establishments in town. Pretty excellent. I assume you have a great reason for staying so far out? Another place for a great lunch in the same area is Mókus Sörkert Étterem (local, rustic, authentic, great food) which is very near some nice galleries.

Posted by
10681 posts

Oh, and despite what a Belly Dancer might imply (that's maybe 10 minutes of the show), Sir Lancelot's is really a nice place and suitable for older well behaved kids. Of course that is my standard for any kids at any restaurant anywhere in the world. Food is actually quite good and the price isn't too bad.

Posted by
1420 posts

Many thanks again, James. I am definitely planning an evening at the Kéhli Vendéglő - thanks for suggesting the Mókus Sörkert Étterem, I'll give it a try. In the same area as well is the Uj Sipos - great for fish dishes, which DH doesn't care for much... so I likely won't be returning there this time.

I really like the Buda side better. This time I am trying out a flat with a small garden for sitting out. I also get into the thermal baths each day that I am there and I'll be very close to the Lukács and yet-to-be-tried Veli Bej baths. I'll also be going to the Rudas. LOL, people complain of the smell and silver-tarnishing quality of the waters of some of the baths on the Buda side... but that's what draws me: the genuine relief I get from soaking... :-)