Hi James, have you heard of either of these places? Zona on the Buda side or Gozsdu Udvar?
I hadn't heard of Zona so I googled it. Their web page is down which isn't a good feeling. But the reviews and the photos show a pretty nice place. The area is okay but not terribly convenient by tram or metro. There is probably a good bus route, I just don't ride the busses that often.
The Gozsdu Udvar (courtyard) is a series of interlinking building courtyards full of bars and restaurants. It can be pretty lively in the evening, often with live music. Sunday mornings there are booths selling all sorts of stuff from old Russian Watches to Art Candles. It is very near where we stay in town and when we are in town you can find us having breakfast at Café Vian maybe 4 out of 7 days of the week.
You really should check out the Ruin Pubs.http://ruinpubs.com/ this is what is unique to Budapest, and I am going to bet will give you the atmosphere you are looking for.
Question. Mind if I post this?
Answer. Post away! You know it wasn't until hours later that I realized you told me about this courtyard when referencing Cafe Vian. I think I'll check it out before or after my Danube cruise. Zona was recommended to me by a local today. He said this place will probably get a Michelin Star. I tried accessing the website too with no luck. I'll try another time.