One night we went to Instant, which was surprisingly close to our apartment. It was the labyrinthine kind, with one large central courtyard bar and seemingly dozens of rooms on the sides connected by stairs and small passageways. The buildings used to be apartments. We were there on a Wednesday night and, while not packed to overflowing, the main room was quite full as were many of the side rooms. We enjoyed some beer and some exploring.
|Main bar area in the courtyard|
|Us in a side room (I'm behind the camera)|
For a bit of contrast, we also went to a wine bar to sample some of the local vintages. I think Hungary produces better wine than beer. We sampled some wines at Doblo near the Jewish district. They had Bull's Blood as well as other reds and whites.
|Doblo wine bar|
Even more potent is the other touristy drink, Unicum. Sold in distinctive bottles, it was mentioned on our bus tour and on some restaurant and bar menus. The description on the bus tour said that a doctor concocted it in the 1800s from many herbs as a digestif. It has become quite popular and comes in a distinctive round black bottle. I bought a bottle at the airport as well (clearing out the Hungarian forints!). Trying it at home was a trying experience. It is without doubt the worst liquor I have ever had. Later some friends came over, and now we don't have any friends left! I'm exaggerating about the lost friends but not about the awfulness of this drink.
|You can tell it was made by a doctor because it tastes like medicine|
In an effort not to leave a bad taste in readers mouths, I should also mention that we tried some of the local beers. They were okay but paled in comparison to what we had in Prague. I guess Czech beer is better than Czech wine and Hungarian wine is better than Hungarian beer. The big local brands are Arany Aszok and Dreher, both good in their own right but not good enough to buy at the airport on the way home. Though I should have bought these rather than the Unicum!
|Popular Hungarian Beers|