How LGBTQ-friendly is Budapest? Where are the best gay bars? Where shall I go if I want to explore the best parties and clubs of the LGBTQ subculture? Which “gay-friendly” nightclubs are worth visiting?
You probably ask these questions before coming to Budapest as an LGBTQ tourist to discover our diverse capital, full of life and hospitality.
Well, Hungary is one of the moderately tolerant countries, but we are on the right track and a lot of people are working hard to welcome the members of the LGBTQ community visiting Budapest with an accepting, open, multicultural and gay-friendly atmosphere.
Based on the feedback of foreign gay and lesbian travelers, in 2019 Budapest was already included in the list of 50 cities where LGBTQ tourists are welcomed with open arms, compiled by the TripAdvisor tourist website every year. Besides, in January 2020, Budapest was represented in the LGBTQ pavilion of Fitur Madrid, one of the largest travel exhibitions in the world.
Gay Bars in Budapest
Why Not Café & Bar
This is my favorite one in the city. Why Not is located on the bank of the Danube, and it is a really friendly bar with a wonderful panorama. Sitting on the terrace we can see the Liberty Bridge, the Gellért Thermal Bath on the Buda side and the Gellért Hill, which is a magnificent sight at night.
Coffee specialties, cocktails, draft beers, delicious lemonades, sandwiches and salads are awaiting those who arrive hungry or thirsty. During the day it is a quiet café, but in the evening, it transforms into a nightclub of the bustling nightlife with super programs, karaoke parties, acoustic concerts and even the football World Cup is broadcasted here. The service is an A-plus.
The interior design of Why Not is also special, with striped wallpapers and great pictures on the wall that are worth looking at. It is a 1-minute walk from the Fővám tér stop of tram 2 or metro line 4.
Why Not Café & Bar is a dog-friendly place, so if you come to Budapest with a dog, feel free to take it here with you.
H-1056 Budapest, Belgrád rakpart 3-4.
Open: every day 10 am – 5 pm
Why not Cafe
Phoenix Bar & Club
The Phoenix is a really stylish, sophisticated bar downtown. The entrance of the bar is in the basement, and it is so unobtrusive that we walked past it several times before we noticed. The place is characterized by black and gold colors, sofas, pillows, and super mood lighting, and whether you arrive in pairs or with a larger group, you won’t be disappointed. The bar counter in the other half of the room is illuminated, and the range of drinks is amazing. You can choose from special cocktails, and in the evenings, you can enjoy sophisticated performances and karaoke.
Tip: Get off metro line 3 at Arany János utca station, from where it is only a few minutes’ walk to the bar.
H-1065 Budapest, Hajós utca 27.
Monday: 7 pm – 3 am
Tuesday, Wednesday: 7 pm – 2 am
Thursday: 7 pm – 3 am
Friday, Saturday: 7 pm – 4 am
Alterego Club and Lounge
Alterego is one of the most famous and trendiest gay nightclubs in Budapest. Four bar counters and two dance floors await those looking to party, and there are different happy hours every night. The live Drag Show – where you can see the performances of Lady Dömper, Betty Blue, Mary Lou, and Giselle – isn’t just for the gay audience. A club of high quality where you can either sip delicious cocktails in pairs or dance to super music on the dance floor. It is worth visiting Alterego, if for no other reason, for the sake of the show starting at midnight.
Tip: Alterego is a sophisticated, high-quality club where you are expected to arrive smartly dressed.
H-1066 Budapest, Dessewffy utca 33.
every Friday night 10 pm – 5 am
Saturday night 10 pm – 6 am
Gaga is a brand-new place in Budapest; it opened in February 2020 and it is more of a multifunctional LGBTQ center than a gay bar. A variety of programs are held every day, for example lesbian evenings are held on Tuesdays, but the program is very colorful: karaoke parties, queer variety shows, and music, as you like it. Gaga is a hetero-friendly place, so much so that its glass windows face the street without curtains or blinds… so what is happening on the stage can also be seen from the street. But why should anything be hidden??
Tip: Since the Gaga opens at 10 in the morning, you can even have breakfast here. This can be ideal if you arrive in Budapest early and you can’t yet occupy your accommodation.
H-1074 Budapest, Dohány u. 22-24.
Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 12 am
Thursday 10 am – 2 am
Friday 10 am – 4 am
Saturday 5 pm – 4 am
Sunday 5 pm – 12 am
Best Gay-Friendly Nightclubs
In 2019 the following 2 places were the front-runners in the “Best Gay Friendly Place” category at the Heineken Budapest Nightlife Awards competition:
Akvárium Klub and its immediate surroundings, Erzsébet Square and Deák Square are the best known and largest meeting places in Budapest. Every night, thousands of young people spend their free time here, partying, drinking, chatting on the steps of the Akvárium Klub or in the parks, or having a picnic with a blanket on the grass surrounding the Budapest Eye. Akvárium is more than a club, a real cultural center, where there is always a good concert or exhibition.
H-1051 Budapest, Erzsébet tér 12.
Monday, Tuesday: 12 pm – 1 am
Wednesday–Saturday: 12 pm – 4.30 am
Sunday: 12 pm – 1 am
Édes Érzés is a super place, actually a cafe, a pub and a bar in one. The lemonade is delicious, the service is five-star, and the cleanliness of the restrooms is impeccable. It is a nice place where you won’t be judged if you don’t order anything. During Budapest Pride, guests will find program booklets and rainbow-colored flags.
H-1113 Budapest, Bartók Béla út 37.
Monday: 10 am – 6 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday: 10 am – 7 pm
Thursday, Friday: 10 am – 9 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 5.30 pm
Best Gay-Friendly Restaurant
Why Not Bistro
Live. Love. Eat. If you would like to eat a really good meal, you must visit here. Bistro can be found a few minutes’ walk from Why Not Cafe & Bar on Belgrád embankment. You can feel comfortable here because there is no dress code, but the dishes are made of quality ingredients. You can also choose diet- and figure-friendly meals. On the menu both traditional Hungarian and international dishes can be found, and the service is also A-plus here.
Before a night of drinking it is worth having a goulash soup or a beef stew here. Hortobágy-style pancakes are also delicious.
The view of Gellért Hill is magnificent from the terrace of Why Not Bistro, especially when it’s illuminated in the evening.
H-1056 Budapest, Belgrád rakpart 18.
Monday–Sunday: 12 pm – 11.30 pm
Gay-Friendly Service Providers in Tourism
A very good campaign, “Open for All”, was launched in Budapest, joined by those tourism service providers and restaurants that are open to everyone in the name of diversity. This is indicated by a rainbow-colored sticker, meaning that every guest is welcome here.
Tip: Such as the Mr. Ticket tourist office on the Váci walking street, where you can buy tickets for sightseeing buses at the best prices, and also pick from many great programs.
They have their own private chauffeur service, so if you want to take the luxury Mercedes Class minibus to take the journey between the city center and the airport, you can order it at the cheapest price here. In addition to luggage storage, you can print your boarding passes, and thanks to the friendly staff you’re a guest for a delicious coffee, a glass of cold syrup, or a cold beer at any time.
H-1051 Budapest, Váci utca 7. patio
The office is located next to Anna Cafe, near Vörösmarty Square.
Monday–Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Magnum is the number one gay sauna in Budapest, where the mood is always hot. Its Dark and Naked parties are really famous. Here, anything can happen: if you like, you can relax in the steam or take a refreshing massage, but you can also find a partner with whom you can go for an intimate tryst in one of the cabins. It’s a safe and discreet place where the ticket includes the use of slippers and towels, as well as all other necessary accessories: shower, soap, condom, lubricant, etc…
Tip: I kept the bad news to the end: unfortunately, only gay and bisexual men are accepted here. Anyone who knows a place like this for ladies should put their hands up NOW!
District VIII, Csepreghy utca 2.
You can take metro line 3 or tram 4-6 to Corvin-negyed station, from where it is a 5 minutes’ walk.
Monday–Thursday: 1 pm – 12 am
Friday: 1 pm – 4 am
Saturday: 1 pm – 05 am
Sunday: 12 am – 12 am
Common sweating is guaranteed in Sauna 69, and I don’t just mean in the steam. In addition to the steam room, there are also dark rooms, lockable cabins, refreshing massages, a glory hole, and a super buffet and bar. Safety and discretion are given, condoms can be bought at a low price, and you can also get slippers and other useful things.
There are also multi-person cabins, which are suitable for spending some time in a group. The dark room… well, it’s really dark, so you can’t know who’s in your hands. It’s like a pig in a poke… ☺ The glory hole is a tiny, single-person room where there is a hole in the wall and you can only insert as much as you need.
Tip: Sauna 69 is also exclusively for gay and bisexual men. I think it is discrimination, but it is how it is.
H-1094 Budapest, Angyal utca 2.
It is easily accessible by tram 4-6 at Mester utca stop, or by tram 2 and bus 15 at the Boráros tér stop. It is also a few minutes’ walk from Corvin-negyed station of metro line 3.
Sunday–Thursday: 1 pm – 2 am
Friday: 1 pm – 2 am
Saturday: 1 pm – 4 am