The good thing about Budapest is that more and more districts are regaining their former character. Bartók Béla Road, for example, is extremely popular again these days: several new-wave cafés, restaurants, and galleries have opened along the long avenue in recent years. The road that truly buzzes with life is a refreshing spot amidst the often dull streets of Budapest, so much so that it was named one of the top 50 ‘coolest neighbourhoods’ in the world by Time Out in 2019.
However, this stretch between Szent Gellért Square and Zsigmond Móricz Square was already the home to a vibrant cultural life in the early 1900s, so the current boom has a long tradition. At the beginning of the previous century, the Hadik Café opened here, immediately becoming the favourite haunt of famous Hungarian author, poet, and journalist Frigyes Karinthy. In addition, other well-known poets and authors such as
Attila József, Zsigmond Móricz, and Jenő Rejtő became regular guests in the café as well,
so much so that they even had their telephones routed there.
Hungarian composer Béla Bartók himself was a resident of the area, but writers Géza Ottlik and Dezső Kosztolányi, actor Zoltán Latinovits, painter Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry, and singer, composer and actor Tamás Cseh also lived here. It is interesting to note that this section of the city only got its name in 1945, before which it was called Horthy Miklós and Fehérvári Boulevard. After the Second World War, the area remained unused for more than half a century, slowly losing its old splendour.
The former Hadik Café was eventually reopened in 2010 and was divided into two parts: Hadik Café and next to it the Szatyor Bar and Gallery. Since then, the area has been developing more and more dynamically and is now experiencing its second renaissance, featuring a succession of the finest bars, restaurants, and cafés, together with numerous galleries opening one after the other.
That is how the Kelet Café & Gallery was born in 2014,
which has more to do with the Hadik Café than you might think. Its name comes from the fact that Hadik was a place where the artists of the great generation of the Nyugat (West) literary journal used to go, and the Kelet (East) Café is located right opposite it, hence the choice of name. Popular for its oriental gastronomy and classic café atmosphere, it is not too much to say that this busy spot of the capital has become a real cultic public space over the past years. It is open every day of the year, from morning till night, and is always full of students, writers, actors, journalists, artists, freelancers from the creative professions, and anyone else who wants to be part of one of the most, if not the most, chic meeting places on the bustling Bartók Béla Boulevard. Kelet Café alone can render the feeling that this whole quarter is about. Its pleasant interior, its walls full of books, and its cosy atmosphere create a unique atmosphere that makes guests want to linger for a longer time.
Speaking of books: the abundance of books on the ground floor is not just an element of design in the café. In fact, the purpose and the point of the collection is that we can take any of books away in exchange for another. Besides, this is a place where, whatever we choose from the menu and drinks menu, we cannot go wrong. And whether sitting in the warm interior or at a table outside, we can always feel part of and relive the colourful and diverse history of Bartók Béla Road unfolding day by day.
Click here to read the original article.