Café Mézes Brasserie – Tiny street, tiny pub, great charisma
- stop, 279. budapest stop – after 5 visits
The Pipa street is a special place to me. I started my life in Budapest there, not to mention it was also the scene where I – after being an abstinent for 25 years – lost my virginity to drinking in a pub out of my own decision. It happened in the predecessor of the current Mézes(=honeyed). Not really knowing too many options, I picked up screwdrivers (orange juice+vodka). Please don’t say anything! The world has changed a lot since then, as my world, as the one of Mézes.
Here is this well-known and super good looking Central Market Hall of Budapest at Fővám tér, repeatedly mentioned even in the worldwide media:
On its two sides there are two different worlds. On right side there is this classical headquarter-palace of the popular Corvinus University of Budapest,and the Szabadság (=Liberty) Bridge, the beautiful panorama of the Gellért Hill and the Danube bank.
On the left side of it…
…there is a tiny, one lane street; called Pipa utca with a typical “behind the scenes” look.
When I came here for the first time, I felt like I would have been at the very beginning of a Hollywood movie. In this vision this street was supposed to represent the grotesque starting neighborhood for every big city dream. After leaving the one story building suburbs, I was watching here from the third floor the flying doves and the so called “dirt of the capital” below. The only thing missing to accomplish the big picture, was someone to spill out a basket of living fish on the street through one the Market Hall’s exits, just like in the movie; Coyote Ugly.
Since then, the environment has improved spectacularly, the Csarnok(=hall) square’s parking lot was turned into a park with a fountain, life has taken over the place.
The Café Mézes Brasserie is also quiet attractive with the Pubtourist eye nowadays, especially in summer, when they put their nice and retro checked-clothed tables out, in front of the pub, in Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp style.
Also the interior design was improved since 2005. They even sell a good variety of local handcraft beers now in bottles, for example the Hungarian brands Szarvasi or Beerfort, some of the products of the also popular Fóti and Szent András as well as the Transylvanian Csíki beers – but this sortiment can change of course time to time.
This photo is a flashback already, because the Szarvasi Sörmester (=Beer master of Szarvas – a town) has changed its profile
On my second “first time” I returned to this pub on an alcohol free Sunday with a friend of mine and I liked it a lot, so I came back next Sunday on purpose to have few spritzers and see where the pub evolved over time. Both occasions proved, that it still has a pleasant pub life. You could meet people from all around. I encountered first hometown (Zalaegerszeg) people, next time Italians, even two group of them. I was surprised tough, that this groups, one in their twenties, one in their forties-fifties, weren’t even paying any attention to each other first, just like as if they were sitting in a pub in Italy and it weren’t be no big deal to meet another “homie”. After some time and some drinks, the middle aged generation started to sing Azzurro and some other Italian songs, unfamiliar to me, till the pub staff also put in the song l’italiano for them. They invited me to their table after I asked for the Azzurro’s Hungarian version by the staff. They seemed to like it. It turned out, that they were teachers of an Italian-Hungarian student exchange program, from the Nord-Italian part of the country, on their farewell party organized by the present Hungarian colleagues.
One of the Hungarian teachers, Attila was only learning Italian that time, but as he is a poet as well, he told me about starting to write Italian poems after his fifth language class. He was learning English as well for several years then, but as he said, he has never written a poem in English.
When they started singing in Italian, the younger group could not ignore them anymore. The teachers group has slowly left the pace, but two of the Italian colleagues have returned to join the younger generation a little later.
According to the team of Mézes, the number of Italian guests is rising, but still, Hungarians are the majority. This is important in such a place, to be tourist friendly, but having Hungarians regulars make a place authentic. However this Italian character also had a good impact on the pub’s ambiente. The Italians I met still would take grappa as their drink of choice, but this did not prevent them from asking for two rounds of pálinkás.
As I was informed later, that the owner’s, Feri’s family also has some Italian connections, because the life partner of his daughter, Adrienn (who also attends sometimes in the bar of Mézes), is Italian by birth. Denis comes from South-Italy, from Calabria, also from the gastronomy. He has also good impressions by the coziness and good vibrations of this pub, not to mention the very (especially to him) friendly prices.
Of course there is a variety of guests coming in: singles, friends, dating couples, cause they can have some privacy in the upper level’s corners of the place.
According to some pictures on the wall, we can say certainly, that it is also an suitable place for parties and birthdays. Interesting fact is, that I was also photographed by the staff with the Italian groups and put on the wall. I just realized this later.
In 2010 they named the place Café Mézes Brasserie. This name came from the new owner, as there were some of honey flavored pálinkás in the house since the new beginning and also because it is an easy catch to the mind. Feri, the owner works and manages the place for 2,5 years now. It was a black and white tiled retro tavern before, called “Soup” bar, as formerly they have served soups here. Later it was named Csarnok(=Hall) pub, after the market hall next to it. It must also have this name when I first time came here to loose my drinking booze in pubs virginity.
Feri can recall even more from the history of the neighborhood. When he used to come here as university students, he remembers meeting regularly some construction workers starting their day with a shot, serving them just outside the Market Hall on crates, and therefor they called this part of the pavement the “crate-pub”.
It’s always easy to find interesting topics in Mézes, wether with the guests or with the staff, and the authentic small local feeling provides a cozy environment, every time you come by.
DRY MATTER CONTENT:
Beers on tap: Staropramen, Borsodi
Pub-food: 3 types of grilled sandvicses, (ropi) salty sticks, chips, peanuts
EXTRA: 6 liter “beer sphere” – you can tap the beer from it yourself even with discount on the price and thanks to the ice cube holder in it, the beer stays cold enough.
Shot-roulette and shots with discount served on a cutting board.
A special layout with many small hideouts for retreat: two lofts, divided together into three separate spaces, TV screens for sport events. There is a separate room downstairs as well, in the back of the pub with table soccer.
Usually nice music is playing in the background on ideally enjoyable volume.
Opening hours: 10:00-12:00PM
Address: 1093 Budapest, Pipa utca 4.