Siófok, Balaton: a collection of pub genres
Siófok had an entire collection of pub genres. After the first four stops the town had still more to offer. It was a rainy, grey Sunday afternoon. You would never guess,that this has been July. I was about to continue my discovery with real local pubs as long as possible, and only go to the party promenade after the very last decent citizen went to sleep. But till then, I asked some of them what they think about that highlighted walkway of theirs.
My next stop turned out to be a half-way destination between the fancy summer scene and the backstage everyday life.
It was on the second biggest shopping lane of Siófok which was named after a worldwide known Hungarian composer, Imre (“Emmerich”) Kálmán who was born and partly raised in this town. His stunning looking statue can be found in the near Millenium park.
Unlike his famous “big brother”, the Petőfi, the Kálmán Imre promenade didn’t have a direct connection to Lake Balaton’s shore, neither big party places.
I was pleased enough to find this open air bar, even with bar chairs on the pavement after a wide variety of bazaar vendors.
It belonged to the Müller’s hostel (402 stop, 5. Siófok stop). I stopped here for a drink, coffee and even to have a normal Sunday lunch after the recent appetizer of two small pálinkas in Hörpincs.
The boss, Herr Müller may sounds German or Austrian, but he was Hungarian. His friend, the current pop up cook, Peti, also from Hungarian roots, lived indeed in Vienna. His Mediterran chicken was delicious enough, but he was more proud of his hamburger.
He told me, that few minutes ago a family from New York sat on these chairs and they said that it was the burger of their lives. I may be an easy catch, but I got curious enough to return that day. If you are a new to this topic, you better know, that our national common consciousness still preserves the haunting image of the socialist era’s infamous beach hamburgers from frozen low quality beef patty. Peti’s version was delicious, the sauce as well, matching rather the current years of Hungarian gourmet hamburgers and had no connection to the dark mutual past of Lake Balaton and hamburger. In addition he was telling so passionately about the the pub life of Vienna too that he made me motivated to put this city on the Pubtourist 2017 bucket list. Speaking of German speakers: seven guys ordered a round of seven beers and seven palinkas next to me, and after the same with Unicum.
For them this avenue became a bigger party place than for the rest of the shoppers. It was good to camp here for a while on the comfy chairs, accompanied with friendly conversation but I went on, like I always do.
The next stop I spotted close to the Sió canal
and to this once legendary old music club (today more of an after party place).
A big Drink bar label was screaming at me.
Being a “gloomsy sunday”, only three people were sitting on the terrace. An older man was reading newspaper and two friends in their thirties were chatting over some juices. The place was called Clock Café. Inside I found a more classy and sophisticated interior, pure and simple elegance.
There were some clocks as part of the decoration indeed, but far not as many, as in the Budapest pub with the same name.
A 28 years old, blonde, local girl was on duty in the bar. I asked her what she is thinking of Petőfi promenade. She personally didn’t like it. She accepts that it belongs to the town already, but in her opinion is more of a matchmaker when you are around 18. – Siófok is more authentic in the wintertime – she said – then you can really see how the local people are. If she should choose only on of Siófok’s venues to keep, it would Clock, where she works. It existed for 15 years when I was there. For me it was nothing special for the first sight, but I admit that can come handy, when someone is looking for a decent calm and clean spot around.
I was furthermore very interested to hear more opinions from local people about Petőfi promenade. Don’t get me wrong, I am not definitely against it. When I saw it for the first time, I even was impressed and I had a quite good time there once or twice, but for me is very interesting to get a glimpse how residents of an “amphibian” city (<big difference between summer and winter) live together in the tourist season with the overgrowing number of visitors and all the units and phenomenons focusing on them. In the same street I could hear a young girl, more or less 20 years old, complaining to her visiting friend that the downtown of Siófok is this much and over! She was telling her that in summer it is still okay, when the “Promande” is on – this is it about: no superiority, only ages, preferences, point of views.
To be continued…
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