Ebihal (=Tadpole): Pub-Sanctuary on water, next to Budapest
(390. stop, 1st. Budakalász stop – after one visit)
We were investigating a
n urban small town legend this time. I heard, there was a little tavern on a ferry somewhere, just outside Budapest, that is still in operation. When the ferryman has business on the other shore of the river, you are basically transported too, while sitting with your beer in your hand back and forth until the vehicle is on duty. Would you be disappointed, if you would find out in person that this is legend is a fake? I took the time to go there, just to learn it’s not true. Still I was not disappointed! On the contrary!
While I have to admit I got this information from a friend of mine, who, when being drunk is famous for getting a little confused by the public transportation vehicle’s function and direction, but, I also have to admit, it might have been me, who misunderstood something. (So much for the „legendaryness” of the place) Even though I did not think to question the story, because the idea was so peculiar, it was irresistibly tempting. Rita and I made us on our way to this place, after visiting Szarvas another time, to see this ferry with our own eyes at the Lupa Island in Budakalász, right next to Budapest.
We travelled with the “Szentendrei HÉV” (the suburban train H5) until the Budakalász Lenfonó stop. As Pubtourist, this was the first time I set foot in Budakalász. Luckily Rita had a superb tourist guide resorts based on her past with this town, however she did not know our main destination more than I did. The town, with a population of approximately 10.000 people, has a completely different atmosphere than Budapest, despite that at more spots they are physically connected. You can get a glimpse of this mood at Roman shore and Pünkösdfürdő, at some Budapest stops on H5 line before our destination. Here you can feel the water’s presence in the air immediately. On a beautiful summer day you can actually breathe in the real „vacation at the countryside” type of air, right away when you get off the suburban train.
The Danube is quiet far on foot, Google Maps calculated around 28 minutes of walk to the shore. From my previous experiences I know, that usually I walk two times faster, then the calculation estimates, but this really took around 20 minutes. But don’t rush it! It’s a nice walk on the József Attila Street and Lupaszigeti road to the Lupa Island.
The direct route to the ferry does not go by any other pubs or bars, but since our visit I learned, that if we would have taken another route, a significantly longer one, we would have found some. For the first Budakalász occasion, it is actually more advisable to concentrate on Ebihal only. We took a break at Lake Omszk, and also ate a good soup at strongly Western movie look-alike Country Tanya.
You should not eat too much before reaching Ebihal, as it also has some good bites to offer. Soon we found the sanctuary we were looking for and it exceeded all of our expectations.
When we saw it, we already started to feel unsure this huge complex could actually really move on the water, but we left this question unanswered at that point. We were more concentrating on the question how you could feel so far from the capital, while still being so close to it, but this Ebihal manages it.
Both of us could not stop gasping on the pier while walking up to the place, we were spontaneously speechless and devoted to the moment. After waking up from this daydream, we summarized our thoughts on the little private island that has come into existence here. According to Rita, it looked like a swimming „Üvertigris” *(a cultic food truck from a Hungarian comedy with the same title – go watch it!)
My first thought was, that it exactly gives you the feeling like Louies bar in the old Disney cartoon series, TaleSpin, while I was also thinking that I have only seen this type of “beauty” in cartoons so far.
Already with the combination of the colors, the blue iron bars, the white-blue striped cushions on the seats and the red checked tablecloths, it made us feel, all guests turn into seadogs in a minute. This foggy, old still life is framed by the steamy breath of the squeaking dehumidifier. The atmosphere was gorgeous, also the place was filled quiet well on this July Saturday afternoon we came in.
The venue contains a determinant guest area, a smaller room at the bar and an outside terrace, which is located on another pier directly.
The room with the bar in it is already very intimately cozy with the sofa covered with blankets, as if we would have accidently entered an employee’s sleeping cubicle, you almost have the involuntary urge to say, “Oh, I am terribly sorry!” and get out immediately. But this is only the fantastic immediate style of Ebihal between hosts and guests. Just like the lady in the guest area, who is chopping the onions for the “fatty bread”
I love these little moments and details! I am literally feel more addressed by these type of acts, than the usual “How are you guys?” greetings. They offer a lot of genius foods characteristic to Hungarian cuisine, like strudel of the house, “pogácsa” (salty round pastry, usually covered with grated cheese), “paprikás krumpli” (Hungarian Paprika Potatoes with slices of sausages or würstel), fried Frankfurter, debreceni sausages and other snacks. (I don’t swear that they serve all of these every day!)
To be able to feed the ducks in the water directly from the bar is enormous bonus feature. The ducks are already experienced players, they are circling around the ferry all the time to catch some rebounds. At few other places you should be impressed to see a narrow aquarium pushed into the wall, filled with fishes, swimming 2D, with suicidal thoughts in their heads. Ebihal on the contrary has rich fauna to offer: ducks, dogs and mosquitoes.
– Uncl’ János, please chase away the mosquitoes from us!
– Copy that! the last mosquito leaves at 9:17PM
(based on true story)
Uncl’ János is the manager here, but his dog, Boni sometimes acts as if he would the boss. He patrols around with endless pride and checks out all entities coming in. This just makes you feel even more welcome.
Other dogs sometimes come in and shake the water from their fur right next to you, this also makes you feel so welcome!
Both people and animals come from two directions to Ebihal, from the water and from the land as well: from Budakalász and the Lupa Island using the ferry. At the end of the day the ferry is really part of the place, even if it is not the bar itself, but when the ferry arrives, you can feel it for sure, becauses it clashes into the pier and a shakes the bar, sometimes a little harder and sometimes a little less harder.
It is so funny when this happens, especially when you are sitting in the swing bed on the other side of the pier and the ferry crashes into the pier causing your perfectly driven rhythm to turn into a fairground enjoyment. From the swing bed you actually have a very nice view to the Lupa Island and its beach houses, so considering all it’s definitely worth a try.
It is an eternal opportunity for the guests to travel with the ferry to the Island and later back, and you even can have a drink in Ebihal before and after.
And there is more: for example a little snug right at the shore, where you can take your drink and prepare your own food at, or inside the bar random ornaments made by one of the guests from driftwood out of the water.
It’s just impossible to tell all the tales of this place, I also don’t see why I should take the fun out of the rest, you should go and see it with your own eyes. It is a breathtaking scene! –Ebihal is so far one of the most significant adventure I had on my continuous pub crawl. IT’S A MUST SEE FOR EVERYONE! It is open every day of the year since 14 years already. I hope I make it to their 28. birthday as well. I also hope, that even if the environment of Ebihal continues to develope drastically, this place will still have the same atmosphere it offers so kindly to all incomers now.
Ebihal’s offers of the house:
There is a TV, sport event broadcasts, sometimes concerts on the shore or on the pier, mostly blues genre ones.
Beers from the tap: Ászok, Dreher, HB
Address: 2011, Budakalász, Duna sétány
Opening hours: 8:00-23:00
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ebihalbufe/?fref=ts