Siófok backstage #2 – The daily pub life of Hungary’s summer capital
The pubs of a Siófok sized Hungarian town are already various like the colors of the rainbow. It’s big enough to find every possible pub genre, but it’s small enough to find only one or two pieces of every type. Of course in this case the overall picture won’t stay untouched by the fact that we are in the biggest party town of the biggest lake in Middle-Europe.
I started to really explore after the first two impressions on the second cloudy day of my stay, avoiding the mainstream mainstreet, Petőfi sétány as long as possible and keeping my focus on the real local pubs, which are also open in the wintertime.
The first pub I’ve encountered was called Lógó Üveg (=hanging bottle).
I didn’t have to wonder too long, where the name came from. The concept made itself very clear for the first sight. It looked like this.
I have already seen this element in small dose for example in Dürer Kert, Budapest, but this amount made it look amazingly cool. Fortunately, the bottles hanging down from the ceiling weren’t the only remarkable feature about it, neither from design perspective, nor from the profile perspective.
Everything looked excellent: wallpaper made of really old sports magazines and other sport pub elements, like badminton rackets on the wall.
Besides that gothic style candles with grained was and so on.
It presents itself as cult pub (kultkocsma). They have several type of cultural programs, but this makes sense rather outside the holiday season. It is easier to attract more people between the four walls, when the golden coast of Lake Balaton cost doesn’t compete. Anyway, there is really a wide range of programs: exhibitions, book presentations, pub quiz, film club, darts competitions, salsa night, talent show. They even had a tribute to Oktoberfest on their own way and they take part of every main occasion in the year: Halloween, ect. They have a constant old school Nintendo (<how cool is that) and some board games for the guest too. It is nice to know that our main Balaton town has such a multi faceted cultural spot. This is a newer wave trend of pubs, that I really support in mind.
It isn’t only a further Budapest imitating ruin pub, it has some retro effect indeed, but on a more elegant and moderate way. The atmosphere shows bit of it, as bit of an English Pub or of a Dutch “brown pubs” either. It is so much a perfect middle ground in every sense, than it can be an appropriate place for a date or for a hanging out with friends. It was used for both, when I’ve been there.
Not to forget to mention: it comes with a great terrace for the summer, welcoming looking with flowers, many school desk looking garden tables, with cool comics pattern surfaces.
They had a good supply from beers and local wines. I recommend to try the German black Köstrizter of the beer tap and the Mr. Irsay of the Podmaniczky winery from the close wine region. I’ve been only sad about not having a decent pub food there. This is common, the weakest link of the Hungarian pubs in the last 50 years.
On the third day everybody else from the team building left earlier. Of course they say the other way around: I was the one who stayed longer for a pub crawl. Who knows? I started on the old main street that day. About “Hörpincs” I’ve already heard in Siófok. The name means more or less “booze!” It is cultic and mysterious even there. It has unpredictable, random opening hours.
This time I could catch it open! Quite different from any other Siófok place before. A real local place and a regular’s pub. Everybody seem to know everybody, even the smallest details from each others life. It is a pub, it wants to be and stay a pub, doesn’t want to look like anything else.
The magnetic bar phenomenon was rising here too. I created that word after my experiences in Illuzió, Budapest. The guest, at least 6-7 stood in a small circle around the bar. Nobody cared about the bigger inner room.
They were discussing the Sunday lunch, the women and the current soccer scores. It looked a bit of a sport pub in the old-fashioned way. When I started to take photos, I got immediately spotted. I promised that there won’t be faces on the photos only team flags and team uniforms.
After this I’ve been invited to a Sunday lunch pálinka. I couldn’t say no. It was delicious and strong enough, came from the region. One of the guests recognized me. He was there beyond the bar of the Petőfi sétány when we with the team building crew made a small cabaret in one of the pubs of Petőfi sétány two nights before. While trying to help down one of the girls from the table, I split a whole pint of beer on a counter and broke the glass. This still was enough for the second round of pálinka that day. Not even one more, because the random open Hörpincs was strictly closing and the bartender took along even one of the guests with him to have a traditional lunch too.
To be continued