We’re a modern bunch here at clovio, we know that times are changing. The days of having to stumble in at nine and toil away at the office until home time are going the way of the dodo; no one can be a productive employee if they feel like slaves to the clock.
That’s why we’re flexible about when and where we work; wherever we lay our laptops, that’s our home. Part of the benefit of being headquartered in Budapest is its booming cafe scene since there’s always a new place that we’re excited to try each week. The only real problem is trying to combat a caffeine addiction when spending so much time at whatever new specialty coffee shop has just opened up down the street.
And so while we typically spend our days sharing our collective knowledge across countless industries, we thought we’d put our exhaustive understanding of Budapest’s coffee shops to some use for a list of our favorite cafes in the city…
Best for Remote Working: Flow
A pretty recent discovery, this one, located quite centrally on the main boulevard running through Pest. It’s a sprawling space with plenty of seating, decent AC, and Wi-Fi that lives up to our (admittedly pretty high) expectations. It’s nice that Flow asks for a final bill when leaving – useful for those days when we slump around a table for hours at a time – and has an interestingly restricted three-choice menu for its coffees: Shot, Brew, or Milk.
Most Intriguing Coffees: Café Frei
This Hungarian chain of coffee shops are dotted all over the country, with numerous outlets in Budapest. Some are bigger than others but we’re a fan of the Cafe Frei by Eiffel Square. It’s not so well suited to getting work done since it’s a little cramped, but it’s perfect for a quick caffeine pitstop on our team building days thanks to its unique coffees inspired by destinations from around the world – ranging from a classic Tuscan ristretto to the outlandish Havana 1958 coconut coffee shake.
Meaning “Black” in Hungarian and alluding to the world’s preferred liquid pick-me-up, Fekete is one of many places we might choose for a working breakfast. The selection is perhaps a little slim and they only serve food until just after midday but if we’re hankering for a fresh omelet or some flaky pastries beside our morning espresso, then this is likely where you’ll find us. It’s a little hidden away from the bustle of the city, too, which is great for when we really need to concentrate.
Healthiest Food Options: Ecocafe
This is a long-standing favorite of ours thanks to the availability of power sockets (important to look out for in a good cafe!), its great coffees and the dog-friendly environment. Ecocafe is close to Flow so a good alternative but smaller so at peak hours grabbing a seat where we’re not worrying about shoulder surfing is a little trickier. However, there’s great quality food here, healthy salads and interesting pastries that aren’t often seen in cafes – and even infused water instead of just plain tap.
Ideal for Team Meetups: Madal
Each of the three locations of Madal offer everything we look for in a cafe to work from: stellar coffee, plenty of space in a bright and quiet environment and fast Wi-Fi. Our favorite branch is the original one on Hollán Ernő Street for its tranquil, Zen-like atmosphere downstairs that comes with a wide variety of seating types: desks, couches, stools, group seating, you name it. It’s a perfect place for our team meetups, too, where we can quietly chat while watching the barista classes underway.
Favorite Coffee Shop Chain: Costa Coffee
For when we’re in need of somewhere reliable, Costa is our go-to chain since we can hide away in a forgotten corner for hours without having to think about buying a second coffee. It has everything you might expect: good if predictable coffee, solid Wi-Fi and the right balance of background activity to help us focus. If we had to pick, we’d recommend the store at the start of Andrássy Boulevard thanks to its views of central Erzsébet Square.
The One on the Buda Side: Steamhouse Cafe
As downtown Pestians, we have to admit that we’re often picking somewhere a bit closer to home when it comes to our choice of coffee shop. However, if we do find ourselves on the Buda side or just fancy a change of scenery, then it’s hard to resist Steamhouse Cafe, an interesting venue inside one of Budapest’s many market halls. Don’t use that as an expectation of its quality though: the coffee here is just as good as any of the others on our list of favorites, with a unique setting that none can beat.
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