Kert Krawl 3
Seemingly a Budapest phenomenon, the kert is just one item of summer goodness that makes me feel great to live here. "Kert" translates to "Garden" but these drinking establishments are definitely different to the English beer-gardens.
Read moreI think it may have started with the Szimpla kert a few (3 or 4?) years ago. Take a crumbling housing block in the middle of the city (there are still plenty about). Fit out the courtyard with bar, chairs, tables maybe a band.
The open-air pubs are devoid of pretension, overpriced drinks (though careful of the special palinka at Szoda which I got burnt on a couple of weeks ago) and surly staff. Leaving just a pleasant outdoor atmosphere where you can drink, chat and leave without your clothes stinking of stale smoke. They're also very well behaved. When they get permission from the council to set up the kert, noise regulations are strict. There's often a couple of bouncers outside the building telling people to be quiet. It's strange to walk down a street then see two huge guys with the finger at their lips going "Shhh.......".
Something becoming the stuff of legends in my circle is the kert krawl. First of all, the kert ferret has to be let out of its cage to sniff out all the kerts of the season. It's not as easy as it sounds as some kerts aren't advertised and they get their custom via word-of-mouth. Also, as buildings and courtyards get renovated, the resident kerts are turfed out and have to find a new home. Once the kert ferret has found all the good locations, a route is planned and a map drawn up. Then someone has to die.
The first kert krawl was held in memory of the great Marlon Brando. Further kert krawls have carried on the tradition by celebrating the life of other worthy people who have popped their clogs in the recent days. This year we thought we were going to be missing the vital corpse until James Doohan was beamed up for good.
So we had a route, a map, a stiff and plenty of people. The krawl started at a "far-too-early" 7.30pm and ended at a "isn't that daylight" hour of 4am. There were seven places in all. I must admit to switching from beer to ice-tea at one kert but made up for it later with a final goodbye palinka at the last. I think that's what took my Sunday away from me.