If you have no idea where to go for a concert in town, A 38 is your best bet. And if you actually believe Lonely Planet rankings, made in 2012, it’s #1 in the world!
A 38 belongs to those kind of places whose current use totally drifted from their initial one. The ship which is now a restaurant-café-concert venue, was used during the Soviet times to ship bricks from Ukraine to Hungary. Its original name, Artemoszk 38, got shortened to A 38. But you’re more likely to hear the Budapest crow saying ‘let’s meet on the boat’ (hajó).
A 38 was renovated and re-launched in 2003 to become one of Budapest busiest nightspots, renovated again in 2014 and hosts very different kinds of concerts (one everyday or almost, usually not on Sundays-Mondays).
A 38’s wide musical spectrum goes from the jazz to the electronic scene, it has rock and world music concerts quite often, as well as crazy Balkan-style bands. It features world famous bands but also lower-key ones. It’s a casual, quite alternative and trendy place at the same time.
The hall in the boat is small enough to feel very close to the musicians. And it’s a great great feeling, believe me (= my favorite stage in the city!). The place is pretty full most of the times and there’s nowhere to sit. The concerts start towards 20:00 or 21:00, the parties kick off at 23:00 usually.