I believe in the power of books as an object and I find that their presence can have an influence on my mood, even if I am not reading any of them. Carpeted with books and newspaper, Kelet is my favourite place in the Buda side and I have probably already given you a hint of why. Its shelves hold some five thousand volumes, mostly in Hungarian: it’s a social and informal library that makes the atmosphere of this café intellectual, but welcoming — with warm lamps decorated with kaleidoscopic oriental patterns and windows on the most appealing boulevard of the Buda side, Kelet gives me a sense of freedom, while ideas can easily ferment at the sight of the yellow streetcars in the background.
Bártok Béla Boulevard is pretty much the only street on this side of the Danube boasting the popularity of the mainstream districts of Pest and it’s only a few minutes of metro or tram away from them. I host a tour that starts nearby, therefore I am often in this area and I like to arrive earlier to stop at Kelet and sip a coffee, possibly sitting outside, when the weather allows it.
Downstairs Kelet is buzzy and busy, while upstairs there are usually designers and digital nomads working. In the summer I like to try the different home-made ice teas they have, flavoured with real fruit and not with sugar.