There’s this friend of mine who doesn’t live in Budapest anymore, but always wants to meet on the Buda side whenever he visits. And then there’s me, an Italian who has always lived in Pest since she first landed in the Hungarian capital. The story of an average expat: Pest is Budapest, Buda is hills. When I first went to Kobuci, probably the nicest beer and music garden outside Pest (where my love is Kertem), it was with that dear friend, for a concert of a local band. I was struck by how many Hungarians were hanging out there and it seemed that I had suddenly found the answer to the questions about where to find locals in summertime.
It’s not even Buda, to be precise — it’s Óbuda, the third town that makes up Budapest, where the Roman empire had its ancient city, Aquincum. Kobuci is hidden in the courtyard of a palace, the Zichy Castle, which belongs to one of the most prestigious families of the Hungarian aristocracy. Focusing on folk music and food stalls with local beer, its mission is to recreate in the capital the atmosphere of a countryside summer festival called “Valley of Arts”.
Since that first time, I have been back to Kobuci with visitors who wanted to avoid the mainstream areas of Budapest and enjoy a night of music under the stars. They make great use of the Baroque park of the charming Zichy Castle, a mansion that dates back to 1746 and embellishes Óbuda’s main square.