Get into the Office; Hivatal Café

‘Getting into the office’ is a phrase people usually dislike but it gains a new definition if you enter Office Café, Hivatal Kávézó at Madách Square. It is almost a challenge to find a place in downtown Budapest where you can feel yourself as an insider at the very first moment. After a short time, venues often become the territory of specific cliques among young Budapesters but here – in the Office – you will always be welcomed and friendly hosted.

Hivatal Kávézó is hidden into the shadows of tall panels and office houses, but the luminous blue letters above the windows catch the attention of the visitor. The enormous glasses provide a great insight into the venue where one of the friendy staff greets you with a buddy-like smile. Since this time I am here with a bicycle, I can hesitate among the terraces of TELEP, Godot or Hivatal but again the thought of the popular “Kerti-limonádé” or ‘Garden-limonade” convinces me to occupy a table outside the Office.

Entering the anteroom-size ground-floor, a hand-painted bar-counter awaits me, which was different last time, but here it goes like this; the owners are waiters at the second place but creative men at the first. The ceiling is decorated with postcards and messages but the quantity of them is perfectly balanced, it’s not too much, it’s not unnatural. While the coffee-percolator is working with my daily caffeine portion, I run upstairs to check my favorite table. Strip floor and comfortable wall-sofas fill the gallery; and of course the little wooden tables which are big enough to place your laptops on but nothing else. On the left wall – apart from the bookshelves – you can observe the photographs of the owners, who are friends in life and peers in several Budapest venues. The place is definitely intimate.

I go downstairs since my coffee is ready and happily recognize the text written on the window: “Every coffee costs 150 HUF before 11 o’clock”, so I guess this is the process of a place becoming one of your favorites. However it’s weekday, Madách Square is still quiet and the free WIFI ensures that you can actually work in the Office, but of course holding a Kerti limonádé full of cold fruits will make it different. Hivatal’s every little detail makes you feel homely; the coffee is delicious, it’s not thick with milk foam and well, it’s still a surprise in Hungary if you get a little glass of water next to it. The interior design is similar to the general picture of a living- or reading-room and the workers’ kindness functions as an indispensable device to make the whole work.

A tall shelf-tower stuffed with folders and documents indicates the place’s officeness but the folders’ stickers are basically the prices of the drinks they serve. You can also eat here a few sandwiches made by the guys or you can order a typical beer-escort, a “Nógrádi ropogós”or salty sticks in other words. The essential thing is that you’re going to pay maximum one thousand Hungarian forints and no more. If you add together these completely official data, I strongly advice you to experience ‘being in an office’ from a new perspective!

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