Poets realised long ago that wine and art go together, and they heaped praised on the heavenly grape juice time and again. In VinoPiano Wine Bar you can experience how well wine blends in with cultural delights, with an exclusive choice of regional Hungarian wines and a bar, gallery, art workshop and small art stage all in one. Something for all the senses, then.
When you enter the VinoPiano Wine Bar at District XI’s Bartók Béla út 1 nowadays, you cannot be sure if you have arrived in a gallery or a wine bar. On our visit, the former is the dominant impression in the spacious bar, since art prevails over cosiness in both floors of VinoPiano. However, the furniture should arrive within a few days, Balázs Vajas, the young owner and manager, assures us.
The bar, which used to reside on the Pest side, moved to its new home only very recently but it’s already visible that we can expect a real love of detail from the coming furnishing. The counter is already set up, a centrepiece that has been designed from an old piano by Vajas himself. The piano keys do not strike any strings any more, since these were removed during the conversion and the empty space now functions as a small bookshelf. Vajas collects mostly wine and art books but also Hungarian fairytale books.
Design and art are especially important for him, after he studied gastronomy in Hungary and then interior design in Great Britain. Besides having constantly changing expositions on the walls, the bar also cooperates with designers.
László Bergovecz, whose ecological and practical design was praised by weekly magazine Figyelő, exhibits lamps and shelves in the shop window of the bar. The young designer will plan the interior of the bar as well. Just like Vajas, he has just returned to the Hungarian homeland following several years of education abroad.
Another curiosity is that Dániel László has set up his artist’s workshop on the second floor. Having so much creativity in one place, VinoPiano Wine Bar seems to be the perfect place for those who are looking for artistic inspiration. However, music is just as important for Vajas as art.
Jazz and classical music lovers might enjoy an evening full of live music and delightful wines every Thursday. This is where the generous space comes in handy because there is room for both the musicians and a dance floor. Theatre is not forgotten, with an American, Jay Miller, performing a pantomime show for children every Sunday.
Still, Vajas’ real passion is wine and he is proud of his carefully picked selection. He only offers regional Hungarian wines, everything from Vilány to Tokaj. The finalisation of the selection took a full six months. Vajas travelled all over the country to find out for himself about the various small wineries and their processes.
The average diner probably will not be familiar with the names on the wine list. Vajas waived the big names in favour of exclusivity. Most of the wines cannot be bought elsewhere in Budapest. The young wine lover also dares to break the taboos. For instance, he sells Szekszárdi Bikavér in two-litre plastic bottles beside an expensive bottle of Király Furmint ’12. As Vajas explains, the producer of this hand-made and surprisingly decent red wants his wine to speak for itself and not through well-designed labels and expensive bottles.
Besides wine and a selection of different coffees and teas, VinoPiano Wine Bar offers regional products. In the shop next to the bar are found organic juices, syrups and marmalades. An interesting eye-catcher is the wine marmalade from the Villány wine region that comes in a pretty package. The kitchen of VinoPiano is also still in the making, with some biological cheeses and fancy sandwich creations on the way.
Not everything is in place yet but this is a lively and inspiring bar. If Vajas is on hand to share his stories and ideas, you will surely be caught up for more than one glass of wine.