MÚZSA Bar at Four Seasons Budapest – Sophisticated Sips and Superior Service
In recent years, the realm of hotel bars has experienced a remarkable metamorphosis, presenting refined bar concepts not only for hotel guests, but also for local discerning drinkers and travellers seeking a heightened experience. Yet, occasionally, a sense of unease may arise in posh hotels – pondering questions like, Is my attire appropriate? Do I truly belong here? Can I simply stroll in? But fear not, as excellent libations and impeccable service are accessible to all and a warm welcome at Múzsa is guaranteed. Join me on a sip to the stunning Art Nouveau cocktail bar of the iconic Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, Múzsa.
I was really looking forward to this visit, as I recently experienced the stunning Bar ISA, Four Season Hotel’s newest gastrobar in Madrid and was highly impressed by the atmosphere and service. Now I find myself here at the Four Seasons Budapest, which is also located in a historic and imposing building – simply impressive!
Gresham Palace is considered one of the most iconic landmarks in Budapest, renowned for its architectural beauty and historical significance. It is recognized as one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Hungary. The palace has become a symbol of luxury and elegance, attracting tourists and visitors from around the world.
Múzsa resides in the stunning art nouveau atrium on the ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. Here is a brief overview of the history: Gresham Palace was built between 1904 and 1906 in the Art Nouveau style by the British company Gresham Life Assurance Society as a luxury apartment building. The palace was designed by Hungarian architect Zsigmond Quittner and British architect József Vágó. The building was named after Sir Thomas Gresham, a sixteenth-century English merchant and financier. Gresham Palace was known for its opulent and luxurious interiors, featuring ornate decorations, grand staircases, stained glass windows, and ironwork. The palace was adorned with sculptures and artworks by prominent Hungarian artists of the time, such as Károly Senyei, Ede Telcs, and Bertalan Lantos. The apartments in Gresham Palace were rented out to wealthy tenants, and the building became a symbol of affluence in Budapest. Over the years, Gresham Palace witnessed several historical events. During World War II, the building suffered damage and was used as a barracks by the Red Army. After the war, it was used as office space and fell into disrepair during the communist era in Hungary. In the late twentieth century, Gresham Palace underwent extensive renovations to restore its original grandeur. In 2001, the palace was acquired by the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and underwent a meticulous restoration process that lasted for four years. Gresham Palace reopened as the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest in 2004.
As we make our way beyond the entrance, let’s turn to the right and discover the inviting bar area. Prepare to be transported to a bygone era of glamour as you approach the exquisite oval Art Deco–style bar counter. Take a seat on one of the cosy chairs and let your worries melt away as you indulge in the timeless charm of the art deco era.
Indulge in the timeless allure of this somewhat different kind of lobby bar – a striking, oval-shaped masterpiece crafted in the captivating Art Deco style. Its eye-catching design is sure to leave indelible memories.
This exquisite lobby bar, nestled in one of the corridors of the lobby area, is designed to entice guests to linger and encourage communicative exchanges. Every aspect of this bar is meticulously crafted with the highest quality and attention to detail. From the carefully curated selection of spirits to the state-of-the-art equipment, from the crystal-clear ice to the bespoke vessels, no expense has been spared in creating an unparalleled experience for guests.
Let’s open the charmingly designed menu. The culinary concept resembles the historical story in the bar’s signature drinks accompanied by Asian-Hungarian inspired bar food.
The internationally-renowned Head Bartender and his team present a carefully crafted selection of cocktails. Ádám Rédli successful stints include Café Royal, The Mayfair and Langham Hotel’s Artesian in London. What sets him apart is his open and entertaining manner and his qualities as a form-fitting host. In his opinion, the most important qualities are precision, consistency and uniqueness, which he successfully implemented at Múzsa.
The menu is a constantly evolving tale of MÚZSA – the Hungarian word for Muse – that weaves a story from her past origins through the Golden Age to the future, combining three eras – past, present and future. The new menu combines colours and flavours and takes you on a colourful journey, brought to life with impressive representations of the drinks. The cocktails are divided into three major eras – Chromatic Dawn, Golden Age and Luminous Horizon.
Step into the era of Chromatic Dawn, where the drinks selection pays homage to the first pigments and ancient colours of nature. Try Carbon, a mix of Scotch Whisky, Lapsang PX Sherry, Toasted Black Sesame topped with Indian Tonic. The aroma profile is described as roasted, rich and complex. As mentioned earlier, the concept goes back to the origins of colours such as carbon used for the first ink drawings in Asia. The concoction is served in a drinking vessel decorated with ink drawings and covered with a homemade chocolate plate. Looked good on paper; in the glass it is well balanced and super tasty on the palate.
Travel to The Golden Age, where artistic innovation shone brightly, bringing colour back to a world painted in grey. Indulge in Mauve, a delightful twist on the classic Pina Colada, featuring Equiano Rum, Muyu Chinotto Nero, Ruby Crème de Coconut, and Pineapple. Múzsa boasts state-of-the-art technology to tantalize both the taste buds and the visual senses of its guests. Along with a discreetly tucked-away rotavap in the in-house lab, the bar also features a cutting-edge printer capable of producing personalized images on your beverage. During my visit, I was delighted to be served a cocktail adorned with an image of a woman indulging in her own drink – a thoughtful and fitting touch to my experience. Not a coincidence as you can expect an attentive service.
Embark on an illuminating voyage to Luminous Horizons, a sensory adventure through the spectrum of visible light. One of my favourites is the Emerald, a dazzling and vibrant shade of green, crafted with a blend of Tequila, Bacanora, Ancho Reyes Verde, Salicornia, Yuzu, Cucumber, and Volcanic Salt, with the option to add a spicy kick of Jalapeño. This green-hued twist on the classic Margarita is a refreshing libation.
Múzsa’s cocktails come in exquisite, handcrafted vessels that complement each drink perfectly, from hand-polished crystal to hand-blown glass shaped like a poppy. The bar also offers private tastings of pálinka, tokaji aszú, and local and international wines in The Tasting Room.
At Múzsa, top-shelf treats await you. Cocktail creations are elegant and refined, playful and at the same time modern and contemporary. Have a closer look at Múzsa’s Menu.
The liquid pleasure continues into the glass and onto the plate. Chef Árpád Győrffy offers an exciting new selection of refined bar dishes. The menu is a fusion of vibrant Asian and Hungarian cuisine. The expertly crafted dishes harmoniously blend inventive Asian flavours with fresh, locally sourced Hungarian ingredients, all served on exquisite, Múzsa-exclusive porcelain. Among the standout dishes is the Peking Duck Gyoza, which is perfectly paired with a delectable dipping sauce that also pairs flawlessly with the edamame on the menu. Additionally, the tuna tartare on crispy rice bread is a must-try. To complement the overall experience, live music plays on the podium stage between tables every weekend from seven in the evening.
What makes a bar better than the best drinking concept? Undoubtedly, it’s the bar team that can make or break a place. It’s the team’s skill and dedication that separates the wheat from the chaff. The team and their service are the essential factors that distinguish the crème de la crème from the rest.
At Múzsa you are in good hands, you will find a high-class mixture of warm welcome paired with impeccable hospitality at star level.
Ádám Rédli’s team excels in attentiveness and empathy. Plus point: At Múzsa you are lucky enough to meet Anett Schurina, one of the few women you find behind the bar counters of the Hungarian bar scene. During my visits, I was able to chat with her, exchange many stories and she took care of me, as befits a visit to a first-class bar. The service is impeccable, and the bar team is happy to help and guide you.
Naturally, education is also a top priority. As previously mentioned, state-of-the-art cocktail tools are readily available here. Additionally, they regularly host masterclasses and invite guest bartenders to share their expertise, fostering a culture of continuous learning and knowledge-sharing within the thriving bar community.
Finally we made it to the end of this long adventure. High hopes fully met.
I was lucky enough to spend a couple of nights at Múzsa and was treated to the bar’s delicacies. In short: a must-visit, this place is making some global noise. Visit Múzsa on Instagram for much more beautiful pictures than I could ever have taken.
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