If you wait for a big enough wave, it will take you all the way to Balatonfüred’s Blaha Lujza Street; that’s where you’ll find Hello Tourist, the first surf pub of the lakeside town, which provides summertime refreshment in the form of local wines, Hedon beers made in nearby Balatonvilágos, and delectable sandwiches.
Up until now, Balatonfüred was not particularly famous for its nightlife spots (and when you think of Siófok, that might actually be a good thing), but with the fresh launch of Hello Tourist on Blaha Street, things could be looking up for the town’s night scene. Blaha in Füred doesn’t bring to mind the same horrors as its counterpart in Budapest: the street is located in the elegant part of the lower downtown area dating back to Hungary’s Reform Era. This is where Kredenc founder András Dobai opened his new surf pub in an eye-catching historic edifice. We previously covered the run-up to Hello Tourist’s opening here.
Dobai adapted to the new surroundings like a proper chameleon: wearing shorts, a surfing-themed baseball cap, and a cool shirt, he greeted his guests with a huge smile on his face, and insisted on everyone taking a selfie in front of the surfboard prop he brought for the occasion. We could talk about the harmonious flavors of the soft, scone-like pogácsa served as a snack, but the detailed description of the atmosphere will probably give you a better idea of what Hello Tourist is like.
The simple, blue wooden furniture in the back garden of the local Tourinform Office and the Balaton Wine House (accessible from both Blaha Lujza Street and the no-name stairs connecting Blaha Street and Kisfaludy Street) exudes a laid-back vibe, and the theme of natural materials is also reflected on the floor, which is covered with pallet-like planks; it’s no wonder there’s a “No stilettos” sign at the entrance. Dobai also found an ice cream vendor’s bike, which is no more than a decorative object now, but he’ll put it to good use sometime in the future.
There are a couple of tables inside by the trendy counter covered in artificial grass, which can come in handy in the event of rain, while the huge chestnut tree out back could be the pub’s biggest asset in a summer heatwave.
This is a pub of the best possible kind: there’s no Kőbányai on tap, but at least five types of beer made at the Balatonvilágos-based Hedon brewery are available, and you can also try the Czech Republic’s unique Litovel. The wine selection has been put together in cooperation with Rizling Generáció: in addition to various vintages belonging to the BalatonBor brand, the wines are supplied by local wineries like Koczor and Skrabski. The wine cocktails and shots are also worth trying (650 forints), and the daiquiri (1,200 forints) is a must, too. All in all, Hello Tourist sells high-quality tipples in a medium prince range.
“We’re not going to cut ribbons,” Dobai started his opening speech. He admitted that the existence of Hello Tourist is due in huge part to the expansion of Kredenc, but repeatedly stressed that the former is by no means an outdoor extension of the latter. “We want this to be a lot more relaxed and youthful,” he said, adding that the pub is also meant to be “cheaper” after someone made a loud, funny comment from the audience.
“Pretty much everything here is the result of a group effort,” Dobai said, thanking everyone who lent him a helping hand. He mentioned that Hello Tourist is only going to be open during the summer; in winter only Kredenc will serve thirsty visitors coming to Blaha Street. He introduced chef András Kaiser, who previously worked at Morzsa Bistro in Szeged as an expert on food trucks and a pro at whipping up quick and tasty sandwiches. Food is not a big part of Hello Tourist; there’s only going to be a limited selection of street foods to go with the excellent drinks.
Several key figures of the Füred catering scene showed up to listen to the enthusiastic speech, which was met with loud applause, and followed by a chilled evening with lots of good wine.