If you are walking up Budapest’s narrow Dob street, exiting the traditionally Jewish District, heading towards the grand Ring Road with its cheap bars and expensive hotels, you will pass a large building with an expansive entrance, and perhaps a young lady who is trying to tempt you into – of all things – a Cuban restaurant. You’d do well to submit to her recommendation, but, instead of making your way to the eatery, which only takes up a small portion of the building, take a tour through the Fészek Klub, or the ‘Nest’, one of Budapest’s most famous artists’ clubs.
Built in 1902, the club's mandate was to act as a place where the practitioners of painting, writing, sculpture, theater, and music could join to show work, perform, and of course eat, drink and cavort. The Nest houses multiple gallery spaces, a gorgeous courtyard, performance spaces, and a basement cabaret and bar. Among the internationally famous artists who frequented the Nest were Sándor Bródy, Ödön Lechner, Ferenc Molnár, and János Vaszary. The club’s golden age came early, before the building was damaged during World War II (subsequently repaired at the expense of its members), and then nationalized by the ruling Socialist government, thus losing its edge as an exclusive hideout for prominent artists. These days, it is privately held, and struggles to maintain its rooms as gallery and performance spaces, though according to its site, it still hosts over 1000 cultural events a year, drawing over 120,000 visitors. In their own words: “Fészek, aged more than 112 years, is still a host theatre for all the arts and a center for general education, unique in Hungary as well as in the world, keeping the cultural heritage alive and improving it further.”
The bright side to the club’s financial troubles is that so many of the old decorations have not been replaced, but instead have been preserved, turning the Nest Club into something of a time capsule. As you can see from the pictures below, the interiors invite visions of spy films and international Cold War thrillers. It’s one of Budapest’s unheralded gems, in terms of being an active cultural space and film location. And there are even a number of artists who still frequent the Nest Club, even though these days they may be dining on Cuban cuisine and Mojitos.
All photos via the Fészek Klub website.
Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.