Budapest Bar Scam

End of last week I was searching a bit online and stumbled upon an article or a review about the Bar Galaxia in Budapest. So far so good but the review was more than bad and reported about a typical Budapest Bar Scam around Vaci utca in Budapest.

Typical is that 2 good looking, young girls pretending to be students chat up some tourists on Vaci út. They pretend to not know any bars around but of course they know exactly where they are going. The bars you go to are super expensive and you will not go out there under 25.000 HUF per person for a few drinks. A good point to start with is the below collection of bars to avoid:

  • Diamond Club
    Budapest II district, Bimbó út 3.
  • Eden Night Club
    Budapest VI district, Andrássy út. 54.
  • Galaxia étterem, bár
    Budapest V district, Bécsi utca 3.
  • La Dolce Vita
    Budapest V district, Október 6. utca 8.
  • Mercy Club and Lounge
    Budapest VII district, Dohány utca 88.
  • Nirvana Night Club
    Budapest V district, Szent István krt.13.

  • Pigalle Night Club
    Budapest VIII district, Kiss József utca 1-3.

  • Városközpont (accessible by outside elevator)
    Budapest V district, Váci utca 16.

  • A bar simply called PUB
    on Vaci utca

These are the bars to avoid in Budapest according to the embassy of the United States of America. Of course there are more bars like this but that is a good start. If you search on Google for Bar Galaxia in Budapest you will find tons of articles about the scam. Here are some articles and forum posts I found which perfectly describe the scheme of the girls and and bars.

Forum post at Topix.com about Swindle in Budapest – Click

Article about Budapest bar Scam at johnnyjet.com – Click

List of bars/restaurants to avoid by the US Embassy – Click

And I also collected a list of especially table dance / strip bars in Budapest to avoid – Click

If you need reliable bars in Budapest check out my list of reviewed bars in Budapest where you can go to. If you want to go to a nightclub in Budapest please select one of the trusted. The most trusted and famous nightclub in Budapest among tourists is for sure the Marilyns night club at Baross utca. So you can go there, enjoy yourself but have a transparent pricing scheme.

So please, if you are up to catching girls here in Budapest go through the city with open eyes, read every menu before you order and don’t let them chat you up on tourist centers like Vaci street because there you for sure get ripped off. If you need recommendations or have any experience with Budapest Bar Scam please leave a comment or drop me a line by email.

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BudapestAgent

I have created BudapestAgent.com in 2005 as a diary to collect my experience about Budapest. Over the time I have visited nearly 100 Restaurants, 50+ Clubs, 50+ Bars and Cafés and many other places which I have written my experience about.

27 Comments

  • Reply
    patrick
    December 18, 2008

    great feeds. i am here in nyireghaza and i would like to move to western hungary so i can get a job in budapest ot austria. do you have any tips on housing and jobs in austria and western hungary…..thanks
    patrick

  • Reply
    Parcq
    January 9, 2009

    Was in Budapest last week for five days with 2 good friends. Fantastic holiday, great Szilvester-party, beautiful city!

    Everything perfect until -you can guess- the last evening of our stay. We just wanted to have a nice, calm evening because we had to catch our plane very early the next morning. One friend (the lucky one) was too tired and went to the hotel very early (8pm). Me and the other one just wanted to drink a few beers for two or three hours in no matter which bar…

    So we were walking on Vaci Ut ‘searching’ when two really good looking students from Debrecen (Eva and Suzy) asked us to join them for a drink. Ideal!! We really didn’t hesitate much. They were friendly, intelligent, beautiful, but nothing too much. The girls we like…

    They were interested, asked about our country, our jobs,… So while talking they brought us -apparently by accident- to the ‘world-famous’ Bar Galaxia. In the elevator they asked for our horoscope, that kind of shit!, but on the moment we liked it and didn’t have any suspicion. The brown one giving her attention totallyg to me, the blonde one to my friend (like written in their script).

    We entered the bar and everything looked quite normal (only strange that one man was sitting at a table at the entrance, just doing nothing, I was just thinking it was the most useless job in the world, but hey who cares, I was in Hungary…).

    We chose a table. Then I immediately asked for the toilet, I really needed to go. When I came back 2 minutes later, it was the first time I had to think further (but I didn’t): the whole table was FULL of drinks. FULL!! Palenkas, champagne, beer and wodka-Burns,…. First I was shocked and said to my friend in Dutch: ‘what the hell you think you’re doing, we have to catch a plane tomorrow’. He said: ‘It wasn’t me, they just said some Hungarian words to the waitress and see what happened now!!’. We felt strange…

    But then 5 seconds later the two girls smiled at us, took their glasses and friendly asked us to drink the palenkas and we thought: ‘Well, why not, I’m not in Budapest everyday. And those 2 girls just want to enjoy their last moments here.’ Not one moment we were thinking about a pricelist or a menu-card.

    We drank in a good tempo, had some nice chit-chat and we even started to like the girls. Mine was a student biology and she really knew a lot about it. She even knew Belgian music-groups, Belgian writers, Belgian beers,… I couldn’t imagine to have met a smarter girl. We had some more palenkas, burns, champagne and beers,… And another round… The girls got drunk (we also a little bit), another round, we even danced with them (we never dance!!), another round (Unicum!) and another one! It was great!

    But then time was there: 12pm and we had to get up at 5am. So we very friendly thanked the girls for the evening and asked the check (no suspicion at all!). I got the check first and there it was: 378.000 Forint!! Thinking for 10 seconds (those palenkas) and then realising that it was more then 1500€…

    Now the moment where many people won’t follow us anymore: other people would immediately freak out seeing that check. We didn’t. We found it was not cheap, but we just paid it (ATM in the corner)with a smile on our head, without any problems, not even thinking about asking the girls to pay something (I always knew we haven’t any notice about money). Never happened to those girls before, I guess. We even kissed them goodbye on -oh irony-Vaci Ut and went happily to our hotel…

    It was only next day on the plane (no headache!! unbelievable) I started thinking that this wasn’t so normal at all! These prices!! And why were these fantastic girls so easy, never happened to me…

    When I came home I got on the internet and started reading exaxtly the same stories about “2 girls on Vaci Ut”. Everything came together, it was a scam! Called my friend and at first he really couldn’t believe it, not those 2 lovely girls, impossible!! But sadly true…

    Like someone said allready: afterwards it is all so obvious, but on the moment it all made sense…

    I have to admit: what a pickpocket does in 2 seconds, do these girls in 3-4 hours. They really make work of it, maybe we even have to feel a little bit of appreciation for that. It’s the people who they’re working for that are the f****** bastards. They use these beautiful girls from the Hungarian countryside to earn money like shit. In jail with them!

    But in the end we can just laugh with our story. We learnt a good lesson (never trust lovely, innocent Hungarian girls :) and we only lost a bit of money.

    And when we ever make a movie, we already know 2 perfect actresses.

  • Reply
    Spotty
    January 17, 2009

    Wow, I feel some relief in a sense that it wasnt just me scammed. Reading this, it hits home how repriducible the scam is.

    I was in Budapest on business, looking for something to eat and maybe a beer the night before a meeting. I was approached by two girls who claimed to be Croatian. They had itailanesque accents so that part was believable. I decided to join them, being friendly and in a foreign city. Business can be lonely and its nice to meet new people. And just as before… theyre from Zagreb, students, well spoken. I had no idea it was a scam until the bill arrived……they took me to Városközpont (accessible by outside elevator). Then I started to realise when I asked them for a contribution… and what do you know they only have the equivalent of £10. The bill came to ~£310 for a snack and two rounds of drinks.

    I actually considered doing a runner but the buzzer by the door and the elevator would have made it impossible. The staff were pressing me for payment so hard I didnt have a lot of breathing space to think. The girls had given me their email addresses (I emailed when in the bar on my Bberry, this took them back a little, I guess they were expecting an immediate “undeliveable”, unfortunately it took about 12 hours. They also told me where they were staying… they were going to “bring me money the next day”. Which of course never happend. When I got back to my hotel and had some time to think, I called their hotel and the receptionist had never heard of them…. surprise, surprise.

    I dont know what I would have done differently other than being a little more diligent and checking the menu for the prices. But Id been in Budapest for all of 10 minutes and was a little tired.

    All I can do is to put it down to experience and say at least it wasnt $1500.. but I could do without it with the crunch!

  • Reply
    Erwin
    February 1, 2010

    Same thing happen to me, while I was walking on Vaci Ut two Croatian girls with Italian accent approached me asking for a street, I didn’t knew and they said they were on vacations and looking for a place to have drinks, if i want to join them, we walk few blocks to the Latin Bar with access thru elevator, we have few deinks and chat for 2 hrs, they were great actress, asking where are the toilets, never been in Budapest, etc, etc. When the bill came it was 215,000 Forint (1,100 usd) for 3 rounds of drinks, the waitress bring me the cheque and asked how I would like to pay, I told her by credit card and she said they dont accept it, but I can withdrow money from the ATM beside, then I saw the amount and need to take money from 3 different cards to get the total bill. I was confused with the exchange rate and realize that it was very expensive and asked the girls for the prices, they said they didn’t knew as there were theirs first time there… My vacation trip got ruined with this fraud and left me a very bad taste of Budapest

  • Reply
    NemMagyar
    February 16, 2010

    The moral of the story?? Beware of beautiful girls in Hungary. LOL

  • Reply
    Capn Courageous
    March 11, 2010

    Scam clearly a big success; it’s alive and well to this day. I have been hit on by female duos three times in my last two nights here in Budapest, but fortunately I was suspicious the first time (I always am about “instant friends” when I travel). Just expect it in the big shopping area in Pest. If a woman speaks to you, pretend you did not hear them and keep walking; guaranteed to work. Find a few mellow joints on your own during the day, outside the heavy tourist spots, and make those your “local faves” to return to time and time again afterward. Not to be a chauvinist, but obviously under these prevailing conditions you should definitely meet women on your terms, not the other way around. There’s a beautiful Budapest here worth seeing–and even risking getting drunk in–so be smart about finding your points of debauchery and then enjoy!

  • Reply
    Nikos
    March 26, 2010

    The same happened to me yesterday…the 2 croatian girls..drinks ..final bill 300 euro..pressing and pressing and no space for escaping..i also had to catch my later flight as i was a few hours in airport and decided to do a walk in budapest..one of the WORST expreriences in my life. i really felt in danger.!
    dont know if the local police or goverment is doing something about this. (and yes the MAIN responsible is me..)

  • Reply
    Coolski
    May 14, 2010

    The same 2 broads approach me and my pal last night, Sophia the blonde one did the horoscope shit and took us to the shit hole bar via the lift whilst asking moody questions. I smelt a rat (and im not talking about the 2 croations) as my mate sat down so decided to head to the toilet to do a reki. The rat started smelling pretty strong so i made the executive decision to do the offski. Signalled to my pal to which the girls said you cant go we have ordered a round of palenka’s. I said dont worry girls ive canceled them (had i fuck) then bowled out saying the maxwell line of, fuck about.

  • Reply
    Sir
    September 27, 2010

    Wow, this is still going on! Happened to me back in ’97.

    http://www.zooass.com/newsletters/newsletter15.html#story

  • Reply
    spender
    July 25, 2011

    Never trust taxi drivers, they drive you to scams stripclubs and before you know you end up paying 22000 for 2 heiniken, and ladies drink where off course champagne and if we havent asked for price it costs 79000, we tryed many strip clubs and did not have a good time, nice girls but they where quite intense for only the champagne and nagging all the time to by show and champagne, i will never set my foot in a strip club in Budapest ever agin.

    When i spend good money in strip clubs “and belive me i can” i will have right to make my one choises what i want, and feel good, and not all the time being afraid for paying for nothing, so sorry Budapest strip clubs YOU LOOSE!!

  • Reply
    Stupid Guy
    November 23, 2011

    Comment #29
    Nov 23, ’11 @ 20:57
    Stupid guy:
    I had the same experience yesterday with 2 gils saying they
    where Italian. I feel so stupid now… They where so nice and I
    was so tired … I didn’t wanted any sexual from them and told
    really a lot of times that I wanted to go home. They said we
    could do one drink…
    And then it was nice and they where telling about their work as
    gym teacher and the other one as secretary there. I was totaly
    irritated by their lack of intelligence, but never thought they
    where tricking me. Then when I really wanted to go, they
    wanted just one dance, Nothing to intimite so I didn’t saw
    anything wrong in this…. And we keep getting a Hungarian
    Schnaps and whine… And then I really wanted to go and got a
    bill of almost 200.000 Florints… At first I just accepted it, took
    my loss and was for some reasson not thinking.So I went to
    the ATM under her the oh so nice guidance of our waitress…
    Se explained the 200k with that we drunk really expensive
    champagne…. And in fact in theory she was right.
    But then before the coffee I went to the toilet and when I came
    back they had a coffee with something next to it… and it
    seemed later to be a quadriple Remy Martain XO…. So this
    came down to another 100k… This was the point where I only
    thought the bar was screwing me over and I said so.. “You are
    screwing me over” and she replied with that this is no way to
    talk to a lady…. Then I asked for the boss and I got pointed to
    some curly haired girl which was a little fat and she explained
    that I really ordered it and then touched a really big guy saying
    it was her boyfriend…. Then I got scared, so I payed half and
    then refused to pay more and told her that I’ll come back the
    other day. The girls than assumably payed something, but I
    don’t really believe so….
    Then when I was walking them home they walked without any
    doubt to a metrostation and asked for some money for the
    metro, because she gave all her money…. And stupid as I
    was… I even gave it!
    Only when walking back to my hotel, 1000 Euro down the
    drain, I realised that they had to be in the scam…
    Dissapointed as I was in the world I just walked back to my
    hotel… wishing all kinds of bad stuff to these people. When I
    googled this today I saw really a lot of hits and was totaly
    amazed.
    I want to get to the bottom of this, but I’m not sure yet how. I’m
    also not so sure how deeply they are tight in the underworld.
    And I do value my life. If any body has tips to get them, please
    let me know – I’ll fly back

  • Reply
    Nick
    December 28, 2011

    O M G

    Well, it happened to me just few hours ago and reading what you guys had gone through I must say I was extremely lucky. Near hard Rock cafe I was approached by two girls, one blond and other brunette. Brunette was really cute though. They were searching for some street and we chatted for a while. They said that they just want to have some drink or something to eat and invited me as well. Sure, why not, having a drink with two nice girls is better that walking alone.
    Along the way they asked me all sorts of questions like where do I stay, did I come by car (and I did so they asked where is it???). I just gave them some bullshit info because I felt those questions aren’t really necessary. Little that I knew they are collecting info just in case.
    We came to the place accessible by outside elevator (Varoskozpont, Vaci street 16) and we laughed about 2 girls and a guy not being able to start the elevator. They seemed like tourists so nothing suspicious there.
    We came to the bar at the top of the building and inside was really empty (I never saw these people from the elevator) so we sat down at the table next to the bar. They asked all sorts of questions, talked about various shit and waitress came. They asked me if I want some sort of special wine which I refused. They insisted but I ordered vodka. They got palinka, tonic water and red bulls each. The atmosphere was sorta cheesy and I asked about live music. Shortly after, a woman in her fifties came to a “stage” and started singing some cheesy Rick Astley songs from eighties. It looked and sounded like the cheapest synthesizer from 1985. in combo with karaoke if you know what I mean. It was so funny to me that I even recorded it with my phone camera.
    I told girls that we should go to another place and they never objected, saying that it is their first time here and they thought this place is much better. The waitress came with a 40.000F bill (something like 135 EUR) for a round of drinks.
    I immediately knew what is happening and my brain was working 300%. There were no bodyguards when we came. It is still early (9:30PM). I see no gorillas around but I knew things can go very bad. I stood up, put my jacket on, took my phone out and promptly dialed 112 (general emergency line). While dialing I said the bill is too much and that I had only 5000F (true). And no cards with me. The girls murmured something like you pay 18000 and we will pay the rest so I said again 5000 is all I have. The lady on 112 answered and I told her immediately that I am being a victim of the scam, described the place and then took the menu and told her the neme of the place, street and number. She told me to hold which I did. I was ready to move and as I got away from the table I just started walking towards the exit. I was really scared and expected gorillas to jump on me every second. I pretended to speak to the police officer while waiting for 112 lady to give me an update. I was afraid to look back. Just before the exit to the terrace I spotted a fat old lady sitting at the table at the entrance, just sitting, doing nothing. I went out as 112 lady said the police is coming soon. I asked her to hold on for a minute.
    As I approached the lift I expected the button to call it is deactivated but the elevator came and I entered it. I was still not relieved because I expected thugs as the door opens on the street. Nothing. Nobody was there. So I just continued walking and walked together in crowds of people until I felt safe.
    This was horrible experience and I really felt so stupid. When I got to my hotel I googled bar scam in Budapest and found this and couple of other pages with exactly the same stories.
    Yes I was lucky, it costed me only 5000F, which is more-less the actual cost of those drinks.
    Now I will be more cautious but I wish I informed myself beforehand. Common sense is all you need to employ but these girls played it almost perfectly.

    • Reply
      Dexter
      January 2, 2012

      I’m not going to bother to type out the entire story, because it’s almost EXACTLY the same as the story above! I think the girls were driving a smaller blue car. They were pushy, said they were from an outlying town, wanted directions, etc etc. I turned them down, they asked what language I spoke, wanted to go out for a drink, I turned them down twice and finally they agreed and walked away.

  • Reply
    stanley
    August 11, 2013

    we went to budapest for the formula 1 race. The night before we were walking in the Vaci street when an old lady and a young cute girl approach us asking for a cigarette. We offer them one and they were asking what are doing tonight. Nothing special than visiting the town. Why dont we go in a bar proposed the old lady (about 50 years old).
    I was warned several times about scammers, but how can we imagine such old lady and the young one can be scammers? They lied that they came in Buda for a congress of Make up…

    They take us the Ice Cube Bar (not the real one…),15 meter from Burger King and we start to have a drink. Feeling that it was a trap i asked for the bill for the 1st round. The waitress just said, dont worry you pay only you finished….The minutes spent and the ladies ordered more and more…Finally we fade up and ask for the bill…which was 225 000 HUF. We havent that cash..and hopefully…there were a cash machine inside this bar, what a coincidence…We were upset and ask the ladies to go out, but being drunk (us and ladies as well) ladies order a last coffee that we cannot refuse…the bill for coffee comes…225000 HUF..unbelievable i refuse to pay, how come coffee can be so expensive…they justify that coffee came with cognac inside, and a small cup of cognac cost 60000 HUF….it was our nightmare night!!! We lost, me and my friend 850 euro each!!!

    You are warned guys, every thing is organised with every single detail studied to get you in the trap, even the cash machine inside the bar!!! Avoid Vaci streets bar, and any girls that come to you….a real hungarian girl, you have to make the first step, the rest is scammers

    • Reply
      Budapest Agent Author
      August 21, 2013

      Sorry to hear that Stanley. I can only warn everybody again and again, do not go with any girl that approaches you on the street in Budapest especially in touristic areas. Also do not pop into any nightclub just by mistake.

  • Reply
    Mike
    March 3, 2014

    Me and my friends were caught out by this scam just this weekend. It took place in a placed called PUB which is on Vaci Street in Budapest.
    Luckily, I had a suspision that someone was a bit up and told my friends that we were only going to have one drink here and with the girls and then move on.
    We still got hit with a big bill at the end of the drink but since we only had one round it was noway near as bad as it could have been.

    Add the PUB to your list please as we don’t want others falling for the same scam.
    We just wish we had read up on these scams before hand.

  • Reply
    BudapestAgent Author
    March 6, 2014

    Hey Mike,

    thanks for your reply and truly sorry to hear that you got into the scam as well.
    The problem with keeping this list up to date is that they change the name very often so only if somebody gets scammed it is possible to know.

    That’s why in the article it says “don’t let them chat you up on tourist centers like Vaci street” – this is in general really dangerous. The city is so big with so cool place where to chat with girls and have a drink that it is the best to avoid Vaci utca.

    Thanks again Mike, I hope you had a good time other than that!

    Cheers

  • Reply
    Lalo
    March 16, 2014

    I always thought it is really easy to realize when you are being scammed, maybe since last night my opinion changed :)

    More or less same story. Two nice girls ask me about taking a picture of them in front of the hard rock, start talking to me saying the are from another Hungarian cities having the weekend in Budapest.
    I was just giving a free walk so I thought it was not a bad idea having a drink with them. Chosen place: zeitt club.
    The blonde with glasses girl is very talkative, asks me about the horoscope, if I am married. The brunette one is quite quiet.
    At some point I became suspect because a guy entered the place and looked at us like smiling, while the brunette was avoiding any glance contact with him. I asked her if she knew him or what happened, she said no I am just drunk…
    After two hours and 3 rounds (sparkling wine + palinka shot each) the waitress says she is sorry but she has to close, that we can stay there but we should pay. Then the surprise comes, 130000 ft, meaning 415€. I began thinking I was checking it wrong and that it should be 13000. I had not any forints yet so the waitress and the blonde come with me to the cash machine, still doubting I take out 130000 having clear I am not going to pay that amount. Back in the bar, I ask to the waitress about giving me 5 minutes for taking with the girls, she agrees. I tell them how can be that expensive, the blonde one then really annoys me dating it is the centre and that is normal price she thinks, so I answer I am not stupid and I know how prices are in Hungary.
    The brunette tells me she thinks it is very expensive and she says she just have 4000ft. So I day ok I am sorry but I am not going to pay this by my own, even more, I am sorry but I want to see how you pay your part, I will just pay 43000 and that is incredible much.
    So the brunette looks upset and really a good actress, while the blonde and the waitress press me for posting 68000 more and the pay the rest. I thought to run our asking the waitress about calling the police, but thought both could be worse.
    So I ask the waitress ok here there are my 43000 can I leave? So I go listening her and the blonde dating what kind of gentleman I am, the blonde acted like if she was going to give her id card and posting the next day when her father sends her money, but as long as they didn’t look moving from there it was clear to me what has really happened.
    Well, I have lost 130€ plus 16 of my bank fee (lol!) but I am already laughing about it. Had heard about trying to charge me money “by mistake” but not this one, life lesson :)

  • Reply
    Lalo
    March 16, 2014

    (Sorry I see my phone corrector changed some words)

  • Reply
    Robert
    March 16, 2014

    I’m currently staying at the Kempinski hotel, which is close from Vaci Utca and the very same happened to me on the past 2 days (from 2 different doubles) By chance I was only flip-flopping at night without a single nickel and/or credit cards on my pockets. The methodology is simple and can easily help them on evaluating who you are and also the potential risk you might bring to them.
    1. Approach : they come in doubles, and always one of them will be more communicative with you while the other will monitor. They’ll ask : where are you from, what are you doing here, is this your first time in Budapest, do you drink, in what business do you work, etc…
    They can fill right on the spot if you catched it’s a scam.
    2. When I said : I have absolutely no money (and showed my empty pockets laughing) both doubles just vanished. On the second day I said I worked as an immigration investigator for interpol (such a thing doesn’t even exist).
    3. Let’s be realistic : beautiful women don’t approach you like this. Insisting you escort them for a drink. And most of us should recognize we’re just normal people who’ll have to invest some talking to make something happen.
    It seems easy to say now that I’ve read all of your testimonials, but the fact is that I escaped just because I really didn’t have a single HUF on my pocket on the first night. Otherwise I would be here now, probably writing a report like yours.
    A heads-up for the travelers.

  • Reply
    Evan
    April 15, 2014

    Here’s my story: I was chatted up at the end of Váci Utca near Hard Rock Café by 2 girls, both about late 20s, black hair, tanned, one a bit taller, one a bit smaller. They claimed to be Finnish students and were asking me whether I knew where Erzsébet Tér is, which I didn’t know. They then got a map and showed me, where on the map Erzsébet Tér is, and since I knew where I was, I recognized it was around the next corner, so I pointed them the way. They told me a guide recommended them a bar at 1 Erzsébet Tér, and they asked if I wanted to join them. I told them I was actually looking for a restaurant to have dinner, to which they responded they wanted to grab something to eat to, so I thought I might as well eat with them and have a nice chat. When we arrived at 1 Erzsébet Tér (which is at the northwest corner, a restaurant called Club Zeitt), the thought actually crossed my mind that they might be luring me into the restaurant, but the place didn’t look fishy in any way, their behavior wasn’t offensively alluring (there are bars in China and Africa which really try to pull you in) and I judged this scenario as being really far-fetched, so I put my thoughts aside. They were asking me, what we wanted to order. I’ve read about the supposedly famous Tokaji wine and have seen it in other restaurants for 6000 HUF/0.1l glass. This restaurant only had 0.5l bottles for 24000 HUF, which I noticed was expensive but as it was about the same price relationship as I’ve seen before I thought “ah well, it’s my last day in Budapest, let’s try this once, and when we share it among 3 people it’s justifyable”, so we ordered the bottle. We continued chatting, and the girls kept ordering cognacs, beer, wine and red bulls with straws (I didn’t think much about that at the time, but reading other people’s stories, that’s the standard trick to spit the drinks back again to avoid becoming drunk). I knew alcohol in Finland is expensive, so I thought they wanted to enjoy cheap drinks abroad. They encouraged me to order some more beverages, but since I usually don’t like drinking alcohol and didn’t have more money than my share of the win anyway, I stuck to my glass of Tokaji. At that time my impression was that they were some spoiled girls who were planning on letting a guy pay for them having a nice evening out, so I already preparing myself mentally for saying now if they wanted me to pay for their drinks. After about half an hour the waitress came over and told us she needs to collect the money now. The bill was 192000 HUF which I found ridiculously expensive, but I just gave the waitress 10000 HUF for my share of the wine and told her to let the girls pay the rest. One of the girls took out a VISA card and said she doesn’t know her PIN and asked if I could pay in advance and they will return me the money (assuring that it’s not about the money, they just like me to help them out). Since I felt no inclination of paying the equivalent of 600 € for 2 strangers, I told them I didn’t have any more cash on me since it’s my last day in Budapest (which was true) and that I left my credit card in the hotel (which was a lie). The waitress asked me where my hotel was (I had the presence of mind not to say the name but only said the street) and suggested I could go back to my hotel to get the card to pay, to which I said I didn’t have enough money in my account anyway (another lie). I explained to them I already paid for my share and everything else was up to the girls, who were pleading me to help them out. The waitress replied we as a whole table need to pay and repeatedly pointed out that there are cameras everywhere (there were indeed a few domes which looked like CCTV), and if we don’t pay, she has to call the police. This went on for a while, with the waitress and the girls trying urge my into paying. By that time I was certain that this was all a trick, but I didn’t know what would happen if I tried to run, what about the cameras or potential bouncers. In the end I was fed up and told her to just call the police. The girls acted all shocked that I was risking going to jail, and the waitress repeatedly came back to ask if we have decided how to solve the bill issue, offered to only pay 90000 HUF, but I just kept telling her to call the police already. After my 5th request for the police, she told me that it’s very expensive to call the police, but I said that’s not my problem. The girls eventually told me to leave, but now I wanted to continue playing this game and told her I was waiting for the police to arrive, to which she said I would have to call the police myself, so I took my chance and left. In retrospect, I think they were concerned I really wanted to involve to police and therefore trying to discourage me from calling them. But the story doesn’t end here. When the girls left Club Zeitt, I followed them back to Váci Utca where they continued chatting up single people and couples, showed them a map etc. I observed them from a distance, finally they found another guy to go with them, also in direction Erzsébet Tér. So I moved in, and when I warned the guy of their tricks, they acted like they’ve never seen me and didn’t know what I was talking about, but the guy believed me and we left. From afar, I could see one of the girls calling somebody on the mobile. I chatted a bit with the guy I saved, and when I returned my attention to the girls, I say another guy standing with them, bald and a bit burly. I wasn’t sure whether it was another victim or their pimp, but when they spotted me and pointed towards me, I turned around and walked away. After a few steps I realized they were leaving, too, so I followed them again to Váci Utca, and after a while I found them again. This time, they noticed me and started coming towards me, again pulling out their mobile phone. In order to get rid of them, I took out my camera and took a few pictures of them. That’s when they started running towards me, so I decided to end it there and finally return to my hotel. Realising I’ve told them the street name earlier, I took a different route just to be sure. It was the time of the Budapest Spring Festival, so lots of people were on Erzsébet Tér, and one idea I had was telling my story to the group of people hanging out in front of Club Zeitt and asking them to warn people in the future about going in there, but reading other people’s stories, they might not have done that anyway. So for me, this adventure ended with only a minor loss…

  • Reply
    BudapestAgent Author
    April 16, 2014

    Thanks Evan for your story. I really appreciate it that you let others know about it.
    My article was originally written in 2008 and the scam started probably way before that, it is really scary that this still works out every single night of the year.
    Thanks again for sharing, you probably will save many people a good amount of money!
    Cheers

  • Reply
    Kenny
    June 22, 2014

    Keep your eyes and ears open for a variant on the scam which nearly caught me and a mate out a few years ago: A male and a female couple ‘fell into conversation’ with us in a bar telling us they had studied at Nottingham University – their story was entirely convincing if not a little bit rehearsed – and after some talk invited us to join them at a ‘favourite bar nearby’. The penny dropped as we were walking with them and I made our excuses.

    If you’re looking for an honest place with a good atmosphere try Zappa’s Bar if it’s still open these days.

  • Reply
    Kenny
    June 22, 2014

    I should have mentioned the above happened in January so it would appear the scam is modified during the winter months for obvious reasons.

  • Reply
    John
    June 24, 2014

    On my last day in Budapest I was approached by a man selling latest apple iPhone for 250euros.

    I refused it and he followed me and he reduced the price to 50 euros

    Never buy them from street sellers as they are fake chinos costing
    200 yuans or 25 euros.

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