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The coolest spot of Balaton Uplands opens soon | Káli Cool Közért bar

Now it won’t only be the popular Liliomkert market that makes Káptalantóti worthy of a visit: Közért bár and Csemege presszó, aka Káli Cool Közért bar opens its doors this Saturday. The meeting of contemporary artworks, retro furniture, artisan beer and local wines within the walls of the former grocery store and pub, where every square centimeter has something exciting and fun to offer.

Even though the season is different this year owing to the pandemic, this doesn’t mean we should give up on novelties. We should add Káli Cool Közért bar to the list of recommended places of the Balaton Uplands right away. It’s hard to define it with just a single word: a catering unit and a contemporary visual arts and vintage furniture gallery operates under Petőfi Sándor utca 85-87 at the same time, and on top of it all, we can also rent an apartment there. 

The building toned to blue-white-grey colors gives off a cool, Mediterranean vibe, the apartments open from the courtyard, and we can also admire the original stone walls inside.

Zsófi Faur known from the contemporary art scene and her partner Pál Szilágyi originally wanted to purchase a different property in the village of Feketebács nearby, however, they didn’t manage to agree with the Austrian owner. At the same time the building of the old pub and grocery store in Káptalantóti has been for sale for years – and so they jumped at it. They purchased the real property in quite a poor condition in the fall of 2015, and then came long years of renovation and alteration.

The signs Közért bár and Csemege presszó and the blue wall fountains transformed into a lamp caught the attention of both the locals and those driving through the village: Közért and Csemege were two typical phenomena of the capital, a sort of mischief from Budapest – these were simply called “kisbolt” in the countryside (and are called so unto this day). [1]

Of course, the choice of name is not a coincidence, and is not only aimed at strengthening the retro vibe: Pali and Zsófi would like to target the dwellers of the capital spending their vacation at Lake Balaton specifically. “Half of Budapest is here at Lake Balaton, there are even some who spend their entire summer here. Many of my clients work from here, they schedule their meetings here, and they do their business here. Many of the artists I contracted spend their holidays or work here, as well”  – told us Zsófi when we asked her about the origins of the idea of a contemporary gallery mixed with a catering unit. 

In addition to the residents of Budapest, they also target foreign real property owners living here – mainly Germans and Dutch –, for whom the signs on the façade don’t ring any bells, but they will have fun inside the bar, for sure. In addition to the brands sounding familiar to those living in the capital, the sight of the “shop window” also gives it away that this is not your average catering unit. There are artisan beers, the wines of Sabar winery and of course, coffee, but these are not the things that make the place appealing in the first place.

Guests can see the works of Judit Horváth LócziTamás DobosMárton Romvári, Áron Gábor, Csenge Lantos and Ferenc Forrai on the walls, and the guest area is filled with the vintage and retro furniture, home decor items, paintings and posters of AMIKOR Gallery.

A dominant element of the place is the tin-framed relief, serving as a counter, and the gigantic “Csemege” sign on the wall behind the same. The former is interesting because it was made by Sándor Mikus who also created the statue of Stalin standing at the former Felvonulási tér (guests can also see another Mikus sculpture in one of the apartments). The latter, that is the frame of the neon sign, Pali got from the façade of a department store in Nyíregyháza waiting for renovation. 

Another great catch, and at the same time one of Zsófi’s favorites, is the banister of the neo-Baroque house at Németvölgyi út, Budapest, next to which Irén Psota used to smoke – Pali and Zsófi planned to incorporate this next to the stairs of one of the bigger apartments, but due to the shortness of time, they had to drop this idea. The Czechoslovakian carriage resting in the courtyard is also a real rarity, as there are only three items of this type of train in the country altogether: Pali and Zsófi would like to create a small bar, a garden lounge inside it.

And how did the furniture and other accessories of AMIKOR gallery end up here? Zsófi has been on good terms with AMIKOR owner Viktor Molnár who has been dealing with antique furniture and objects for almost twenty years: they showcase the most diverse treasures on 560 square meters at Pozsonyi út in the capital – we can get a little teaser of their selection within the walls of Káli Cool Közért bar. 

According to Zsófi, the previously trendy white cube phenomenon has worn off by today: it is not enough for a potential buyer to see the work of art in a clean interior, before a white wall. So that they get in the mood for shopping, they have to see how the picture or the sculpture would look in their personal space, apartment, amongst their personal furniture. This is partly why she thinks it was a very good decision when AMIKOR moved in amongst the visual works of art. In addition, the fans of contemporary design also have a reason to visit the place: the visitors can browse through Kinga Cakó’s CAKÓ pieces directly next to the counter.

We got lost in the cavalcade of Káli Cool Közért bar, but we have no regrets at all. On the contrary, we recommend it from the bottom of our hearts, so anyone visiting the Balaton Uplands during the weekend should make sure they attend the official opening.

Photos: Balázs Mohai

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[1] Közért, or Községi Élelmiszerkereskedelmi Rt. was founded in 1948: it’s task was to ensure public supply. It had 358 stores in the capital and 31 in the countryside at the start. In addition to the company Közért, there was also Csemege Kereskedelmi Vállalat (Csemege Commercial Cooperation), the legal predecessor of which was established in 1952 with the aim of setting an example in the application of modern commercial methods and technology, and last, but not least, supply. (Source: hvg.hu)

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