Budapest has an exciting and diverse nightlife. The opening hours are not limited by the city, so most weekend party places are open until dawn or even late mornings. Unlike in other cities, there is no specific district or part of town which is known for clubbing and nightlife; all the best places are in different districts of town.
The selection of places to dance and drink or just listen to jazz or blues is enormous, even on weekdays. Admission fees are comparatively low, and drinks are generally cheap. There are many club types: modern dance clubs, cellar jazz bars, open-air party places with palm trees, late-night cafés and romantic cocktail bars and so on.
Parties in the top clubs are well advertised in advance, but there's generally no need to get tickets before going there - the worst thing that can happen is that you'll have to stand in line a little bit before gaining admittance. However, if you are visiting Budapest with a bigger group, it's worth making a reservation guest list when going to a major party to avoid confusion at the door.
There are places in Budapest that have a unique feel to them - the best examples are the so called ruin-clubs, mostly in Budapest's Jewish district. These alternative clubs are located in derelict old buildings, which are slated to be taken down, to give home to new housing projects.
A typical ruin-pub last about 3 years before being forced to move somewhere else. Lots of young professionals spend their evenings here, huddled over their laptops, while listening to the occasional live jazz concert, munching a sandwich and drinking beer.
From every spring until autumn, open-air clubs open their doors in South Buda, near the university district of Budapest and Margaret Island. Some of them even feature a small swimming pool for hot summer nights.
The majority of live jazz clubs and bars are in Budapest's 5th and 7th district, near Blaha Lujza tér and Oktogon. The larger discotheques and clubs are all over the city, but many of them are clustered in the northern suburbs of Buda.
Most gay-friendly bars are on the Pest side, in districts 5-6-7. Most of them are just places to meet, but there are gay discos as well. Some gay establishments have regular straight or mixed days too. The lesbian community of Budapest arranges a grand party on every last Saturday of the month, called Ösztrosokk.