Proprietor of the ’Ancient Buda Castle’ amusement district in Városliget (City Park), Adolf Friedmann first meant to have his winter night club built at 57, Dohány Street. However, he soon gave up hope for the completion of the building with a capacity of 1600 people that Béla Lajta submitted his plans for in January 1906. In the summer of the same year he bought the small and narrow building lot at 35, Szerecsen Street, whose main advantage was that it lay just opposite the Opera. In February 1907 he asked for building permit for a relatively small, three-floor ’dance hall’, which was nevertheless meant to be more elegant and exclusive than the night clubs in the neighbourhood. As Lajta specified it, the aim of the institution would have been to ’present artistic dances and cultivate the art of dance in the noble sense, to provide the status for the Sixth Liberal Art in Hungary that it deserves’.

Having slightly modified the plans due to safety and hygienic considerations, the building permit was granted in April that year. The neighbours filed an appeal in defense of ‘their peace and quiet as well as  the morals of their children’, which was the onset of a lengthy legal procedure, which the Minister of Interior finally decided in favour of Friedmann and Co. in July 1908. Thus the Parisiana Night Club was opened to the public on 13 February 1909 to provide ’singing performances in Hungarian’ from 10 pm till 1 am and ’dancing fiestas’ from 1 am till 5 am.

Originally there would have been a five metre wide ’dancing floor’ in the middle of the 11 m high auditorium suitable for 330 people, but finally the stage was positioned at one end of the hall. Also, what were planned to become the séparés on the upper floor was converted into a ’winter garden’ for an audience of 150, with a small stage for stand-up comedy performances. Similarly to the walls of the auditorium, the street front was also clad in grey marble, with the individual slabs having different shades and streaks. The almost completely flat stone clad front gained depth due to the jambs of the main entrance. Carefully chosen metallic details contrasted with the grey stone surface: the aluminium and copper cladding of the entrance doors, as well as the row of embossed and partly gilded cherubs from copper that were crowning the street front and holding the stained glass lettering.

The geometrically stylised, simplified forms coupled with the choice building materials and the orientalist general impression of the building make this composition of Lajta – somewhat paradoxically monumental almost to the point of suggesting sacrality – a forerunner of the art déco of the 1920s.

The street front of the building was reconstructed in 1991.





Dávid Ferenc - Gajdó Tamás (szerk.): Színház a Szerecsen utcában. Budapest, Kossuth, 2010. 

Date of planning
1907.02 - 1908.10
Date of construction
1908 - 1909.02
Original address
VI. Szerecsen utca 3876. parcel number
VI. Paulay Ede utca 35.
Mrs Adolf Friedmann, née Amália Schwarz
Building type
Night club
Building status
Demolished, building front reconstructed

Archive photos

Afterlife of the building