Around the early 2000s young people were trying to find cheap places to go out and have a drink. They rented abandoned buildings and empty lots and furnished them with random stuff they found and turned them into bars. Soon these ruin bars became extremely popular.
These establishments look dilapidated on the outside, while inside there are a bunch of antiques, graffiti, many kinds of art, hidden gems and treasures.
Each ruin bar has it’s own vibe and crowd and some feel more authentic than others.
Most of the ruin bars can be found in the “Jewish Quarter” (District VII.).
Szimpla Kert - the original
It was the first ruin bar and it is the most famous one. Originally it was a stove factory.
You can meet many kind of people here: travelers and locals, young and old(er).
There are lots of different areas and rooms inside with their own character. Everywhere you look are quirky, random, totally unexpected things: old computer monitors, huge bunnies, welding masks that light up, lots of graffitis and they even have live fish.
There is even a bar that feels like a chemistry lab.
There are different DJs in the rooms and some have live music as well. You can find a huge range of cocktails, beers and wines and a range of food options such as sausages, sandwiches. On Sundays, between 9 am – 2 pm there is also a farmer’s market in Szimpla where 30-40 sellers bring their home grown products to the tables.
Just go inside any time (preferably during the afternoon as it can get really crowded in the evenings) and wander around. Go upstairs, explore the hidden corners, pay attention to the details. Spend an afternoon here, you will not run out of things to look at for sure.
If you only visit one ruin bar, I recommend this one.
Csendes Vintage Bar
Relaxed atmosphere combined with wifi in a quirky environment. Mismatched tables with colorful chairs, drawings, notes and stickers – don’t forget to add your own art to the wall.
It feels more like a chic patio than a ruin bar, where outdoors comes indoors through trees.
It serves Middle Eastern and as its name suggests, Israeli (not kosher) dishes and has a great selection of Hungarian wines, palinka and cocktails.
A warm-weather favorite, the place for hanging out, no matter what your age is. It has swings, colorful chairs and tables in its garden.
It’s name means “clutch” in Hungarian, revealing the history of the building, as it is a repurposed car repair shop.
The entrance from the street opens to a long tunnel. It’s theme is “under the sea” with jelly fish, paintings of divers and a huge whale.
One of the most popular Hungarian beers is called Soproni.
In Kuplung a glass of it costs about 1.30 USD while a bigger one is about 2 USD.
They also have a kitchen in the courtyard. Try a burger or a goulash soup.
It has about 20 rooms and is in two former buildings, so it is huge. It has indoor and outdoor spaces, game rooms, dancefloors with DJs and a pizza bar.
Here you will see tons of quirky details everywhere you look. It even has a Budapest themed room.
There are screens that look like airplane windows and they play strange art with clouds. It’s cool.
It is so popular that usually people lining up around the block to get in.
A modern, contemporary feeling ruin bar. The building used to be a residential block and the modern interior is in a surprising contrast to the beat up exterior. There are lots of food and drink options here.
In the courtyard the lights change their color which gives vibe to it.
There is a sculpture of huge, 4 meter tall King Kong that climbed up the tree that stands in the middle of the courtyard. It was made by Gábor Miklós Szőke. It is made of wood and during the night it’s eyes are lit red.
It is really fun how the city comes to life after dark and how the need to drink something cheap has become a cornerstone of Budapest’s nightlife.
These are the ruin bars in Budapest I recommend visiting. They are really uniqe places where you can relax a bit during sightseeing. Have you already tried any of them? Or are you planning to?
If you liked this post, I think you would also like the one I wrote about the street art in the Jewish Quarter.
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Have fun in Budapest! 😊
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