Whether you’ve been in Budapest for five minutes, five days, or you haven’t even boarded the plane yet, you’ve probably heard of the infamous ruin bars in Budapest. These edgy, artistic spaces have become a staple of the city’s nightlife and cultural scene.
The most famous of the ruin pubs are probably as well-known as the most famous sightseeing attractions in the city, and night after night they draw crowds of locals and tourists alike. It’s no wonder then that any good tourist guide offers a selection of ruin bars in Budapest for you to explore!
Ruin bars are so called because they were created out of ruins. After the second world war many buildings in the city were abandoned, particularly around the Jewish quarter. To anybody else these crumbling ruins were useless and condemned, but to the local creatives and artists; they were a playground.
So, the artists moved in and began adding their own soul to the dilapidated space. Using recycled furniture, surreal art pieces, and pretty much anything else they could find; these talented creatives were able to turn ruin pubs into unique edgy bars full of self-expression and fun.
Nowadays, ruin bars in Budapest attract people from all walks of life. From trendy bohemians, to bachelor parties, to family tour groups. They are a staple of any visit to Budapest. Why? It’s not only the interesting interior space and décor that attracts visitors. Ruin bars are more than just a bar. There are spaces to chill and drink, dance floors, table games, places to buy pizza, and many bars are now run as community spaces during the day.
With all this going on, it’s no wonder that ruin bars are one of the top things to do in Budapest. Wondering where to start on your ruin bar and Budapest nightlife adventure? Look no further than this great list?
The Best Ruin Bars in Budapest
The original and most famous ruin bar, it’s certainly perfect to start with the legendary Szimpla Kert. If you want to understand what ruin bars are all about then Szimpla is the place to go. Spanning across three floors, with nine different bars; this carnival of a ruin bar is non stop excitement.
Szimpla is one of the most famous parts of the city, pulling as many tourists as the likes of parliament and St. Stephens Basillica. So, expect a queue and a lot of crowds at peak times or during the Summer season. It is completely worth the wait, however. Walking around Szimpla is like being a child in the world’s best toy store. Each wall and corner hides a new piece of eclectic artwork for you to explore.
Szimpla is a large ruin pub, spanning three floors and with nine bars inside. Throughout this amazing ruin bar, there is no theme or rule to be found with the decor; it perfectly embodies the “come as you are” attitude that is so synonymous with ruin bars in Budapest.
For those who want to experience Szimpla at quiet times, there’s no better time to visit than Sunday morning (9:00-14:00) when the space is turned into a farmer’s market supporting local produce. Here you can try and buy all manner or delicacies, then relax in the beer garden as you enjoy your purchases!
A Sunday morning market visit to Szimpla Kert should be on anyone’s things to do in Budapest list. Double bonus if you want to explore a world class ruin bar without having to deal with a crowd of people getting nice and buzzed. I mean we have no issues with it, but we understand if you do!
Once two separate entities, Instant moved location and joined forces with Fogas to create the most exciting party extravaganza in the city. This ruin bar complex contains multiple bars and dance floors, with maze-like passageways guiding you to a new party adventure. Wherever you begin your night, there’s a high chance you will end it in this ruin bar.
Instant isn’t just one bar, or even just two. It is also home to Larm and robot. It’s easy to see why it’s the most popular party spot in the whole city. There are multiple dance floors with different styles of music. With one room dedicated to a carnival-like ambiance, and another to minimalist darkness and thudding techno, and another still dropping some classic hip hop beats, even more are floors showcasing latino, metal, oldies, and club hits; there is something in this huge ruin bar for everybody.
Whilst ruin pubs in Budapest began as a cultural mission drawing alternatives and hipsters, much of that original crowd has mostly given way to large groups of tourists who simple want to drink. One exception to this is the mighty Anker’t. This ruin bar is hidden away from the main bar streets and is a hub for community events and workshops.
Creatives flock here for the slam poetry nights and to pick up some delicious vegan food. Expect a calm beer garden, with some dancing and excitement thrown into the mix.
If you want to revisit the roots of ruin pub culture, Anker’t is a great place to be!
Like all the best ruin bars in Budapest, Ellato Kert once had an entirely different purpose – it was a meat processing factory. Nowadays it is a lively, animated space boasting one of the nicest beer gardens in the city, where patrons can enjoy a peaceful drink before moving on to some harder partying.
One of the best things about Ellato Kert has surely got to be the tasty Mexican food served up by the kitchen staff. A great place to relax in the beer garden with a drink and some tacos!
Nestled in the mix of loud ruin pubs, with their crowds of bachelor parties and feisty backpackers, there lies a small; more upscale ruin pub in Budapest that stays true to the Jewish heritage of the party district. Mazel Tov is a calmer, more sophisticated addition to the ruin bar family. Inside, the chic décor sets the perfect atmosphere for quiet, intelligent conversations.
The best thing about Mazel Tov might actually be its food– this bar doubles as a middle eastern restaurant. Serving amazing middle-eastern meals, this is a great place for those who want a calmer ruin bar experience.
Maybe the most artistically impressive of all ruin bars in Budapest, Csendes is a surrealist utopia in a dystopian cityscape. All of the decoration is from items that were ready to be thrown away, giving a really chaotic vibe to this phantasmagoric playground of a ruin pub. Csendes is good to visit both during the day and at night.
During the day, enjoy a coffee and chat with close friends. As night comes in, check out the alcohol menu and enjoy some of the live music or movie nights. In Csendes, it’s all about the experience; so take your time to enjoy the atmosphere created by the amazing interior.
For the live music lovers out there, Durer Kert is your go-to spot. One of the most exciting and important music venues in the city, Durer Kert boasts full dance floors, table games, and a carefree atmosphere in their beer garden. The building has an interesting history as a boarding school and a recreation center for communist officers, although nowadays this regimented existence is a thing of the past and it’s now the perfect place to let loose and go wild to some excellent live shows.
Concerts and events range from Thrash metal to Goa trance, and a wide range in between. With such a broad program, Durer Kert will be one of the most epic nights out in Budapest.
This huge ruin bar expands out from the fig tree in the garden – which is also how the bar got its name. It has a huge beer garden with plenty of seating, making is a great venue to have a drink in summer. As well as the garden, there are amazing basement dance floors playing a great mix of classics and new tunes, often frequented by fun young locals.
Fuge Udvar will draw less of a crowd than Szimpla or Instant, making is a great place for dancing if you like to have a bit more space! If you’re tired of drinking and dancing, there’s plenty of table top games to pass the time and even an escape room upstairs.
Out of all the ruin bars in Budapest today, Golya is surely the most loyal to its roots as an alternative space. It’s situated a little out of the main party district, so it avoids the large crowds of tourists and attracts more of a hip, bohemian crowd. Looking tired and worn out, with old furniture and posters spread around the space; this is one of the most genuine ruin pub vibes you’ll find, even keeping the cheerfully low prices.
During the day, Golya is home to conferences on various topics, although these are usually conducted in Hungarian; many speakers will be happy to answer some questions in English.
If ruin bars in Budapest are your reason for visiting, Grandio could be the place for you. This thriving ruin bar is also a hostel, housing plenty of fun backpackers ready to play drinking games and take advantage of the always-open beer garden. Right in the heart of the party district, this is the perfect place to begin your night of touring Budapest’s ruin bars.
Unlike many gardens in the city, the garden of Grandio is actually full of trees and greenery; helping to create the nice chilled ambiance. As you sip your drinks in this ruin pub you’ll find that a constant stream of travelers is passing through, so there’s never any shortage of a good time at Grandio!
So that’s it, a quick round up of some of the most exciting ruin bars in Budapest. If you visit any of these bars, be sure to tell us about your experience in the comments. Safe and happy travels!
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