You’ve probably heard of Budapest’s ruin bar scene by now, but just in case you haven’t, we’ve put together a little guide to the best ruin pubs in the city with the help of our locals. What started in the early noughties as an underground bar scene known only to the local residents has grown to be the iconic core of Budapest’s energetic nightlife scene, and these bars are now as synonymous with the city as watching the sun set over the Danube. There’s no better way to party in Budapest, if you know where to find them that is - so check out out guide to the best ruin bars in the city!
Where to find them
Scattered throughout the Jewish Quarter in abandoned warehouses, empty lots and crumbling buildings, these bars have brought a new energy and a unique nightlife culture into a part of the city that had been left derelict after the end of the Second World War and the fall of communism. These characteristic venues all have their own distinct style, and range from the very weird to the very wonderful, so here’s our guide to the best spots for ruin-bar crawling in Budapest!
The original isn’t always the best, but in this case it probably is. Szimpla Kert was the very first ruin bar to pop up in Budapest, and although the exact location has bounced around a little since the venture began, no matter where they’ve set up camp Szimpla has set the blueprint for the rest of the city’s ruin bar culture. You could get lost in here - in a good way of course - so take some time to explore the labyrinth of passages, tiny rooms, outdoor spaces and balconies. Order a cocktail, and then choose where to settle in before you move to a new spot; whether it’s in an old school Trabant car in the courtyard or a slightly bizarre room filled with tvs that look like they belonged to your grandmother, you certainly won’t be bored here!
Kazinczy ucta 14, 1075
This spot isn’t hidden away in the Jewish Quarter of the city where you’ll find most ruin bars, but the journey a little further out is definitely worth it. Dürer Kert is renowned mainly for hosting rock and electronic concerts and has more of a reputation as a party spot than somewhere to relax with a beer, but when you’re feeling a little more laid-back, it’s also not a bad place to be in the early evening if you can claim a hammock or play petanque as the sun goes down. They’re known for their huge outdoor space, which attracts a spirited local crowd looking to grab drinks with friends at the colorful collection of tables that sit under a lantern-lit garden before the party really starts.
Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21, 1146
Csendes is the baby of the family, having re-emerged onto the ruin bar scene again after the previous venue was closed down for being too noisy. So naturally, the team behind this venture renamed their bar Csendes, which means ‘quiet’ in Hungarian. Sassy. The vibe here is better suited to early evening drinks than somewhere you’d find a serious party, but we love that this spot is just as good to hang out during the day than at night. And yes, it might be a little quieter than other bars, but is by no means lacking in a unique, quirky style to set it apart from the rest. In this case, it’s an old bath tub that you can sit while you admire the unusual art and items that look like they’ve been taken back out of a bin (probably because they have).
Ferenczy István ucta 5, 1053
We’ve got a little secret for you. Yes, we love the weird, wonderful, just fell down a rabbit hole into wonderland vibe that most of the ruin bars have, but for a truly authentic experience, head to Udvar Rom. They’ve skipped adorning the walls with tvs or sticking furniture on the ceiling and gone for a basic, stripped back aesthetic. And as is always the way, the complete lack of trying makes it 10 times cooler. All you’ll find there are the basic requirements: a few long tables and wooden benches to perch on, a bar serving cheap beer, a pool table that looks like it’s seen better days and a whole lot of locals. The laid back atmosphere here makes it the perfect spot to grab a drink and chat with the regulars, and we promise you’ll feel like a local yourself in no time!
Klauzál utca 21, District VII
You'll find it within City Park and after a day of exploring Budapest Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Kunsthalle around Heroes’ Square, it's the perfect place to unwind. It's a short trip out of the usual party zone but its leafy surroundings set it apart from the other ruin bars in Budapest. The greenery from which Kertem – ‘my garden’ – gets its name makes it one of the more unique among the other ruin bars. The party can also go on till late without upsetting the neighbors. The festival atmosphere, delicious burgers and cups full of beer and fröccs spritzers make this one of the best ruin bars in Budapest
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