Ruin bars in Budapest have been a growing trend over the last 20 years. They started as an underground movement, but quickly became the heart of Budapest’s nightlife, drawing locals and tourists alike. From the street, the bars look like ruins, but once inside, there is mismatched furniture, graffiti, drinks, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Below is our list of the best ruin bars in Budapest. (Word to the wise: dress warmly in the winter season, many of them don’t have walls or windows and it can get quite chilly at night.)
Established in 2001, this is the original and one of the largest ruin bars in Budapest. It has high ceilings and an open courtyard with multiple bars throughout. Thrift store furniture and a stripped down communist-era car provides seating for guests sipping drinks, chatting, and listening to music. As the original ruin bar, Szimpla Kert is also the busiest.
With more of a club vibe than a bar, this once-apartment building boasts 26 different rooms, 7 bars, 2 gardens, and 7 stages. The drink prices run a little higher here, due to popularity and the club-like atmosphere. Walls have been knocked down to allow for DJs and dancing but each room has a unique feel. Grab a drink and explore, as you’ll find something different around every corner.
This ruin bar has a relaxed festival feel, with pitchers of iced-tea and hot dogs served from a garden shed and live folk music. Serving pizza, burgers, and sandwiches, this is an ideal spot to grab a drink and hang out with the locals. Indoor and outdoor seating in this converted car park provides a great spot to watch a football game as well. The chill atmosphere picks up in the evening; with recycled water cisterns illuminating the graffiti covered walls.
This bar is definitely on the chic side and feels more like a regular bar than the others. The newer spot serves shawarma and mezze plates during the day, while a DJ spins everything from jazz to techno at night. Exposed beams, brick walls, and fairy lights contribute to the ruin style, but it has a more modern feel than the original ruin bars.
This bar was named after an old dentist sign found inside, during its first renovation. It was originally a squat house that turned into a bar, art studio, and bike shop. The space is known for the large tree at the center of its courtyard, covered in colored lights. Fogas Haz has a bit of everything, with a cocktail bar and live music on one floor, a terrace and garden outside, and a club-style space for dancing underground.
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Written by Katie Tatham – @kltatham (Canadian wanderer & outdoor enthusiast)