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The Best Ruin Bars Budapest Has to Offer and My Top Pick

January 22, 2014 5 min read

You’re walking down a street in Budapest illuminated by street lamps when you come across an abandoned building. The building looks run down with a few discolored bricks and a paint job gone wrong, but as you get closer you notice a few security guards standing outside and the music coming from inside. Then you start noticing the other details – the hanging lights from the balcony, the people walking in and you realize that you found Budapest’s nightlife gem – the ruin bars.

This is what I remember about my first time going to a ruin bar. Not only was this an unfamiliar concept to me, but I was also in the best city to check it out. Budapest has some of the best ruin bars, compared to other cities. 

I must admit, I wasn’t very familiar with Hungary. I didn’t know anything about the culture, the history or what cities existed within Hungary. I had more knowledge on the popular place such as France, England, Ireland, and Australia, and while I could have gone to any of those, I ended up going to Budapest because it was cheaper. It was cheaper than all the other European places and there was a bit more value for my American Money there. 

So, before I headed out to Budapest, I did a bit of research on places that could potentially be worth looking at. The only thing I kept finding were huge advertisements on the Budapest spas and the wonderful bridges, but nothing seemed to call my attention, not even the spas. Then one day, while looking through pages of spas and bridges, I came across something called ‘ruin pubs.’

This intrigued me and as you already know, I ended up going. I didn’t go to just any ruin bar though, I ended up going to one of the best ruin bars in Budapest. Aside from my experience going into one of the ruin bars, you’ll also find a list of the best ruin bars Budapest has to offer. 

What are Ruin Bars?

Ruin Pubs are bars located in formerly abandoned buildings in the city and are very popular hot spots. It is so popular that thousands of tourists make frequent stops at these Ruin Pubs aka Ruin Bars.

A Night to Remember at One of the Best Ruin Bars

When I first landed in Budapest, one of the first things I did (aside from going to the hotel) was make a stop at a Ruin Bar. At the time, I had scrolled through quite a few recommendations after I came across the word ‘Ruin Pubs’. After much research, that really only took 20 minutes, I chose to visit Szimpla Kert.

Szimpla Kert is said to be the oldest ruin bar around Budapest and also the closest one to my hotel. It was not easy to spot the bar, but as I got closer to what looked like an abandoned building, I noticed a large crowd of people standing outside while two very large men waved their arms to welcome the guests.

Ruin Bars in Budapest

As I entered the bar, I noticed the ‘ruined’ theme throughout the building. Not only was the building tattered-looking, but the decorations were worn out and out of place. The ruin bar was dark, full of chatter and people in different rooms. Some were at high tables, some were on couches and some were in the back seat of a car. It was junk put together to make it look like a hipster type of place, but this is what absolutely captured me to the charm of the ruin bar.

Best Ruin Bars Budapest

Best Ruin Bars Budapest

It didn’t feel homey in any way, it also didn’t feel like Europe. It felt like I was underground somewhere and I enjoyed every minute of it. Different from anything I had ever seen. I took some time to explore the whole place and even people watched observing those around me. As for language barriers, there wasn’t one, I was able to order beers without a problem and sat at a table with family enjoying our drinks.

After that night at Szimpla Kert, I told myself I’d go back to another ruin bar, but of course, that didn’t end up happening. I did pass by a few, but there was so much to see in Budapest and I had limited time.


Diving into the Best Ruin Bars Budapest Offers

There are so many different ruin bars in Budapest. While I do recommend checking out Szimpla Kert and it is my top pick because it is the oldest ruin bar in Budapest, it is not the only best ruin bar. So if you’d like another option than my top pick, check out the list below.

Ellátó Kert & Taqueria

If you love Mexican food, then you’ll love this ruin bar. A combined ruin bar with a Mexican restaurant, Ellátó Kert & Taqueria is popular among the locals. The terrace is quite colorful with Mexican vibes and you’ll also find the outdoor space dog-friendly. Enjoy a variety of beers in the ruin bar and chill to the music.

This is quite close to Szimpla Kert, so if you’re trying to see a number of ruin bars make sure to visit this one.

Address: 48 Kazinczy str., Budapest H-1075

Instant-Fogas Ház

Most ruin bars have a relaxed atmosphere, some can be cozy and others are a combination of a restaurant/bar, but Instant-Fogas is a whole different type of ruin bar. It is a ruin bar with a party complex, where people from all over go to so they can dance. The drinks here are quite pricier, but if you’re willing to spend money and want to party, this is the place to check out.

This ruin bar is located in the Jewish Quarter, which is known as the party district.

Address: Budapest, Akácfa u. 51, 1073

Szatyor Bár

If you’re looking wine-down and not in the mood to party, then you might Szatyor to be more suitable. This ruin bar is a spacious place with art on the walls. It is pretty much a gallery with the amount of art throughout the space. It is also a hub for writers, artists, and poets in Hungary.

Address: Budapest, Bartók Béla út 36, 1111 Hungary

Ruin bars are not something you see every day, so if you ever make your way to Hungary, I recommend checking out the best ruin bars Budapest has to offer. As the saying goes “Don’t knock it until you try it.”


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    About Me

    About Me


    Hola! I'm Hanny and I have been traveling since the age of three. Although, I grew up traveling, it wasn't until 2013, when I decided to start a blog. Read More

    xoxo Hanny

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