A beer for under £2, a balmy evening and crumbling, atmospheric surroundings. Is this the perfect place ever for a bar? Welcome to the “Ruin Bars” of Budapest. Formerly a semi-legal set up, nowadays the Drinking District is one of the top must-dos on your next city break to Budapest.
Legend has it these bars first came into existence in the early 2000s, when a group of young guys were on the hunt for cheap places to drink and these homemade bars were first brought into existence. This is more or less how it works: derelict buildings are transformed with mismatched chairs. Gardens provide sunny terraces in the summer, with odd bits and pieces doubling up as furniture – one bar has a car instead of a table. Donated art gatecrashes the walls and a healthy dose of cigarette smoke and ten foot tall graffiti stains the walls; this is the real deal.
There’s a real community spirit around the Ruin Bars and the patrons range from retirees stopping by for a coffee, to university students on the hunt for a great bar. Here’s our pick of the best ruin bars Budapest. If you’ve got any more suggestions, we’d love to hear them in comments!
Szimpla Bar is the original and (some say) the best of the Ruin Bars. It has evolved over the years and has a big focus on craft beer, music and fashion. These days you’re likely to find a farmer’s market, film screenings and pizza, cooked in a wood fired oven.
Friday beer discounts and the hottest party people m make Ellato Kert one of the hottest tickets in town. They owners have thought of everything here, even adding a rooftop in the chilly winter months, so you can visit all year round.
Kuplung which translates to clutch in English is a cool bar in an old garage. Famous for its friendly bartenders, live music and graffiti walls, this place is packed every weekend.
Part bar, part concert hall, part university classroom, you’ll find a little bit of everything at the Kossuth Club on Muzeum Utca. The Kossuth Club has partnership with world music clubs around Europe so you’re likely to find everything from jazz, to funk, underground and folk. A must-visit for any music fan.
Fogasház on Akacfa utca has been at the heart of cool in the Hungarian capital over the last year or so. A big favourite for locals and the ever-growing Erasmus crew, it retains its hipster credentials despite its popularity. With ping pong, fusball and pizza by the slice, it’s a good all day, or all night venue.
Kertem is right beside Budapest Zoo and in the middle of a park. Although it’s just a few minutes from Heroes’ Square, it feels like worlds away and it doesn’t get any cooler than cheap drinks, free gigs and fairy light strung trees outdoors on a warm summer evening.
For the ultimate guide to Budapest’s Ruin Bars, visit RuinPubs.com.