You might have already heard of a phenomenon called ruin pubs or ruin bars. If so you’re in the know and probably already spent a night or two in one when you had the chance to visit Budapest, or maybe you read about them online on a Blog just like mine and thought: “If I ever get to visit Budapest I will absolutely go to one of these ruin bars!”.
If you don’t know what a ruin pub is let me get you in the know: these are bars intentionally set in buildings and gardens that were left to ruin with furniture and various decorations from the past. Usually you can’t really find two of the same kinds of seats, tables and so on. This brings a very special atmosphere to the place where you can hang out with your friends, meet new ones or even just grab a cup of coffee in an environment you most likely won’t experience again outside Budapest.
That’s right, it all started in Budapest and most of the tourists love visiting ruin pubs. Why wouldn’t you? Everyone loves visiting places that they couldn’t go to outside of their vacation. It’s kind of like wanting to visit the Pyramids of Giza in England. I know, this might be a little bit of stretch, but you get what I’m saying.
I’ve been to various ruin pubs in Budapest and in other cities in Hungary, and they all have a unique vibe. You would be surprised how differently owners can decorate these places. I’ve even seen one that has old cars like Trabant cut in half that you can sit in. That’s right, they didn’t just bring the seats of the ruined car into the ruin bar, but the whole one. Well, at least half of it.
Some people even said that ruin bars are the best places to visit in Budapest, that are free. Well while we can really look at them just for their beauty and uniqueness and technically they are free to visit you most likely will order something while you’re there, so the free part isn’t really true. But still, if you stretch it a little you can look at them like you’re in a museum and you don’t have to pay an entry fee.
But enough of the teasing, you’re probably already sold and would like to visit some when you’re staying in Budapest, so here are my recommendations.
Located in the heart of Budapest (where else would it be) is one of the most famous ruin bars of Budapest, Szimpla. And by one of the most famous I mean this title is rightfully theirs, as this place delivers on everything you would look for in a ruin bar. Let’s start with its name, Szimpla kert, which literally means Simple garden. The place is located in a building with a huge garden area left for ruin of course. It was one of the first places to hop on the trend in 2004 and it paved the way for others.
What’s more of an argument to visit this ruin bar in Budapest that once it was voted to be the 3. best pub in the world by Lonely Planet.
You can even have a culinary trip here as there’s a great street food court right next to Szimpla kert. So, if you’ve had enough of the old atmosphere and the drinks you can grab a great burger or even classic Hungarian dishes next door.
Another great ruin pub in Budapest is Fogasház, which just recently merged with another great bar, Instant, so if you go there you can enjoy the greatness of two ruin pubs in one place.
While Szimpla kert is more like a chill place to be Fogasház has different areas for you to have fun. It has a huge garden with old furniture of course where you can have a drink or a coffee and talk with your loved ones, some inside areas that are a little bit more separated than sitting in the open, but they kind of serve the same purpose and a separated big free area which transforms into a disco every night, so you can even party if you’re into it.
Maybe at night this place is more for people in their twenties or early thirties, but before the party kicks everyone can enjoy Fogasház in their own pace.