The Best Ruin Bars in Budapest
Budapest, a city well known for its thermal baths and beautiful architecture. Whilst these are still fantastic draws to the city, these days, the Hungarian capital attracts crowds of tourists to explore its unique drinking scene. Budapest’s ruin bars are dotted around the city, offering crazy cheap drinks and an experience you won’t forget. So, if you’re looking for the best ruin bars in Budapest, carry on reading.
Built in the ruins of abandoned buildings, the majority of Budapest’s ruin bars lay in the Old Jewish Quarter (District VII). After the deportation of thousands of Jews in the years following WWII, the Old Jewish Quarter was filled with crumbling and discarded buildings.
The story goes, that a bunch of men wanted a cheap and cheerful place to drink, so what better place than an abandoned building. The very first and original ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, opened its doors in 2001 and after changing locations, eventually settled in the Old Jewish Quarter (District VII) in 2004. Then began the now-legendary ruin bar scene.
What Are Ruin Bars?
Each ruin bar has its own unique vibe and reason for visiting. Although, they all have certain things in common. A ruin bar is located in an abandoned building, offers cheap drinks, is filled with old furniture and strange decorations and has crazy art that fills the walls, ceiling, floor and just about anything you can see.
One of the cool things about ruin bars is that from the outside, you’d have no idea that it’s a bar! In fact, you could easily walk past none the wiser. But, once you walk inside, you won’t believe your eyes. These unassuming buildings house tourists and locals alike, dancing and drinking, creating a cool bustling crowd that you’ll want to join.
After 15 years since their first appearance, ruin bars are a lot more popular these days with some more modern and elegant ‘ruin bars’ popping up. Nevertheless, ruin bars, no matter their type, are an integral part of the city and one of our favourite things to explore!
We visited a number of ruin bars during our latest trip to the city and have put together our ultimate guide of the best ruin bars in Budapest to help you choose where to go.
The Best Ruin Bars In Budapest
Szimpla Kert – @SzimplaKert
The king of Budapest’s ruin bars. Szimpla Kert was the first ruin bar in Budapest and maybe even the craziest to date. Decorated with bizarre and strange ornaments, this place will set your senses crazy. With 9 different bars spanning 2 floors, each separate area is different from the other, all decorated in their own wacky way. You can choose to take a seat in a bathtub, in an old car or on top of a piano.
Despite its popularity, Szimpla Kert still offers cheap beer, making it a great place to drink during both day and night. If drinking isn’t your thing, visit on a Sunday for the Farmer’s market. Have a delicious breakfast and treat yourself to some great local produce.
Monday – Saturday: 12:00 – 04:00
Sunday: 9:00 – 04:00
Anker’t – @AnKertBudapest
Located in an almost 200-year-old building, Anker’t is a chilled-out courtyard by day and music venue by night. In the day you can come here for a chilled beer and some woodfired vegan pizza. By night, the DJ’s arrive and you’re free to party.
A great thing about Anker’t ruin bar is that it’s child and dog-friendly too!
Sunday – Tuesday 16:00 – 12:00
Wednesday – Thursday: 16:00 – 01:00
Friday 16:00 – 05:00
Saturday 16:00 – 03:00
Csendes Vintage Bar and Cafe – @CsendesVintageBar
Unlike most other ruin bars, Csendes is a smaller, single room bar catered more toward a quiet evening. The high ceilings, chandelier and funky decoration give this bar a unique vibe – especially the creepy upside-down hanging dolls!
The atmosphere is very chilled out, making it a great place for a quiet drink with friends. And…their extra cheap wine is also a selling point.
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 – 12:00
Friday: 10:00 – 02:00
Saturday 12:00 – 02:00
Sunday 12:00 – 12:00
Ellátó Kert – @EllatoKert
If you’re looking for a great bar to visit when the sun is shining, then this is it. Ellátó Kert has a large outdoor seating area, sells cheap beer and Mexican food. What more could you want?
Don’t worry, you can still visit this colourful joint in the colder months. Head inside and get comfy of the sofas or play a game of pool. Ellátó Kert really is an oasis from the bustling city.
Monday – Thursday 5:00 – 02:30
Friday – Saturday 5:00 – 04:00
Sunday – 5:00 – 12:00
Kőleves Garden – @Koleves
Located opposite Ellátó Kert, Kőleves Garden is another great outdoor bar and is essentially just a beer garden with a bar in the middle of it. Around the garden, there are colourful tables to sit at and even a few hammocks to laze around in. We really liked chilling at Koleves, for the open-air vibe…and their crazy cheap prosecco!
You can also order delicious food here or head next door to the Koleves restaurant for a sit-down meal.
Koleves Garden is open during the summer months however Koleves restaurant is open all year round.
Monday – Thursday 8:00 – 23:00
Friday 8:00 – 00:00
Saturday 9:00 – 00:00
Sunday – 9:00 – 23:00
Other cool places to drink in Budapest
Rumpus Tiki-Tiki Bar – @RumpusTikiBar
This bar is a must-visit if you’re looking for great cocktails in Budapest. As is the case with cocktails, they’re expensive, but you get what you pay for. The cocktails here are top quality, beautifully designed and strong as hell, so go easy on them!
Pontoon – @Pontoon_Budapest
Sitting on the bank of the River Danube, Pontoon is located right next to the chain bridge. Pontoon is an epic place to grab a beer, listen to some live music and watch the sun go down. Given its location, we expected it to be crazy expensive, though it’s surprisingly well priced. When the sun goes down, it turns into an open-air nightclub where you can party the night away!
Top tip: We recommend trying the traditional Hungarian Fröccs (soda water and wine).
Where to stay in Budapest:
Whether you’re visiting Budapest for a romantic break or as part of a backpacking tour, the city has accommodation for all budgets and needs.
Luxury – Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge
We stayed here during our first time in Budapest and it might be one of the reasons we loved our time in the city so much. Every aspect of the hotel is well thought out. The beds are, to this day, the comfiest we’ve ever stayed in. Above all else, the location of the Sofitel is perfect, close to the river bank and overlooking the Budapest chain bridge. The centre of the city and the famous Vaci Utca are just a few minutes walk away.
Mid Range – Budget – Meininger
They like to call themselves a hotel, but in truth, they’re a kind of hotel/hostel hybrid. There are private rooms and shared dormitories on offer and from experience, we found them to be clean and comfy. The Budapest Meininger is in a great location, a few minutes walk from Central Market Hall and Liberty Bridge.
Backpacker budget – Wombats Hostel
You’ll find private rooms as well as dorm rooms here. The Wombats hostel is located in the up and coming Jewish Quarter and is close to some of the cities best ruin bars. We found Wombats in other cities to have a younger, upbeat party crowd. Though it’s nothing too crazy, definitely not a ‘party hostel’ and a place where you can still have a comfortable night’s sleep.
For more accommodation in Budapest, you can check the latest prices here.
Airbnb is also a great option for those on a budget! Want to save £25 off your first Airbnb Booking? Use our referral code!
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