They don’t call Budapest a ‘late-night’ city for nothing, and Ruin Bars and Ruin Pubs are the main culprits for keeping people out late.
A firm favourite of both locals and visitors, Ruin Bars are set up in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores or lots, and many of them are open air. These quirky bars are all decorated with fairy lights, graffiti, plants, and mismatched items of furniture that have probably been scooped up from a junkyard.
You can find the Ruin Bars in the Jewish Quarter, in Pest. This is the most lively side of Budapest where there are just as many people out on the streets at night as there are in the daytime!
When Ben and I visited Budapest, we were keen to drink in as many Ruin Bars as possible. On our first night in Budapest we ventured out on a Ruin Bar crawl. Here is where we went…
(The photography gets worse and worse as I became more intoxicated!)
Ruin Bar #1: Szimpla Kert
This is a good starting point for a bar crawl, as Szimpla Kert is the best known Ruin Bar. It is huge and has multiple areas and bars for drinking, including an old car in the courtyard which has been converted into a booth with a table in the middle!
We stumbled across this bar. The main area was dissected by three long tables running along the length of the bar. It was good for meeting people and making friends with who you were sat next to!
There were arcade games in the rooms to each side of the main drinking area, so you could challenge someone to a game of air hockey or pool if you wanted to!
This Ruin Bar was easily the most beautiful one we went to. It was decorated like a garden with ivy hanging down the walls and cute fairy lights dripping down from the ceiling.
They serve food here too, so we earmarked it as a place to come back to.
We weren’t sure whether Fogas Ház was a Ruin Bar or a youth hostel! The main bar is in a courtyard overlooked by Cupid and a mermaid who were floating in the treetops and surrounded by twinkling lights.
Off the courtyard there are large rooms with DJs playing music, and a smaller room which looked like it may have been someone’s lounge before it got Ruined!
I think we only scratched the surface with Kuplung as we stumbled into the entrance-way, five pints in!
All I remember is the lights that looked like jelly fish floating above the tables, and a band were playing in the venue at the back of the bar.
Kuplung may look like your standard ruin of a bar, but there is more than meets the eye; they also have film screenings, performances and exhibitions here.
I don’t really remember Liebling – it was the last one of the night!
Did we even go here?
Púder is a few blocks further south than the other Ruin Bars, so we went here the next day for lunch (and another beer.)
It’s slightly different to the others because it is right on the road with seating and tables out the front. (The other bars were all reached by going through a tunnel-like long entrance way to a courtyard at the back.)
Ellátó Kert was predominantly open-air with a bar running round the perimeter. It was really cute with its different coloured lights, and the parasols overhead it felt very cosy.
Kőleves was the final Ruin Bar we made it to!
Kőleves is completely outside, so great for a warm evening. It was a quirky, ruined version of a pub garden!