When I first visited Budapest in the early 2000s, there appeared to be no alternative bars, actually, there were very few proper bars. There were, of course, many Bar Restaurants, the odd Cocktail Bar and Nightclubs but there were only a few genuine bars. The emergence of Ruins Bars in Budapest filled this void and also helped to give Budapest a reputation of having some of the best nightlife in Europe. Visiting a Ruin bar is now considered one of the top tourist attractions in Budapest.
History of the Ruin Bars in Budapest
Ruin Bars were first established in old dilapidated buildings in District VII of Budapest. District VII had been the Jewish Quarter and during World War 2 it was the Jewish Ghetto. After the Jews were deported out of the Ghetto, their buildings were left to rot and most of them were not renovated during the communist times.
It all started with Szimpla Kert, the first and some say still the best ruin bar. In the 2000s, a run-down building on Kazinczy Street in District VII was saved from demolition by a group of local businessmen looking to open up a bar/cultural centre. Rather than completely renovating the building, they chose to work with it in its dilapidated state adding the photogenic furniture and decorations. Out of this, a new generation of bars was born.
What is a Ruin Bar?
A Ruin bar will typically have run-down furniture and be decorated with a lot of retro memorabilia. Most of them have a beer garden and are relatively cheap, although the newest ruin bars seem to be more upmarket and in turn more expensive. Ruin Bars tend to be very colourful and photogenic. A lot of them are cultural centres, some host live music and others are clubs. The benchmark for Ruins Bar in Budapest is still Szimpla Kert (the first Ruin Bar) and it is still one of the best ruin bars in Budapest.
The 10 Best Ruin Bars in Budapest
1. Szimpla Kert
Szimpla Kert was the first Ruin Bar to open in Budapest. Right from the beginning, Szimpla had a goal of changing the nightlife landscape in Budapest and thus turning Szimpla into a cultural centre. They converted an old factory into a huge open-air cinema and bar where concerts, theatre shows and many different cultural events are hosted.
The complex also includes a Farmers' Market, a recently opened cafe and in the upstairs rooms you will see art exhibitions of contemporary artists work.
- Opening Hours: 12 noon to 4 am Mon to Fri & 9 am to 4 am Sat & Sun
- Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
- Website: szimpla.eu
This ruin bar had to move probably because it's landlord would not renew its lease. Luckily for them, another ruin bar called Fogas ház had some extra space and allowed Instant to move in.
Instant got to keep its unique identity with underground electronic music with psychedelic lighting and Fogas ház keeps its own identity. With Instant and Fogas ház now in the same building, this is easily the larger Ruin Bar complex in Budapest.
- Opening Hours: 4 pm to 6 am daily
- Address: Budapest, Akácfa u. 49-51, 1072 Hungary
- Website: instant-fogas.com
3. Fogas Ház
Fogas Ház was founded in 2009, but since then it's has gone through many transformations. This building complex now hosts four different Ruin Bars/Clubs all with their own unique identity: Fogaskert, Instant, Robot, and Lärm.
Fogaskert can provide you with the more "traditional" ruin bar experience with worn-out furniture, lots of weird memorabilia, and cheap beer. Instant features a unique ruin bar experience with light shows and electronic music. If you want to catch a rock music show, then Robot is the venue for you and if you are looking for more Electronic music Lärm is the place for you.
If you are looking for a more chilled out "traditional" Ruin Bar Grandio is the place for you. However, it does have a reputation for wild parties late into the night. Grandio is also a hostel. It has a large courtyard which is surrounded by the balconies of the hostel rooms.
Grandio's Bar is decorated with the usual rundown furniture and some unique murals and art pieces. A good idea might be to stay in a dorm bed (in the hostel), that you can crawl into after a hard night in the bar.
- Opening Hours: claims to be open 24/7
- Address: Budapest, Nagy Diófa u. 8, 1075 Hungary
- Website: facebook.com/GrandioJungleGrillBar
5. Mazel Tov
Mazel Tov's is for people who like the Ruin bar concept but who prefer it to be more stylish. I think that they are trying to create a new kind of ruin pub. Here you will not find run-down furniture and old junk on the walls, but a carefully thought out design.
The Bar serves menu Middle Eastern cuisine that caters to all diets be it vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores. It is located next door to Fogas ház in the Jewish Quarter.
- Opening Hours: 12 noon to 1 am Mon to Wed & 10 am to 1 am Thurs to Sun
- Address: Budapest, Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Hungary
- Website: mazeltov.hu
As with Mazel Tov, Doboz is a more upmarket Ruin Bar. It has more of a contemporary design while still retaining some of the characteristics of a tradition ruin bar. Doboz situated along Klauzál Street and is one of the largest party venues of District VII. It was named after a large red box-shaped piece of art located in the venue ("doboz" means box in Hungarian). The standout attraction of Doboz is the King Kong sculpture which hangs from a tree in the middle of the garden.
- Opening Hours: Closed Sun & Mon, 5 pm to 2 am Tues, 5 pm to 5 am Wed & Thurs, 5 pm to 6 am Fri & Sat
- Address: Budapest, Klauzál u. 10, 1072 Hungary
- Website: facebook.com/doboz/
7. Dürer Kert
Dürer Kert is situated in the former University building and has become established as one of the most vibrant clubs of recent years. Dürer hosts live shows (on the garden stage), DJ sets (there are multiple dance floors), and various other events. Similar to most of the other ruin bars, Dürer has a large (pebbled) beer garden.
- Opening Hours: Hours vary so check the Opening Hours page on their website
- Address: Budapest, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21, 1146 Hungary
- Website: durerkert.com/en/
8. Ankert romkocsma
Anker't is a ruin bar on a pleasant Budapest backstreet relatively close to both the grand Andrassy Avenue and the gritty Jewish Quarter. Anker't claims to have the largest beer garden in Budapest. The beer garden is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the bar/club that includes an indoor hall, a total of four bars, a dance floor and two food stalls, one of them is a burger joint and the other serves vegan pizzas.
9. Csendes Vintage Bar & Café
Csendes is yet another popular ruin bar located close to the centre of Budapest. This is a must relaxed and chilled out ruin bar. This high-ceilinged Bar/Cafe space used to be a grand coffee house during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which makes the current ruin bar decor, featuring creepy dolls hanging upside down from the walls, all the more weird and unusual.
- Opening Hours: Mon to Wed 10 am to 12 am, Thurs, Fri & Sat 10 am to 2 am, Sun 10 am to 12 am.
- Address: Budapest, Ferenczy István u. 5, 1053 Hungary.
- Website: csend.es
10. Szatyor Bar
Szatyor Bar is located on the other side of the Danube in Buda. This definitely looks like your typical ruin bar but it is more upmarket than usual ruin bars you find in District VII. The food menu is small but the dishes are good but more expensive than usual ruin bar prices. They also have a large selection of craft beers. Szatyor Bar attracts a slightly older crowd than most rather ruin bars.
- Opening Hours: Tues to Sat 12 pm to 1 am, Sun & Mon 12 pm to 12 am.
- Address: Budapest, Bartók Béla út 36, 1111 Hungary.
- Website: facebook.com/szatyorbar/
Please note that the Kertem, Filter Klub and Corvin Club ruin bars are now permanently closed and Kuplung is currently looking for a new location.
I hope that you enjoyed our list of the best ruin bars in Budapest. These are in no particular order, as they are all good in their own unique way. My personal favourite is Doboz.
Book Your Trip to Budapest
Book Your Accommodation
To book a hostel in Budapest, always use HostelWorld to get the best possible price. If you wish to stay in a hotel, use Booking.com to find the cheapest rates. Below is a selection of my favourite hostels in Budapest.
- Hostel One Budapest - Best overall hostel in Budapest.
- Fifth Hostel - Best cheap hostel in Budapest.
- Hostel One Basilica - Best hostel for solo travellers.
- Grandio Party Hostel - Best party hostel in Budapest.
Recommended Tours in Budapest
I recommend GetYourGuide for Tours. They offer highly unique tours with Local Guides. Below are a selection of some of the most interesting tours in Budapest.
- Small Group Ruin Bar Tour - Wander through Budapest's atmospheric Jewish Quarter stopping in at many of the best known ruin bars in budapest.
- Széchenyi Spa Full-Day Entrance Pass - Skip the queue at Budapest's world-famous thermal spring spa, Széchenyi Bath. It's the largest thermal spring bath complex in Europe, it comprises 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools.
- 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink - See the sights of Budapest from the River Danube on a 1-hour sightseeing cruise, and enjoy a seasonal cocktail or soft drink along the way.
- St Stephen's Basilica Tour with Tower Access - Skip the queue and take a guided tour of Saint Stephen's Basilica including an exclusive visit to its dome and enjoy panoramic views of Budapest.
- Original Budapest Pub Crawl and VIP Club Entrance - Discover the best ruin bars of Budapest on this 4-hour pub crawl of the city center, and then enjoy VIP entrance to one of the best clubs in town!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, cancellations and much more. I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance.
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