Budapest’s illustrious Jewish quarter was set to have many of its decrepit buildings bulldozed to the ground. That all changed when a few like-minded innovators had a ground-breaking idea that would transform the city forever.
Instead of seeing an abandoned structure destroyed, the friends spruced it up by adding tacky, oddly paired furnishings and bizarre antiques. The crumbling building was given a new life and a new type of drinking space was created in the process.
Fast forward nearly 20 years later, Budapest is crawling with ruin bars and the city’s nightlife has resonated with the traveling community.
Read below to see five of the most popular ruin bars located in Budapest.
1. Szimpla Kert
The ruin bar that started it all! Szimpla Kert went from a group of friends looking for a unique place to open a bar to a cultural phenomenon. A deteriorated, abandoned building in the middle of Budapest’s historic Jewish quarter was saved from demolition and now plays host to the city’s iconic watering hole.
Szimpla Kert first opened its innovative drinking space in 2002 with the simple goal to provide a platform for Budapest’s alternative scene to thrive. Creative minds from all walks of life were welcomed with open arms in this new cultural space. Decorated with mismatched furnishings and eccentric antiques, the decaying building was reborn.
It took a few years for the trend to make its mark on the Budapest night scene but Szimpla Kert has forever changed the city’s party scene. And the culture shifting icon has continuously evolved since its opening.
Today, you’ll find a Farmers’ Market and weekly concerts that showcase rising local talents.
Those who walk through the doors of Anker’t are greeted with a friendly vibe, delicious food and loads of entertainment.
Although the facility is located just outside the Jewish quarter, it has all the makings of a ruin bar. The crumbling walls surrounding the spacious courtyard are expertly camouflaged by the charming décor.
The courtyard serves as the focal gathering point for a slightly mature crowd that congregate to the location’s four bars. Tables and chairs provide ample sitting space for hungry visitors looking for some grub. You’ll find everything from burgers to vegan delights served at the bar’s food stalls.
There is also enough space for partygoers to bust a move on the dance floor. Some of the most popular DJs on the local scene make appearances and put on an electric show.
3. Szatyor Bar
You’ll have to skip across the river to the Buda side to reach this snazzy ruin bar, but its artsy atmosphere is worth it. Dynamic pieces of artwork decorate the interior design and first-class service make it stand out as one of the city’s best.
Away from Budapest’s raging party scene, Szatyor Bar attracts a more sophisticated crowd. Naturally, the food and beer selection are on par with the mature crowds that mingle in Buda’s calmer environment.
Selections like rose duck breast and venison steak with mushroom highlight the full course menu. The drink menu is a dream for coffee and craft beer lovers with an endless choice of local favorites.
The artistic mystique of Szatyor Bar goes back generations with its famous neighbour, Hadik. This historic café played host to some of Budapest’s featured writers of the early-20th century and adds a unique characteristic to this ruin bar.
4. Fogas Ház
This is where the true partiers in Budapest can be found on a raucous Friday or Saturday night. Music is blaring at this energetic disco club until six in the morning and takes center stage on Budapest’s nightlife strip.
With seven dancefloors and over a dozen bars, you’ll never miss a minute of the action. Worldly travelers have flocked to Fogas Ház’s chaotic scene and it now feels like an International club instead of a traditional ruin bar. However, the walls of the building are in disarray and peculiar artwork decorates the inside much like a typical ruin bar.
The bar’s courtyard plays host to numerous beloved musical acts that have taken the Budapest world by storm. You’ll spot world-renowned DJs, rock bands and electronic music pumping up the audience.
Read more on the Fogas Ház website for all updated information on Budapest’s most coveted all-night party.
The final place on our list might just be the coolest spot to grab cocktails in Budapest. Its chic furnishings and a festive party scene make it a popular outing for any night out in the Jewish quarter.
A mammoth tree engulfs one of the open spaces and creates one of the most photogenic settings of any Budapest ruin bar. When you walk inside, brightly lit rooms with odd decorations hypnotize guests onto the dance floor.
Like our last entry, the party at Doboz does not stop till the break of dawn. Whether you’re into hip hop, electronic or something in between, there is sure to be music genre to get your groove on.