A visit to Budapest is not complete without trying one of the city’s famous Ruin Bars, places to have a drink or something to eat that have been set up in abandoned and now disused buildings. The historical center of the city of Budapest, in fact, boasted several buildings many of them dating back to the time of Soviet rule that were no longer used and were in a dilapidated state. Some residents, therefore, came up with the idea of taking over these buildings, securing them and turning them into bars or pubs where they could meet for drinks and hold events.
Former factories now abandoned, buildings or buildings have been creatively taken over and furnished often with second-hand or recycled materials and have now become bars or exhibition spaces where exhibitions, literary events, performances and many other activities can be organized. In this way, over time, “Ruin Bars” have become a real attraction in the city. Here you can spend some relaxing time sipping a great drink, listen to live bands or go wild in dance nights, it all depends on the type of venue you choose!
The creation of several Ruin Pubs helped to give a new image to some areas of Budapest that were considered really run-down and made these areas more lively and frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Now these particular establishments are an absolute must-visit during a trip to discover the Hungarian capital, so we have decided to provide you with a mini-guide to the best Ruin Bars in the city!
Located in a former stove factory, Szimpla is one of the most famous Ruin Bars in town. This venue has been hosting live concerts and theatrical performances since the early 2000s, while the bar’s central courtyard features a marketplace with stalls selling vintage items.
Upstairs is the restaurant, which offers local cuisine and numerous preparations for vegetarians. On Sunday mornings the restaurant organizes excellent brunches while a farmers’ market selling local products is set up in the inner courtyard.
Less well-known than Szimpla Kert and, therefore, less touristy is the Élesztőház Pub, which is also a gathering place and cultural center. Élesztőház in Hungarian means “yeast” since a wide variety of beers are served here. Typically, the venue offers more than 20 types of the best Hungarian craft beer served.
Characterized by a somewhat underground atmosphere, Élesztőház is ideal for a night out with friends after a day out and about in the city. During evening hours, the pub also offers food service and you can eat great sandwiches, meat dishes and many other specialties.
Csendes Létterem is an atmospheric Ruin Bar located just a few steps from Kalvin Square in the heart of Budapest. This establishment differs from other Ruin bars as it opens from morning 10:00 am until late at night. In the mornings Csendes Létterem is a cozy cafeteria where to come for breakfast time or where many digital nomads come to work, in the evenings instead this place turns into a bohemian style venue.
The interior is very colorful and filled with contemporary art objects, toys and dozens of other second-hand things. “Csendes” means quiet in Hungarian, but this place in the evenings turns into a lively bar-restaurant with musical evenings and live music.
Located in Budapest’s 7th district, which is considered by many to be the neighborhood for nightlife lovers, Ellato Kert is one of the city’s most popular Ruin Pubs. The venue boasts both indoor seating and tables in the garden area where there is always a truly relaxing atmosphere.
Added to this is the Mexican food corner where you can eat burritos, tortillas and other great dishes. Evenings with live music and other literary or theatrical events are often organized here. One room has been set up as a game room with pool tables and foosball table to make the evenings really fun.
Kertem, which means “My Garden” in Hungarian, is a huge beer garden located inside the Budapest City Park. The place is not very popular with tourists, although it is not far from the Széchenyi Baths. Set amidst greenery and surrounded by tall poplars, Kertem is a true oasis of tranquility.
Many Hungarians come here to have a beer in total relaxation since being located within the Park the place is isolated from the noise of city traffic. Besides enjoying a good beer here it is also possible to eat sandwiches and burgers accompanied by great music. Theme nights are often organized and here the party can go on until late as neighbors are not disturbed.
Located in downtown Budapest, Anker’t is one of the largest Ruin Bars in Budapest and is housed in a huge former factory that also boasts a large beer garden. The building has retained its exposed brick walls while the interior decor is truly minimalist. The venue, which is located in the city center, is famous for hosting the best underground DJs and various theme nights.
The place is very popular with both locals and tourists. In addition to music dates, literary events, fashion-related events and many other special evenings are organized here. Anker’t is also popular in the vegan community as it hosts the “Sunday Vegan Food Markets” on Sundays, a market featuring vegan products and Vegazzi’s famous vegan pizzeria.
Kőleves Kert is a café located in the Jewish Quarter and has an extremely relaxed atmosphere. Outside there is a green garden with trees, plants and hammocks that are a great refuge during hot summer days. The beer is the highlight of this venue. The simple, minimalist décor and lively ambiance make Kőleves Kert a popular venue even with students who like to come here to have a drink with friends and make new friends.
Also in the Jewish Quarter is Fekete Kutya, which is very popular with locals but less known by tourists and therefore considered a hidden gem. It is not a very big bar but the atmosphere is really friendly, cozy and the family atmosphere.
Here you can drink excellent Hungarian shot beers, long drinks and wines accompanied by good food that includes local cuisine but also vegetarian options and lots of finger food. This Ruin Bar is a great inexpensive option for eating. Fekete Kutya means “black dog” and dogs are welcome inside the bar.
In the beginning Instant-Fogas was two different pubs (Fogas Ház and Instant) that later combined together to form one 1,200-square-meter pub. Located in District VII Instant-Fogas still features several areas coexisting in the same space. Fogas boasts a more classic and quiet atmosphere, while Instant is more eccentric.
During the day it’s nice to come here for a relaxing drink, while in the evening the place comes alive, becoming one of the busiest in the city, especially on weekends. The complex is also home to other themed bars and several dance floors: Larm (for techno lovers), Liebling (a quiet corner with drinks and snacks), Robot (dedicated to rock and metal) and Frame (for D&B, jungle, dubstep).
Budapest originally consisted of three cities (Buda, Pest, and Óbuda) that later merged into one. Óbuda is for all intents and purposes the oldest part of the city and a district where remnants of the ancient Roman period combine with Soviet and Communist-style buildings.
Kobuci is a venue located within the historic Zichy Palota garden in the oldest part of Budapest and has chosen to focus primarily on music since its opening. Local bands, alternative music and folk dance performances enliven the evenings at this pub. Kobuci is a summer venue, open from mid-April until October.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Discover the bars in the ruins of Budapest with these pub tours in the center: you get VIP entry to the hottest clubs and can enjoy free drinks in the company of people from all over the world!
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.