If you’ve managed to Google even one thing about Budapest, then you probably already know about the ruin bars. Tucked away in the Jewish Ghetto of the Pest side of the River Danube, the bars are an array of old abandoned buildings, left behind after the Jewish community were forced out during World War II. Filled with quirky and random props (boats and cars in some instances), mis matched bar stools and tables, cheap beer and some interesting extras, they ooze Hungarian charm.
After an amazing time checking them all out, I decided to share my eight faves. So without further a due…
The most popular of the ruin bars, this multi-level bar offers everything from burger and mexican food to live music, to hookah’s and raw carrots – I’m not kidding, they brought around raw carrots saying it was some kind of tradition. They host special music events and other unique events such as Sunday markets, so make sure to check their website or Facebook page for more info. It was voted the 3rd best bar in the world by Lonely Planet in 2012 and is the 2nd best attraction in the whole of Budapest according to TripAdvisor.
This bar set in a huge courtyard, is surrounded by one of Budapest’s four party hostels. Grandio Party Hostel is an affordable place to stay for backpackers wanting to party, because it never stops here. Just don’t expect the cleanest environment. The space is filled with trees and fairy lights, perfect for summer drinks.
The largest of the ruin bars with 26 rooms, Instant is the place to be in the later hours of any night of the week. If you take part in the famous pub crawl, this is where you will end up. The bar is more like a club, with a handful of different rooms spread out throughout the multi-level space. Find a bunch of rabbits running above your head and a half-angel-half-owl watching you dance in the main area, head to the underground dungeon for some deeper house music, or maze through the corridors up stairs to find tucked away rooms.
This bar used to be a car repair shop and is super fun. In my opinion, it has the most delicious menu of cocktails of any of the ruin bars. Behind the outdoor area there is a large room with a dance floor, large enough to house a whale. And they prove that with the huge skeleton of one hanging over head.
5. Fogas Haz
This spot is fast becoming one of the more popular bars in Budapest. There’s a huge tree to shelter you in the courtyard with old school lights hanging from its branches and your surrounded by scaffolding on every wall as well as some quirky signs and art pieces. A nice open, fun space. And they even had popcorn!
Retox is one of the other three party hostels which – like Grandio – is not somewhere you stay to sleep. It’s a little more busy than Grandio due to the smaller space and not as much seating, and a lot of the pub crawls will stop here. Make sure to get there on a Sunday for their famous Jagger train.
7. Ellato Kert
We stumbled upon this cute and colorful beer garden bar on our way to Kuplung from Szimpla and decided to grab a drink. On a warm summers night it was a perfect place to sit and relax with friends, taking in the cool graffiti and artworks that surround the space. Extra points for the cool boat in the middle that you could actually sit in.
The most elegant of the ruin bars, this place has been modernized with an industrial look. Black and wooden furnishings and decor compliment the old brick work that make it easy on the eye. More for the girls, it’s the perfect place for a nice meal and a cocktail.