A glorious city that stretches dreamily along the wide Danube River, the capital of Hungary is a rich and historical destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. With something new to discover at every turn, the gorgeous architecture and electric vibe of the city make it easy to forget its difficult past. Budapest was occupied by German forces in WWII and later by the Soviet army, which resulted in the destruction of some of the cities wonderful infrastructure.
Decades on, Budapest is still a city in recovery. While many of its buildings have fallen to ruin over the years, some have been revitalised recently in an amazing trend that’s made Budapest a must-visit European drinking hole. Known as ruin bars, these bohemian pubs, rooftop bars, beer gardens and dance clubs have popped up all around the District VII neighbourhood just east of the river. Serving up cheap beers and local liqueurs as well as regional cuisine, they’re housed in abandoned buildings, old shopping centres and derelict parking lots.
If you fancy taking a break from relaxing in thermal baths and exploring the romantic architecture, step into one of these great bars and enjoy a drink among the ruins in Budapest.
Address: Budapest, Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Hungary
For a bite to eat in bright and airy surroundings, Mazel Tov in the Jewish Quarter is definitely worth a visit. With its brick exteriors, high ceilings and hanging greenery, the location alone makes this a spectacular place to enjoy an evening meal- the mouth-watering Middle Eastern menu is pretty attractive too. Mazel Tov also hosts many concerts and events here throughout the year, including the Jewish Summer Festival in late August.
Address: Budapest, Akácfa u. 49-51, 1072 Hungary
The biggest in the Budapest ruin bar collection, Instant is an extensive warren of bars, gardens and stages that stretches across 26 rooms. Once located in a dilapidated building on Nagymező Street, it recently merged with another popular ruin pub: Fogas Ház. With colourful art installations on the walls, a quirky mix of mismatched furniture and a wide music selection that caters to every taste, Instant is a prime nightlife spot for both visitors and locals alike. The free admittance is a bonus, too.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
A key location on the Budapest ruins bar crawl, Szimpla Kert is another drinking hole with multiple sides to it. Primarily a bar, its huge space includes plenty of cosy corners filled with old furniture and fascinating art. Located in an old factory building, it also features a cinema, a Saturday flea market and regular musical performances due to the great acoustics. Go for the eclectic décor and to try shots of the local fruit brandy, Palinka.
Address: Budapest, Blaha Lujza tér 1-2, 1085 Hungary
If you’re after somewhere to dance the night away until the early hours, Corvin Club is ideal. This popular club is housed on top of the Communist-era Corvin shopping centre and accessed via a cargo elevator. The interiors feature industrial style motifs, and there’s a spacious roof terrace for when you need a bit of air and a cool drink. From electro parties to rooftop cinema showings, there’s always something going on at this ruin bar.
Address: Budapest, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21, 1146 Hungary
Know for its impressive gigs and live concerts, Dürer Kert is a typical ruin bar with its laidback vibe and mismatched interiors. Once a popular drinking spot for students, it’s since evolved into a thriving music location where both young and old go to enjoy cheap beer and great musical acts. The large garden area with its enticing hammocks is its biggest draw, while the various games on offer -including ping pong and pétanque – are always a hit too.