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The top 5 ruin bars in Budapest

As the weather is getting cooler and the outdoor facilities will be closing around mid-October, you might as well start looking for an all-in-one venue, where you can sip your wine and pints in an “undisturbed” environment. The ruin bars not only share a laid-back atmosphere, but an all-night long entertainment is guaranteed: concerts, shows, people gathering from all around the world giving that unique vibe you will never find somewhere else. But why are ruin bars still so popular in Budapest?

Basically from the outside, these bars – aka romkocsma in Hungarian – look like normal houses, some of them don’t even have neon signs showing the way in, you won’t see people waiting in line to enter or the music playing. As you get  in further and enter the inner courtyard, you will find yourself in the middle of something totally different, some of them reminding you of a scene from Alice in Wonderland with furniture hanging upside down from the ceiling, artsy and colourful enterior design with Mexican wallpaintings and Mardi Gras-esque beads and masks, a funky bar bustling with crowds talking, dancing, and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere. There will be definitely large teddy-bear “lookalike” bouncers inside – at Mika Tivadar the Sssh Clown – reminding you to be quiet on your way out, so you won’t disturb the neighbours.

These bars have a tailored personality, however the recipe is the same: find an old, abandoned place, rent it out, fill up a bar with spirits and enough lager – nowadays the craft beers and IPAs are the must haves -, get some eclectic flea market furniture, get to know some underground, graffiti  and street art artists to come and leave their mark on the walls and ceiling, add in some weird antiques and watch people flock in. Since all these bars used to be in abandoned buildings, they used to open and close and sometimes move to a new location according to the neighbours finding out and complaining about the noise or when an investor came and bought the property to renovate it.

When you’re in these bars, you don’t feel like odd, you are drinking from the people next door, engage in conversations with the guy next to you and the bartender will know your name after the next round. The best ruin pubs offer live music or DJs on the weekends, as well as film nights and art exhibitions. Some even have light food and hostel accommodations. Most of the ruin bars are located behind the Great Synagogue, at the Jewish Quarter in district 7.

We recommend you to visit Szimpla Kert, which is the oldest one, Csendes for its vintage vibe, EllátóHáz as there is always a concert or a Dj on and you can even be a guest above, at the Hive Hostel, Fogas Ház – Instant being the biggest ruin bar collaboration in Budapest with lots of different rooms, escape rooms and Alice in Wonderland feeling. FYI on Sunday mornings Szimpla Kert holds a weekly farmer’s market and Anker’t screens films and holds vegan and flea markets.

Photo: Pixabay

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