What Are Ruin Bars?
This might sound like these bars are literally set up between ancient ruins, but they are called like this because they operate in run-down buildings. Once you step inside, you'll find yourself in a maze of junkyard artifacts. It's bizarre and styled trashy, yet creative, urban. Usually they are packed with mismatched furniture, have an artsy vibe and are located in the Jewish quarter that was left to decay after WWII. Today, the most famous is Szimpla kert (opened in 2002), where we used to hang out four times per week during our college years, but the original one was Pótkulcs (open since 2001), that was (and is) a lot harder to find. Since these courtyards are sometimes in parking lots during the summer, or are rented out, many come and go or emerge in a different form. Kuplung has closed, Instant has moved, Corvin roof is not open for now. There are fancy ruin bars as well. Let's see which ruin bars you should or could visit in 2019.
Szimpla Kert - The Famous One
Szimpla kert was born as one of the first ruin pubs in 2002. According to Lonely Planet it's the third best bar in the world. Even though from the outside you'll only see a run-down building with a yellow sign, inside the walls are covered in writing and scratch marks, there's a trabant car turned into a table, a dwarf on a swing, a bike above your head.. the electric jungle room brings visual arts, a bath-tub functions as a seating option. Sundays there's a farmer's market with live music until 2pm. You can come to Szimpla kert every night of the week, even on Sunday or Monday. There’s a nice message on the rooftop inside the courtyard, brought to you by an old lady with an umbrella. Look up! ;)
Fogas/Instant - The Largest One
This one's a massive ruin pub / dance club, with an open-air area, numerous bars and dancefloors, so it's easy to get lost inside. There's different kind of music everywhere. From Thu-Fri-Sat are the best nights to come here (except for the summer when it's poppin' even on Sunday). If you go to the restroom, a lady will give you toilet paper, tipping is not obligatory but you'll kind of feel weird if you don't. It is what it is. Bring your ID and show your bags at the entrance - you don't have to pay only if you'd like to skip the line.
Grund - The One in District 8
For those who like it all in one, Grund is a great place to go. At its core, it's a beer garden. Sitting with a sparkling beer or a cooling lemonade under a sun umbrella gives you a nice feeling of summer even in spring. It's a perfect place to sit back, relax, and just do nothing for a while – a thing we don't do often enough in today's society. Ironically Google's Budapest HQ is right next door to this laid-back garden. It is inside the complex, which is like a maze: you can enter through a playground, get to an indoor bar and club next, go further and there's a secluded garden, turn around and you'll end up playing laser tag: a great example of Budapest in a nutshell!
Ankert - The Minimalist (closed)
With its clean interior and big spaces this is a bit different in style than the usual ruin pub with a bunch of random stuff inside. Located in a former factory, Ankert has two courtyards with a large bar as you step in. One of the courtyards is open-air, the other one boasts a dance-floor inside. You can play an escape game downstairs and bring your bikes inside to lock them safely. They serve vegan pizza and host vegan markets on Sundays. Look for the big A sign!
Grandio - The Leafy Courtyard
You'll find Grandio in a 19th-century building that was used as a school and later as a hospital in WW2. It hosted a party hostel for years, the hidden courtyard featured cool deco: a carrot statue, a big shovel, cherries, lions, masks, portraits, plush animals, books.. and great food! This is a great spot if you want to have a drink before in the summer season.
Hidden behind brick walls overrun with ivy, one of the OG ruin bars off the beaten path is where locals go to mingle. It boasts an open-air beer garden with wild grapes, funky furniture and decor. One of the lampshades was actually a present from Robert Pattinson who was here to shoot Bel Ami. He exchanged it for a hand drawing which advertised Pótkulcs aka Spare key on the door.
Csendduring the day, bar at night.
Which ruin bars in Budapest have closed down?
Details fill follow soon on..
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