The “Ruin Pub” phenomenon in Hungary’s capital began a little over a decade ago. An abundance of abandoned buildings provided creative artists and businessmen the opportunity to convert these structures into low-key clubs/bars starting out with some second hand/discarded furniture and retro lighting displays.
Since the start of the trend, ruin pubs have been setting up all over Budapest with great success providing a hip and trendy nightlife for both locals and tourists alike.
It is widely recognized that Szimpla Kert is the most recognized of all ruin pubs. It was first opened in 2002 and started in a small property to get the business off the ground. In 2004 the pub moved and relocated to Kazinczy Street, an area that has become one of the cities busiest party districts. The majority of guidebooks and Budapest tourist city maps will have Szimpla Kert marked down as a place you should certainly consider visiting.
The clientele within the pub is a mix between Hungarians and tourists. Naturally from the amount of publicity the bar has received it of course takes a large influx of tourists in a daily basis whether they are stopping to look around or seeking a place to chill and have a few drinks.
As you walk down a dim passageway that corresponds with your map you will realize that this is the main entrance to the ruin bar, the signage is subtle but effective. Upon walking into the main atrium of the pub it looks more like a junkyard or second hand workshop than a premises that serves food and drink.
A diverse blend of rustic furniture, old doors, rusty bicycles and many works of art combine together to create a vibe and atmosphere I had never experienced before. It is definitely a highly unique place to visit and from the moment I walked in I wanted to explore the entire building.
You are free to walk around the first and second floors and there are multiple bars on each floor but during the daytime they are not serving due to the fact that the bar is not too busy on a week day afternoon.
As you wander around there are very unusual but interesting pieces of art that hang on the walls, several light displays and neon painted objects that glow in the dark.
Graffiti is spread across many of the walls and this adds to the grunge, grimy vibes that the whole “Ruin Pub” theme is going for.
I understand fully why this pub is recommended in guidebooks and I can safely say that I 100% recommend it to anyone who is visiting Budapest. Whether you decide to visit at a relaxed quite time during the day or during the bustling nighttime, I believe you will fully enjoy the ruin pub experience.
How to get there:
Take the metro line M2 to Astoria station and Szimpla Kert is a short walk away.
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