Best ruin bars in Budapest
Ruin bars have no official definition yet, but if we try to describe it, a ruin bar is a bar, a pub if you like, situated inside or next to an old building, and using its crumbly walls, paving and atmosphere as interior. Ruin bars are decorated with many different type of objects, from handmade paper statues to foreign licence plates, from unique lanterns to grandma's old standard lamp - anything you can imagine. Your seat might have started life as a boat, bathtub, or even a trabant car, or just be comfy squashy armchairs (mismatched, of course.) If the walls aren't covered with pictures and objects than they are painted usually by young contemporary artists. The illumination in these bars is usually low, that makes them more intimate. The furnitures are also old and varied. But this all together, that everything is different somehow yet whole and relational. As you may think, it is very hard to write it down, so it's better if you visit them. Here come the best nine:
Szimpla Garden [pron. simp-lah]
You may already heard about the Szimpla Kert, the most famous ruin bar in Budapest, and the one Lonely Planet chosen to the 100 best bars of the world toplist. Well, it's true Szimpla has a very unique atmosphere, and it's quite a large place. Szimpla is situated in the downtown, next to Astoria, in the Kazinczy Street.
Instant [pron. insh-tahnt]
Being in the instant is a pretty surreal experience. Varied decoration in every corner. You can't decide it is a western pub, or a large house party. Instant has several floors and rooms, you can almost get lost. The main difference to the Szimpla is that here's usually a party in the night, sometimes with famous foreign djs an mcs. You will find Instant on the Nagymező Street.
Púder [pron. poo-der]
Interior of Púder looks like it's also spontaneous, little chaotic, but artistic and naughty. It's designed by a contemporary artist Bertalan Babos Zsili. The walls all overpainted, the decorations are oversized, but this together is the Púder (means powder), a cool ruin bar on Ráday Street, already a popular place for pavement cafés. At night there are theatrical performances and DJs.
Grandio [pron. gran-dee-o]
The Grandio is inside the inner garden of a typical hundred years old house of Budapest. Green plants, leanders and trees (shady in the summertime), original ruinpub furnishing, and an extra large burger to eat, the Grandio. The pub includes a party hostel and club for concerts. Look for it on Nagydiófa Street.
Dürer Garden [pron. du-rare]
Set up in the Ajtósi Dürer Street next to the City Park in the former building of ELTE University. Dürer Garden has so much for you, such as table tennis, table football, shady garden with a large projector, and a wide range of concerts and parties from indie to electro, from reggae to hardcore.
Yellow Zebra Bikes and Bar
This new underground ruin bar serves good micro-brews down below Kazinczy Street, a few blocks down Dohany steet from the Great Synagogue. The American owners run a bicycle-rental business out of the same premises, and you can see that the old arched cellar is inventively decorated with odd bits of bicycle-inspired decor: the metal legs of the tables are bike frames, there is even a bike-chain chandelier!
Fogas Ház [pron. foh-gash]
Varied furnitures and decoration, different types of lamps, weird objects hanging from the ceiling. Imitating a residential community place. But even so you can find in Fogas Ház an art gallery, table tennis room. Fogas Ház focusing on its cultural character instead of the ruin bar trait. So they organize exhibitions and screening movies. Fogas Ház is in the Kertész Street.
Spíler [pron. shpee-lehr]
A higher quality place among ruin bars. Eclectic design, handcrafted beers, classic chat-bistro for everyone in the Gozsdu Garden, in the 7th district.
Csendes [pron. tshen-desh]
You will find this small, but lovely place close to Astoria. The classic interior is spiced up with vintage and contemporary decoration. The eclectic interior with dim light and soft chill-out music makes the place really intimate, and as the names says: silent.
More ruin bars in Budapest: