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Budapest's Best Ruin Bars

POSTED ON 07.02.2019

The structure of the city– on one side of the Danube is Buda, the ancient part
safeguarded on a hill, and on the other, Pest, being the more modern and lively
area– tells us a story of two souls that live together in perfect harmony, one more
romantic and elegant, the other dynamic and innovative. These two souls give a
magnetic atmosphere enjoyed not only those who live there, but to those visiting as
tourists too.

First time in Budapest? Here are the must-sees
If you're visiting Budapest for the first time, there's no excuse for passing up all of
the city's traditional activities, those found in every guidebook. Get ready for the
relaxing thermal baths, delicious goulash, the vibrant nightlife, and an array of
different architectural styles, all a testament to a complex cultural identity, symbolic
of centuries of conflict and reform.
From bombed buildings to clubs: How the ruin bars were born
What if you've already been to Budapest and seen all the landmarks? Well then, it's
the perfect occasion to immerse yourself in the local culture, experiencing the more
rugged, less-touristy parts of the city. Did you know, for example, that during World
War II the Jewish quarter was devastated by bombs?
Rubble and abandoned houses were all that remained, and the area wasn't
redeveloped until the nineties when deterioration was turned into development. This
is how the numerous alternative clubs, specifically the ruin bars, were born. In
Hungarian they are referred to as “romkocsmák.”
If you want to discover this more authentic, less polished side of Budapest, keep
reading and get ready for a tour of the best ruin bars can experience in the
Hungarian capital, those not included in the typical tourist guides!
1: Szimpla Kert
The Szimpla Kert is a historic venue, the first ruin pub in the city. Born out of an old
factory that was falling to ruin, the artists who were occupying it furnished it using
anything that could be repurposed. Don't be surprised if you go in and see walls
covered with license plates, stickers, and murals, or the old cars transformed into
seating arrangements: it's all a part of the experience!

Today, Szimpla Kert is a multi-faceted cultural space that hosts numerous theatrical
performances, art shows, live music, and even a farmers market every Sunday
2: Instant
If you've decided on a night out at Instant, prepare yourself to be amazed at
Budapest's largest ruin bar! Colorful and extravagant, it contains many rooms,
among the most curious of which is one that will make you feel like you're walking
upside down... with all of the furniture fixed to the ceiling! A huge variety of live
music completes Instant, making this bar one a must-see on your trip to Budapest!
3: Rácskert
Once upon a time there was an old, desolate parking lot that transformed itself into
a garden full of light, color, and sound. It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale,
but it's actually exactly what happened to the Rácskert. Equipped to host
exhibitions, events, and food trucks, today it is a meeting place for tons of young
4: Csendes Vintage Bar and Café
Do you love all things vintage? Save the address: Ferenczy István No. 5. In the
mornings Csendes is a simple coffee shop, while at night it becomes a lively bar for
all ages and styles. Colorful and imaginative, get ready for a visit with your eyes to
the skies to admire the old paintings, plaques, mannequins, and other decorations
that now call the walls and ceilings of this place home.
5: Fogasház
Fogasház is a cool place year-round, but especially so in summer when it boasts a
beautiful tree-filled garden. If it's too crowded on the ground floor, worry not! Climb
the stairs up to the second floor where you will discover another huge space where
you can enjoy yourself, grab a drink, and dance!
These ruin bars in Budapest are the ideals places for curious, dynamic visitors:
They are the perfect bars to discover, true labyrinths to explore.
So don't sit down at your table right away, but look around, go up and down the
stairs: whether it's a “wonderland” style basement room or an amazing terrace,
there's a surprise waiting around every corner!

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