One of the top draws for tourists besides the beautiful sights of Budapest are the city’s unique drinking venues. They bring people from all over the world to Budapest. There are many clubs and bars that stand out, but the most can be found in the 6th district. Here you can find some of the best ruin pubs in Europe. From ruin bars and bistros to high-end bars and rooftop venues, there’s something for everyone. CNN put together the ultimate guide to the best ruin bars in Budapest.
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A ruin bar or a ‘romkocsma’ is a place that is built or opened inside an old building; they do not crumble or anything, they are just opened in aged buildings and the decoration mirrors that. The whole fashion started around 2001, when a bunch of young men wanted cheap places to drink because their wallets were empty, but their thirst great. From this need came the ruin bars or ruin pubs of Hungary, called ‘romkocsma’ in the language. Derelict buildings and unused outdoor spaces transformed into lovely, yet pleasingly chaotic bars where the beer is still cheap. One can get a large beer for around 2 € – can be found on CNN’s website.
Szimpla Kert was probably the first ruin bar and it still remains iconic, it has been in many different locations before, but it settled down in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest’s 7th district in 2004. Some of the regular features of the place are farmer’s markets flea markets and also live music movie screenings are also often happening here as well. They not only serve cheap drinks, but their oven-baked pizzas have a very good price as well. It has the usual traits that are expected from ruin bars, the eclectic furniture that is probably obtained in one of the flea markets, some art on the walls and a garden. The unique thing about this place is that it has a Trabant in its garden that also serves as a table and chairs beside being a stylistic addition to the decoration.
Szimpla Kert, Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075; +36 20 261 8669
Just a few minutes’ walk you can come by Rácskert which is one of the most recent ruin pubs in the area. It is located in a ‘garden’, but it actually is a parking lot transformed into a pub. The place is more stylistically clean than Szimplakert, but there are some unique qualities to it as well, one of them are the lamps which are plumbing pipes illuminated from the inside. There is also a huge van that sells food from the Bosnian Serb owner’s homeland.
Rácskert, Budapest, Dob u. 40-42, 1072; +36 70 428 1517
Ellátó Kert & Taqueria
There’s a Mexican feel to Ellátó Kert & Taqueria, mainly because of the tacos and tortillas on the menu, but the colourful tables also help with the feeling.
Ellátó Kert & Taqueria, Budapest, Kazinczy u. 48, 1075; +36 20 527 3018
Instant and Fogas
Instant was one of the most popular ruin bars in Budapest, but its original location was demolished in 2017. The venue then teamed up with Fogas club and now they opened the largest ruin bar complex in Budapest in Akácfa street. The bars are open until 6 am each morning and you can easily switch bars if you are bored with one as there are several you can choose from all within an arm’s reach.
Instant and Fogas, Budapest, Akácfa u. 49-51; +36 30 123 4567
It is one of the most popular party places in Budapest. Anker’t is a large courtyard surrounded by bars, dance rooms and an area to snack at. The place is almost always full of people and they organize themed nights on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a great DJ to make sure the party never stops.
Anker’t, Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 33, 1061; +36 30 360 3389
Budapest’s 360 Bar is one of the city’s best experiences. You probably know why. Yes, it provides a 360° view of the Budapest. It is located on Andrassy Avenue, and it is a popular spot throughout the year, but especially in the Summer. Besides many cocktails and snacks you can choose from, the friendly staff will also ensure you have the best experience.
360 Bar, Budapest, Andrássy út 39, 1061; +36 30 356 3047
High Note SkyBar at the Aria Hotel
The Aria Hotel plays host to one of the more spectacular rooftop bars in the city. Located in the very middle of the 5th district of Budapest, the High Note Skybar famous for its direct view over the Basilica buildings not far away, not to mention the fact that it is a great place to shoot photos from.
High Note SkyBar at the Aria Hotel, Budapest, Hercegprímás u. 5, 1051; +36 1 445 4055
St. Andrea Wine and Skybar
It can be accessed through Vörösmarty Square, this rooftop bar is a fabulous drinking spot both during the Summer and Winter as well. The Irish coffees and a large number of cocktails will surely entice you to stay.
St. Andrea Wine and Skybar, Budapest, Deák Ferenc utca 5, 1052; +36 30 300 3930
The Bar and Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons
The bar at the Four Seasons is a one of a kind place to visit in Budapest. Because many celebrities stay at the hotel if they have something to do in Budapest, do not be surprised if you spot a movie star sipping a drink at the bar. The Bar & Lobby Lounge, Four Seasons Budapest, Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 5, 1051; +36 1 268 6000
Kupola Bár at The Ritz-Carlton
Relatively new on the bar scene of Budapest, the interior of this bar is like a five-star hotel. There is a wide variety of cocktails here and if you cannot find your favourite on the menu card, then the barman can sure make it for you right away.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest, Erzsébet tér 9-10, 1051; +36 1 429 5500
Blue Fox The Bar at the Kempinski
Blue Fox The Bar at the Kempinski is one of the more quirky high-end bar experiences in Budapest. Popular among tourists, it has a wide array of cocktails and bar snacks to gnaw on. The mood is provided by the lightning and overall it is a cool place to take a trip to with your group of friends.
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, Budapest, Erzsébet tér 7, 1051; +36 1 429 3777
Boutiq’ Bar is among the top 50 cocktail bars in the entire world so be sure to check it out while visiting Budapest. Their selection of drinks is fascinating and the blood red interior will definitely make you frenzy for a some cocktails.
Boutiq’ Bar, Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 5, 1061; +36 30 554 2323
This lovely hideaway in Budapest is the perfect spot to hang out with your friends at. The homely garden area surrounded by two bar and seating areas which serve impressive cocktails and jugs of beer.
Farm, Budapest, Ó u. 14, 1066; +36 30 622 7500
It is more like a man-cave than a luxury pub, but it sure has its ambience. You can even see some movie-stars pop-up here and there when they shoot a movie in Budapest, but be sure to check on whether the bar is open when you visit because it is often closed during the Summer and other tourist holidays. Most nights go by unnoticed, but the parties on some Fridays and Saturdays can pack a true punch.
Brody Studios, Budapest, Vörösmarty u. 38, 1064; +36 1 266 3707
On a budget
It is probably one of the most peculiar budget bars in Budapest. Maláta Bisztró is sure to have a lovely atmosphere due to the ridiculously cheap drinks you can get here. Many are 2 € or even less. The bar is open throughout the year, but during the Summer it gets extremely crowded even so that the guest spill out onto the streets.
Maláta Bisztró, Budapest, Mátyás Utca 11., 1097; +36 70 630 8107
Although it is a basic bar and the decoration is outdated concerning the other contenders, but it is still extremely popular among locals, students and even some expats due to the very reasonable drinking prices and the good vibe.
Hauzol Café, Budapest, 1073, Erzsébet krt. 26, 1073; +36 30 653 2965
It can be considered to be among the cheapest bars in Budapest, it will definitely be appealing to your wallet. A pint is about 1.5 € with which you cannot go wrong with. It is also near Nagymező street, which is the main party area of the city.
Cheers Pub, Budapest, Nagymező u. 35, 1065, +36 70 660 0812
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Featured image: www.facebook.com/highnoteskybar/