Ruin Bars in Budapest: Your Ultimate Guide


Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is renowned for its lively nightlife scene. One of the most unique and popular attractions in the city are the Ruin Bars. These eclectic, artsy, and vibrant bars have become a must-visit for tourists and locals alike. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the world of ruin bars, their history, what sets them apart, and how to find the best ruin bars in Budapest near you.

What are Ruin Bars?

Ruin bars are bars or pubs that have been established in abandoned buildings, typically in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest. These buildings, often dilapidated and left abandoned after World War II or during the period of neglect in the 1990s, have been transformed into unique and creative spaces.

Ruin bars retain the raw and authentic atmosphere of the neglected buildings they inhabit. They are characterized by mismatched furniture, vintage decor, artistic installations, and a distinct bohemian vibe. These bars have become cultural hubs, attracting artists, musicians, and locals looking for an alternative nightlife experience.

History and Evolution

The first ruin bar in Budapest, Szimpla Kert, opened its doors in 2001. It was originally envisioned as a temporary pop-up bar, but its success inspired others to follow suit. Today, ruin bars have become an integral part of Budapest’s nightlife and contribute to the city’s unique cultural identity.

The success of ruin bars can be attributed to their affordability, creativity, and laid-back atmosphere. They provide an escape from the conventional, high-end bars and clubs often found in other European cities.

What Makes Ruin Bars Special?

One of the key factors that make ruin bars special is their ability to combine history, art, and entertainment. They serve as a showcase for local talent, hosting regular art exhibitions, live music performances, film screenings, and even theatrical shows.

The bohemian atmosphere of ruin bars creates a relaxed and inclusive environment, welcoming people from all walks of life. Visitors can mingle with locals, fellow travelers, and artists while enjoying a range of affordable drinks.

Where to Find Ruin Bars in Budapest?

Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter is the heart of ruin bars in Budapest. Here, you’ll find an array of bars tucked away in courtyards, alleyways, and former residential buildings. Szimpla Kert, Instant, and Fogasház are some of the most popular ruin bars in this neighborhood.

District VII

District VII, also known as Erzsébetváros, is another area with a concentration of ruin bars. It’s worth exploring the streets around Kazinczy Street and Király Street to discover hidden gems such as Ellátó Kert and Anker’t.

Other Areas

While the Jewish Quarter and District VII are known for their ruin bars, you can also find similar establishments scattered throughout the city. Ruin bars like Csendes, Köleves, and Doboz can be found in different neighborhoods, offering unique experiences.

Tips for Visiting Ruin Bars

  • Arrive early in the evening to secure a seat as ruin bars can get crowded, especially on weekends.
  • Take cash with you as some of the smaller ruin bars may not accept credit cards.
  • Explore multiple ruin bars to experience their diverse atmospheres and offerings.
  • Talk to locals and bar staff to discover hidden gems and get recommendations.
  • Respect the unique character of these establishments and help maintain their artistic spirit.


Budapest’s ruin bars offer a truly unique and unforgettable nightlife experience. Exploring these eclectic and vibrant establishments allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s creative energy, meet new people, and discover the soul of Budapest. So, next time you visit Budapest, make sure to venture into the world of ruin bars and enjoy an alternative side of the city’s nightlife scene.





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