Issued June 2016
The ruin pubs in Budapest

Tour the amazing Ruin Pubs

The beginning of the 21st century was an exciting turning point in the nightlife of Budapest: in the central area of the city, new places were opened one after another in tenement houses and factory buildings doomed to destruction. These were equipped with rejected furniture of old community centers, cinemas, and grandmothers´ flats, bringing a retro feeling into these places. They were soon called ruin pubs and became popular very fast among the youth of Budapest - ruin pub is the exact translation of the Hungarian name.

Ruinpubs often move to a new place, or close for some years, then open in a new location again. They are are not only good places to drink and have a party but also function as cultural community areas with film clubs, theater performances, concerts, exhibitions, as well as creative workshops. They do not work in a franchise system, there is no detailed design, and there are no rules, how to make them. Every place has a unique style and atmosphere.

Oldest pub

‘Szimpla kert’, the oldest ruin pub in Budapest is a MUST. ‘Szimpla’ is a good bet almost any night. Here you’ll find a large open courtyard, a top floor filled with eclectic furniture, cocktail bars, music, and even an old, stripped-down Trabant to sit and have your drink. They also sell pizza, which, after a few drinks, makes for the perfect walking-home snack.

‘Instant’ is one of the youngest ruin pubs in the city and is located in an entire apartment building. It’s one of the more club-like ruin bars.


In ‘Instant’, you can sit in what were once individual rooms and relax on furniture that looks like it was found on the street. They’ve knocked down many of the walls to connect the apartments and make space for the DJs and dancing. Given its popularity and the fact that it’s more “clubby”, drinks here are a little more expensive than in other ruin bars. But the vibe is still good. You can stroll around in the labyrinth of the tenement house. In ‘Kertem’ (My Garden) you can feel the atmosphere of a socialist beer-garden of the 1980s.

‘Corvin tető’ (Corvin Roofgarden) located on top of a department store, is the ruin pub with the best view of Budapest.

Some of the ruin pubs are open in summer only, while others have indoor areas so that you can visit them all year.

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