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The 10 Best Ruin Bars in Budapest

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The ruin bars in Budapest are famous for their unique setting inside the open courtyards of old, run-down buildings. Most of these bars, known as “romkocsma” in Hungarian, are located in the historic Jewish quarter of the XII District. This area saw many buildings abandoned after the Nazi occupation of 1944/45, which contributed to its decline.

Today, these bars are central to Budapest’s nightlife and cultural scene, attracting tourists, international students, and local youth. They offer a distinctive experience that adds to the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Let’s explore the 10 best ruin bars that Budapest has to offer.

1. Szimpla Kert 

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/szimplakert/

Szimpla Kert is Budapest’s most iconic ruin pub, opened in 2004 by a group of creative university students as a communal space. Despite changes over the years, it remains a must-visit, though now popular among tourists. Upstairs, it features a bar exclusively serving local craft beers from Mad Scientist, Hungary’s top craft brewery.

2. Csendes Létterem

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Near the National Museum in a quaint alley stands Csendes Létterem, a ruin bar housed in a charming 19th-century building. Its unassuming exterior hides a quirky interior adorned with eclectic items like bicycles, mannequins, customer messages, mirrors, and road signs. In the evening, it transforms into a lively venue with DJ sets featuring soul, funk, and jazz. Unlike typical rundown pubs, Csendes Létterem opens early and is a great spot for breakfast, offering traditional dishes as well as an array of vegan options.

3. Mazel Tov

Image Source: https://mazeltov.hu/

Mazel Tov is a stunning ruin pub in Budapest’s seventh district, redefining the typical pub experience with a sophisticated and glamorous vibe. Located in a renovated warehouse featuring a large skylight, potted plants, and retro lighting, Mazel Tov offers a cozy atmosphere for drinks, socializing, and enjoying movies or concerts in the courtyard. They serve a wide array of cocktails and Hungarian grappa along with delicious non-alcoholic options. 

4. Élesztő

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/elesztohaz/

Élesztő bar, nestled in a charming green courtyard with exposed brick and industrial touches, is a beer lover’s paradise. It offers over 25 beers on tap. It is one of the best ruin bars in Budapest, attracting locals seeking a quieter atmosphere and more reasonable prices away from tourist crowds. They also feature a wine bar and a spirits bar, complemented by a menu of burgers, grills, and salads.

5. Fogasház

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/instant.fogas.budapest/

This lively ruin pub is celebrated for its vibrant courtyard, making it one of the city’s top cultural and nightlife spots. Originally a residential building, Fogasház now features a beautifully painted atrium that serves as a dance hall, along with a cinema room, game area, and theater. The pub also offers bike rentals and hookah.

6. Dürer Kert

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Once an iconic concert venue in Zugló, Dürer Kert has found a new home in BudaPart, Újbuda. The new location is a large garden with plenty of tables and a grassy area for lounging or playing soccer. You’ll find cozy corners and a charming riverside area with colorful benches and hammocks. If you’re in Budapest, don’t miss this spot – it’s perfect for grabbing a drink and relaxing.

7. Kőleves Kert

Image Source: https://kolevesvendeglo.hu/

Kőleves Kert is a must on any Budapest ruin bar tour. During the warmer months, you can relax at colorful garden tables with a pint of beer or a glass of wine. The lush green oasis, filled with trees and plants, provides hammocks for relaxation. Their menu includes a variety of drinks and dishes, such as salads, vegetarian options, and Hungarian specialties like roasted duck and confit goose leg. 

8. Szatyor Bar

Image Source: https://www.szatyorbar.hu/szatyor

Szatyor Bar is found in Buda, a quick stroll from the renowned Gellért Thermal Baths. It’s a sophisticated and upscale ruin pub, standing out from the typical alternative scene by drawing well-dressed young patrons instead of the usual crowd of students enjoying cheap beers.

9. Grandio Jungle Bar

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/GrandioJungleGrillBar/

Located just a few meters from the Great Synagogue, Grandio Jungle Bar is a popular ruin bar in the Hungarian capital. True to its name, the bar is tucked away in a leafy courtyard where its tables are surrounded by greenery. While many of its guests stay at the hostel on the first floor, the bar is open to all visitors. Aside from enjoying drinks, you can also join in on karaoke nights. 

10. Púder Bárszínház

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/puderbar

Designed by Bertalan Babos Zsili’s team, known for other ruin bars, Púder Bárszínház features surrealistic collages, sculptures, and colorful tables. The bar blends dining with cultural experiences, hosting musical, artistic, theatrical, and literary events. In summer, it opens a delightful terrace for outdoor enjoyment alongside delicious food and a wide drink selection.

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