Budapest’s Best Ruin Pubs
As anyone who has ever watched a tourism commercial can tell you, Budapest is a stunning city, the ‘Paris of the East,’ the ‘Pearl of the Danube,’ a city full of architectural wonders, marvelous sights, outstanding restaurants and unique thermal spas.
There is, however, another side to this stately city that was once the co-capital of one of Europe’s greatest empires. At night, tourists and locals take to the streets, and to the bars, to enjoy what is justifiably renowned as one of the best nightlife scenes in Europe. One of the chief reasons for this great reputation is the city’s ruin pubs. A phenomenon unique to Budapest, ruin pubs are, as the name suggests, bars that were founded in the years after the fall of Communism, chiefly in the city’s old Jewish quarter (the 7th district), inside abandoned blockhouses. These buildings were repurposed into some of the world’s most eclectic, exciting bars, where 19th century architecture is combined with cars hanging from ceilings and bizarre paintings hanging upside down on walls. In any case, ruin pubs are something well worth checking out.
Whether you’re in the Hungarian capital for business or pleasure, then, here are just a few of the many incredible ruin pubs that would be extremely worthwhile to check out during your stay.
The Granddaddy of them all, Szimpla Kert is Budapest’s most famous ruin pub by far, as well as one of the city’s oldest still in operation. As far as the bar’s interior goes, words truly can’t do it justice; between the lamps suspended in mid-air, bedazzled cars, and multiple bars that seem to go on forever from one floor to the next, this is a ruin pub that has to be experienced to truly be believed.
In addition, while it has grown significantly since its foundation, and has now become so famous that it is regularly jam-packed with tourists, Szimpla has not forgotten its roots as a ruin pub for locals, as a part of the community. For example, every Sunday the pub hosts a farmer’s market where Hungarian grocers, cheese mongers and other food specialists sell their wares.
Located just down the street from Szimpla Kert, Ellátó provides a much more relaxed, laid-back version of the classic ruin pub experience. Here, unlike in Szimpla or some of the other pubs, you’re unlikely to find huge crowds of people dancing until the sunrise to electronic music (although, this being Budapest, that does happen on occasion). What you will find, however, is a relaxed atmosphere, complete with both indoor spaces and an open-air courtyard, where you can hang out, talk, and have a great time.
In addition, fitting with the bar’s quasi-Mexican theme, Ellátó also serves delicious tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, meaning that you can get a tasty, affordable snack without ever having to leave the bar.
As its name suggests, this ruin pub is actually the result of a merger of two separate, equally famous nightlife destinations that have long been party meccas for tourists and locals alike. Earlier this year, one of Budapest’s best ruin pubs, Instant was forced to close its doors after its lease was not renewed. Rather than closing for good, however, Instant teamed up with Fogasház, another famed ruin pub in the city’s 7th district, to form the city’s largest ruin-pub/club complex.
While it is located at Fogasház’s original spot, the new party space has been completely renovated, and now includes five separate bars and clubs, all in one space: Instant, Fogas Ház, Liebling, LÄRM, and PONT. In addition, the new Instant-Fogasház is home to 1,200-square-meter ‘cellar rock club.’ If there’s one place you go to party while in Budapest’s downtown, it has to be here.
Doboz has one of the most trendy interiors (the eponymous red box installation in front, and the statue of King Kong, with his eyes lit up, by Miklós Gábor Szőke) among Seventh District ruinpubs, which is not by any means a mean feat. Every little detail in the almost 1000-square-meter place is carefully constructed to serve the nearly 1500 people who can fit in there – and therefore Doboz defines itself as a ‘premium ruinpub’.
Miklós Gábor Szőke did not only the central installation, but also the building’s façade and the decoration of the central bar, and the iconic logo of Doboz was designed by well-known artist Eszter Laki (who took part in decorating a number of other clubs in downtown Budapest). The choice of drinks is so enormous that we’d have to have a bartender’s advice to choose what’s right for us. Everyone can find the room he or she likes in the bowels of the one-time residential building, but you can also do a real house party in a room dedicated to just that.
Those who just end up here spontaneously should, however, take into account Doboz’s dress code! But once inside, no one goes thirsty or hungry: the grill bar offers all the current favourites of the Budapest nightlife from hot dogs and quesadillas to hamburgers.
Fraser Aparthotel Budapest
While Budapest’s ruin pubs can be found throughout the Pest side of the city, it is only logical to look for a place to stay that is close enough to the city center to be able to truly experience all that the city has to offer. In addition, following days of sightseeing and nights of partying, it would only make sense to look for lodgings that provide luxury and comfort; in terms of both location and amenities, Fraser Residence Budapest is a perfect choice.
Located in the heart of Pest, Fraser Residence features 50 luxury serviced apartments ranging in size from studios to penthouses. The Hungarian capital’s robust public transportation system means that, from Fraser Residence’s location at the Corvin Quarter, you can make your way to iconic landmarks such as St. Stephen’s Basilica, Gellert Hill, the Central Market Hall, or the Parliament Building in next to no time at all.
In addition, Fraser Residence’s central location means that every single one of the Hungarian capitals’ most interesting and significant ruin pubs are but a short walk, metro, bus, tram, or taxi ride away. It also means that, rather than staying in a hotel located so far away from Budapest’s downtown that the trek home from the ruin pubs will seem like a daunting task, booking at Fraser Residence gives you the opportunity to experience all of the incredible things that Budapest has to offer without having to worry about spending hours getting back to your bed. And not to worry; at Fraser, that bed will be a comfortable one, no matter what time of day or night you fall into it.
Check out our available apartments and book your premium Budapest accommodation now!