Ruin Bars in Budapest

interior view of one of the ruin bars in Budapest

Budapest is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and unique bar scene, with one of the standout attractions being its famous ruin bars. These bars have become emblematic of the city, attracting both locals and tourists alike. If you’re planning a trip to Budapest and want to experience the best of its nightlife, this ultimate guide to Budapest’s ruin bars is a must-read.

What are Ruin Bars?

Ruin bars are a distinctive feature of Budapest’s nightlife. They are located in the city’s historic Jewish Quarter, specifically in abandoned or dilapidated buildings that were left to decay after World War II. These buildings were given a new lease of life when entrepreneurs saw the potential in transforming them into unique and eclectic bars. The concept behind ruin bars is to create a space that combines a laid-back atmosphere with artistic and vintage decor, resulting in an unforgettable experience for visitors.

The History of Budapest’s Ruin Bar District

To truly appreciate Budapest’s ruin bars, it’s essential to understand the history behind them. The Jewish Quarter, where most of the ruin bars are located, was once a thriving neighborhood before World War II. However, during the war, it became a Jewish ghetto, and thousands of people were deported, leaving the area in ruins. After the war, the neighborhood was neglected and forgotten for decades during the communist-socialist era.

In 2002, a group of visionary individuals opened the first ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, in a derelict building. This marked the beginning of an era and the birth of the ruin bar culture in Budapest. Szimpla Kert became a symbol of the city’s creativity, resilience, and ability to transform abandoned spaces into vibrant social hubs. Since then, numerous ruin bars have sprung up, each with its own unique charm and character.

The Best Ruin Bars in Budapest

1. Szimpla Kert

interior view of one of the ruin bars in Budapest
As the oldest and most famous ruin bar, Szimpla Kert is a must-visit. This sprawling establishment offers a wide selection of drinks, live music, cultural events, and even a farmers market on Sundays.

2. Instant & Fogas

Another popular ruin bar, Instant & Fogas, stands out for its size and diversity. With 18 bars spread across seven floors, this venue often hosts international DJs and is a favorite among partygoers.

3. Udvar Rom

Interior of Udvar Rom Ruin Bar
For those on a budget, Udvar Rom is a great choice. This unpretentious ruin bar offers affordable drinks and a lively atmosphere, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
  • Address: Budapest, Klauzál u. 21, 1072 Hungary
  • Located in: Unity Hostel at Udvar(rom)
  • Phone: +36202001000

4. Élesztőház

If you’re a beer lover, Élesztőház is the place to be. With 25 beers on tap, this bar focuses on providing a diverse selection of craft beers. The industrial decor and diverse clientele make it a popular spot for locals.

5. Doboz

With its funky decor and vibrant ambiance, Doboz stands out among Budapest’s ruin bars. This large establishment features a courtyard with a massive tree and a King Kong statue, creating a unique and memorable atmosphere.

6. Kisuzem

Kisuzem offers a more intimate and intellectual experience. This bar attracts a liberal-minded crowd, where lively debates and discussions often take place. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in Hungarian culture and engage with locals.

7. DZZS Bar

If you’re looking for a lively and energetic atmosphere, DZZS Bar is the place to be. Open until the early hours of the morning, this bar attracts locals who want to dance and enjoy a night out.

8. 360 Bar

For breathtaking views of Budapest, head to 360 Bar. This rooftop establishment offers panoramic views of the city while serving delicious cocktails. Whether you want to socialize or enjoy a quiet moment, 360 Bar has you covered.

9. Jonas Craft Beer House

Located near the Danube River, Jonas Craft Beer House offers a scenic setting to enjoy locally made craft beers. Sit alongside the river and watch the boats pass by as you savor the flavors of Hungarian beer.

10. Beer Brothers

For a taste of local Hungarian beers, Beer Brothers is the place to go. This small and cozy bar specializes in serving a variety of Hungarian beers, giving you an authentic experience of the local drinking culture.
Each of these ruin bars offers a unique atmosphere and experience, making them worth exploring during your visit to Budapest. Whether you’re looking for live music, affordable drinks, or a vibrant party scene, Budapest’s ruin bars have something for everyone.

Tips for Visiting Budapest’s Ruin Bars

  1. Explore the Jewish Quarter: Take the time to explore the Jewish Quarter beyond just its ruin bars. This neighborhood is rich in history, with beautiful synagogues, street art, and cultural landmarks waiting to be discovered.

  2. Go Early: Ruin bars can get crowded, especially during peak hours. To secure a seat and fully enjoy the atmosphere, it’s best to arrive early, particularly if you’re visiting popular bars like Szimpla Kert or Instant & Fogas.

  3. Try Local Drinks: While visiting ruin bars, don’t miss the opportunity to try local Hungarian drinks. From craft beers to traditional spirits, Budapest offers a wide range of unique and flavorful beverages.

  4. Embrace the Eclectic Decor: One of the most striking aspects of ruin bars is their eclectic and unconventional decor. Embrace the whimsical and artistic atmosphere, and take in the vibrant colors, vintage furniture, and quirky decorations that make each bar truly unique.

  5. Engage with Locals: Ruin bars are not just for tourists; they are beloved by locals as well. Strike up a conversation with locals and immerse yourself in the vibrant social scene of Budapest’s ruin bars.

  6. Experience the Nightlife: Budapest is known for its lively nightlife, and ruin bars are a significant part of that reputation. Stay out late, enjoy the music, and embrace the energetic atmosphere that these bars offer.

  7. Be Respectful: While ruin bars have a relaxed and casual vibe, it’s essential to be respectful of the spaces and the people around you. Follow any rules or guidelines in place and ensure you have a positive and enjoyable experience.

  8. Discover Hidden Gems: While the well-known ruin bars are popular for a reason, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and discover lesser-known gems. Budapest is full of hidden treasures, and you might stumble upon a charming ruin bar that’s not on the usual tourist itinerary.


Where can I find ruin bars in Budapest?

Most of Budapest's ruin bars are located in the District VII (the Jewish Quarter) on the Pest side of the city. The area is filled with old, abandoned buildings that provide the perfect backdrop for these unique establishments.

Do ruin bars serve food?

Some ruin bars do serve food, ranging from light snacks to full meals. Szimpla Kert, for instance, hosts a weekly farmers' market where you can buy fresh local produce and homemade goods.

Are ruin bars expensive?

Compared to more traditional pubs and bars in Western Europe, ruin bars in Budapest are generally quite affordable. However, prices can vary depending on the specific bar and the drinks you order.

Can ruin bars be rented for private events?

Yes, many ruin bars in Budapest can be rented out for private events, such as birthdays, corporate events, or even weddings.