The Fascinating History of Budapest Ruin Bars

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Pub Crawl Budapest

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Welcome to the world of Budapest ruin bars! Whether you’re planning a trip to Hungary’s capital or simply curious about its unique nightlife scene, this blog post will provide you with a detailed history of these popular establishments.

What are Ruin Bars?

Ruin bars, also known as “ruin pubs,” are iconic nightlife spots in Budapest. They are located in abandoned buildings, often in the city’s old Jewish Quarter. These bars emerged in the early 2000s and have since become a significant part of Budapest’s cultural and social life.

The Origins

The story of Budapest ruin bars dates back to the early 2000s when a group of artists took over an abandoned building in the city’s seventh district. Operating on a shoestring budget, they created a unique bar by furnishing the space with mismatched furniture, vintage pieces, and unconventional decor.

The concept quickly gained popularity among locals and tourists seeking alternative nightlife experiences. Inspired by its success, other entrepreneurs followed suit, transforming additional neglected buildings into ruin bars.

Aesthetic and Atmosphere

The charm of ruin bars lies in their unconventional aesthetics and laid-back atmosphere. When you step into one of these establishments, you’ll find a mix of recycled materials, graffiti-adorned walls, and a mishmash of furniture. The venues often have multiple rooms, open courtyards, and even rooftop terraces.

The relaxed atmosphere of ruin bars creates an inviting environment for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can wander between rooms, enjoying eclectic music, live performances, and a wide variety of drinks, including Hungary’s popular pálinka and locally brewed craft beers.

Kazinczy Street – The Birthplace

Kazinczy Street, located in the historic Jewish Quarter, is considered the birthplace of ruin bars. The street is home to some of the oldest and most well-known establishments, such as Szimpla Kert, which is the pioneer and granddaddy of all the ruin bars in Budapest!

Szimpla Kert, established in the early 2000s, is a sprawling ruin bar that offers an immersive experience. Its diverse rooms, artistic installations, and bustling farmers’ market on Sundays make it a must-visit for anyone exploring ruin bars in Budapest.

Transformation and Revitalization

One of the significant impacts of ruin bars in Budapest is their role in urban revitalization. By occupying neglected and abandoned buildings, ruin bar entrepreneurs have breathed new life into these spaces, saving them from potential demolition.

Through their existence, ruin bars have contributed to the economic and cultural development of the city. Previously dilapidated areas have now become vibrant hubs of social activity, attracting both locals and tourists. Local residents and businesses have also benefitted from this revival, as the bars have created employment opportunities and boosted tourism.

Popular Ruin Bars in Budapest

In addition to Szimpla Kert on Kazinczy Street, Budapest boasts numerous other popular ruin bars:

  • Fogasház
  • Instant
  • Ellátó Kert
  • Mazel Tov
  • Corvin Club

Each of these venues has its unique atmosphere, music programs, and events. Exploring these bars will undoubtedly enhance your experience of Budapest’s ruin bar culture.


Budapest ruin bars have revolutionized the city’s nightlife scene, attracting visitors from all over the world. These innovative establishments have transformed abandoned buildings into vibrant social spaces, offering a unique and unconventional experience. Whether you’re interested in art, music, or just a good drink, a visit to these ruin bars is a must when exploring Budapest.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your friends, head to Budapest, and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of ruin bars!

Eager for an unmatched evening escapade? Plunge into Budapest’s pulsing nightlife with our iconic pub crawl in Budapest. Each venue unravels a fresh tale, every sip crafts a lasting memory. Prepare for a night like no other!

The Fascinating History of Budapest Ruin Bars