Excellent spas and ruin pubs – these two attractions attract an army of tourists in Budapest, every year. Spas have been around for hundreds of year, but ruin pubs are a contemporary phenomenon.
This after dark trend first took off in the District VII as a bunch of abandoned residential building was turned into what is now known as a ruin pub. An urban wasteland was transformed into a cool place, very distinctive from the typical bars and night clubs. Find some second-hand furniture, knick-knacks from the local flea market, paintings from local artists, a long bar counter, some space for the DJ decks – and viola; you have your ruin pub.
Nowadays, there are plenty of ruin pubs in Budapest, so it’s hard to keep track of all of them, as some close and other pop-out regularly. Only a small percentage have been around since the trend started. Here are three excellent ruin pubs:
#1 Szimpla Kert
It might not be the first ruin pub in Budapest, but it is the longest standing one. It has been open for almost 17 years and still going strong. There is no guide book or website on local pubs that don’t mention Szimpla Kert. As a result, the pub is regularly packed with tourists from all over the world.
Yes, its massive popularity kind of takes a bit of its magic, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth the visit. Every corner is filled with stuff that you didn’t expect to see there, from bright Christmas lights to an old Trabant turned into a sitting box with a table. Then there is the bicycle hanging from the ceiling that fits in all that beautifully combined mess.
This massive ruin pub has quite a few spaces and rooms where you can order various cocktails, wine, and beer. In addition to that, you can try their sandwiches, chicken fingers, and sausages. If you come from Western Europe or the US, you will find their prices downright cheap.
#2 Csendes Vintage Bar
This one is way smaller than Szimpla, but it has the same vibe. The biggest difference with Szimpla, aside from the size, is that things kick off quite earlier when the coffee people arrive for their first cup. Then they are followed by the lunchtime group, and then night people, so there is always someone there. The super relaxed atmosphere makes it stand out from other ruin pubs.
Their colorful chairs and mismatched tables might look a bit odd, but the food is excellent. Their burger is well-known across the city. It is also interesting to know that visitors can add their art to the wall.
#3 Ellato Kert
This one is nothing like the previous two as it has its unique charm. Believe it or not, Ellato Kert is a Mexican-themed ruin pub in Budapest. Don’t wonder about the bond between Mexico and Budapest, because there isn’t a particular one.
They serve mean taco and have mastered the art of making the perfect margarita. The tequila there is not to be underestimated as well. The entire place is decorated with Mexican insignia that is easy on the eye and strangely, but it has a natural feel. Strange or not, it is super-interesting ruin pub, one definitely worth the visit.