The ultimate guide to best ruinbars of Budapest - Best ruinpubs and alternative bars in Budapest -
Ruin bars became a big hit a few years ago, but still a hot spot to choose, and they also became sort of emblematic places of Budapest. The oldest of all, Szimpla, became almost as famous as the Heros’s Square or the Castle. Let’s gather for you an ultimate guide of these fascinating places of our city.
The history of the ruinbar district
The once beautiful part of the VII. District of Budapest called the Jewish Quarter became the Jewish ghetto during the World War II. After deported thousands of people it had been left for rotting and empty, a dark memento of what happened during the war, and never really had been restored during the communist-socialist era for decades. This is the area where all started; some brave guys opened Szimpla in 2002 without thinking of what will they actually start in the city. They actually laid down the definition of the ruin bars: get a dodgy old building before it’d be demolished, gather all colorful odds and gadgets and whatever, use them as furniture and decoration, and serve good drinks. That’s all. A great recycle bar at its finest. 
Cool street art in the Jewish district. Photo: Budapestflow alternative walking tours
Today the Jewish Quarter has many exciting, fresh, unique places, also the streets had been nicely renovated, and also have amazing - and legal - street art murals on partition-walls, not to mention the clubs, venues and bars around. Also, you’ll find amazing street food places around. Our favorite years and years ago is the Mexican El Rapido, but if you’d go for Italian, Pizzica is the bests choice of sliced pizza in the area. Lángos (deep-fried flat dough) is the ultimate Hungarian street (originally beach) food, find the one next to Arany János utca metro station, you’ll have the best. If you cannot decide what you fancy, there’s Karaván street food court too, where you can have a look around, have a smell in the air, and pick any of the interesting street food combinations what they offer. And after a nice bite, let’s get a drink…

The well-known ruin pubs
Szimpla kert ruin bar. Photo:
Probably you already know Szimpla. Maybe you’d already been there. If not yet, well, this is the time. Szimpla is the oldest and most popular ruinbar. Wide selection of drinks, friendly staff, cultural events and live music, you’ll find pretty much everything that you need for a night out. But it’s more than that, there’s even a farmers market every Sunday with fresh and lovely food, for your stock at home or just to taste there, the choice is yours.
Instant ruin bar. Photo:
Instant had a long history as a ruinbar and club, but less than a year ago they moved and united with the also well known and loved Fogas ház, to build up a ruin-bar-club heaven, a night-out universe. Now, you’ll find every kind of music from the hot popular stuff (Fogas or Instant) to underground electro (Larm) to real rock-metal (Robot), often live gigs too. Deep atmosphere, awesome interior, hidden rooms and wide dance floors, you just don’t want to miss this, right? 
Mazel Tov Jewish restaurant. Photo:
In front of Fogas the Jewish Quarter new wave ruinbar opened a couple of years ago, focusing on the urban Jewish culture and cuisine. Let’s go for a bit more complex experience and choose Mazel Tov. Meanwhile, the decent drink selection they have amazing Middle Eastern cuisine, which involves lot of hummus, falafel, couscous, skewers and fresh salads. Take a seat at the appealing inner courtyard and enjoy the historical atmosphere. 
Anker't ruin bar. Photo:
Paulay Ede street became is a hidden pathway of our party district. Right behind the Ballet Institue, there’s Anker't, less touristy, essential, and one of the largest ruin bars in town. During the day - and of course, during the night - you’ll find some essence of the Hungarian underground cultural scene from zine-maniacs to musicians, from gardeners to activists. It often homes cultural or art events and festivals, not to mention the Sunday Vegan Food Market with cooking workshops and other exciting pop-up events.
Get the bigger picture of the ruinpub scene! Our ruinpub and alternative spots tour is meant absolutaly for you!

Kuplung ruin pub. Photo:
Are you after some cool live music? Maybe staying for the DJ afterward? Kuplung is your place to be. In the past couple of years, Kuplung became one of the most important underground music venues with gigs most of the days. Sniff into the music scene and go for a table football round too. 
Élesztő craft beer bar. Photo:
A few stops form the Jewish Quarter check out Élesztő, the craft beer heaven of Budapest. No question, they have the largest and best selection of draught beers, focusing on the craft-products of Hungarian beer revolution. The former glassworks factory the music venue is now an amazing place with an industrial design for beer lovers, but also have a great pub kitchen, cocktail bar and a cool little coffee and hot chocolate shop at its corner.  
The off-the-beats
Even if you follow the mainstream, you’ll have wicked time at the most famous ruinbars, no question of that. But if you like to have a look at smaller or less known places, Budapest still has more to offer. Let’s go offbeat.
Kisüzem alternative bar. Photo:
Kisüzem is the place what you should not miss. Small, but has the best whiskey and rum selection in town, also other rare drinks from inland and abroad. The friendly and chilled out staff really know what they serve, and also they have great food. You can catch small exhibitions on the wall, sometimes live music, movie nights or other cultural events too, or the most exciting is their Silent-Movie-Music, when musicians improvise with old silent movies at the background. 
Gólya underground cultural center and bar. Photo:
Gólya is a Communal House and Co-operative Presso. Or actually, it’s even more. Traveling in time. Almost the last bastion in the eighth district between new buildings and the dodgy part. They all work together for the bar, everyone does everything, especially organizing great art and cultural events, like game nights, gigs, literary happenings, movie nights (also in foreign languages), all kind of workshops, and who knows what they will come up next.
Kék Ló bar and coffe shop. Photo:
Right next to the Rákóczi Market Hall Kék ló is a nice and quiet place, a shelter for creative minds and subcultures. Recently moved from Kazinczy street to this new place, with all their nice decoration. They often have live music downstairs, all genres, but they prefer the odd, they have an experimental jazz festival every year. Don’t be surprised whatever happens there, and try the cakes too.
Puder ruin bar. Photo:
If you think Szimpla has whimmy decoration, well, you haven’t seen Púder yet. On the biggest foodie street, Ráday, you’ll find this hidden treasure with it’s eclectic look from the sculptures to the murals, even the furniture, you’ll can’t get enough of that. Food and drinks are great too, just take off your eyes from the walls and have a look at the menu too. 
Auróra alternative cultural center and bar. Photo:
Auróra has a long story. Started as Sirály, a cultural and civil place, and it was always a hinge for the councils. And still is. And also a great meeting point of cross-cultures and people who like to think wisely and party hard. You can find everything from art festivals to movie nights, from techno parties to rock gigs, from social events to workshops, they even take part of the organization of an awesome music festival in the summer.
Dürer kert. Photo:
The coolest concert venue of Budapest is Dürer Kert, right next to the City Park. In the building of an old school, their three venues they have the hottest band from Hungary and worldwide too. Also hosts art events, goa parties, tattoo festivals, bicycle markets or slam competitions. There’s a huge garden outside where you can have a nice grill meal or have a DIY BBQ with your friends if you rent a cooking pot and firewood. Have a walk in the City Park, then spend the whole afternoon, evening and night with the heart of the music scene here.
Get the bigger picture of the ruinpub scene! Our ruinpub and alternative spots tour is meant absolutaly for you!