Disclaimer: Due to Covid-19 some of the places and venues mentioned below have temporarily closed down. Please check their websites and social media channels for up to date information.
First things first! You might be asking yourself: What is a ruin bar?
"A bar selling alcoholic beverages, inhabiting an old building left in a ramshackle condition; a popular style of pubs in Budapest."
These bars are all over Budapest but the most popular ones are located in and around the 7th district. Usually found in pre-war houses that have seen better days, ruin bars have turned these old buildings into new venues with interesting aesthetics.
Ruin bars are often decorated with second-hand furniture from street sales and wacky items that cover the walls and ceilings, making each bar unique and distinct. This makes every visit to a different ruin bar a new, exciting experience that keeps people coming back.
There are many ruin bars in and around Budapest, each with their own style and personality, but these are the absolute classics! Saying one is better than the other is purely down to who you ask, as everyone has a different opinion on the subject.
With this in mind, the following list hasn’t been ranked but rather made to highlight each bar's appeal and why each is definitely worthy of a visit at some point during your stay in Budapest.
Szimpla is considered the original ruin bar in Budapest and to this day is where people commonly flock to in order to find their first ruin bar experience. Located in the 7th district, Szimpla comprises various bars and rooms inside for you to explore, making it a fun and refreshing place to visit. On top of that, there's no entrance fee so there’s no excuse to miss out on Budapest's most iconic ruin bar.
Furthermore, it’s around the corner from many other great bars and clubs (some of which are also on this list), making it incredibly easy to map your own pub crawl through the city with very little walking. If making your own one doesn’t sound like your cup of tea there’s also an abundance of pub crawls in the city that are a great way to meet new people and experience the fantastic nightlife Budapest has to offer.
Although not a traditional ruin bar, Instant and Fogas are actually two buildings that have been combined to create one large club complex. It creates the perfect place for people who want to choose from a selection of music and bars all in one location.
Being the biggest club in Budapest it, boasts an impressive 18 bars, 7 dancefloors, multiple floors and a courtyard full of amazing decor associated with other more contemporary ruin bars.
Examples of the floors include: Fogas, which provides electric tunes and an adorable garden; Robot, which is located underground and blasts rock anthems all night; and Unterwelt, where you’ll find international DJs playing remixes as well as top club songs.
UdvarRom is the perfect place for those on a budget that still want to experience ruin bars while in Budapest. Located around the corner from Instant it’s a great choice for pre-drinks in a smaller and cheaper setting.
Located in an old building similar to most ruin bars it also has the famous run-down appearance that makes these bars so full of character. That combined with the decor, some arcade games, and the low prices and you’ve got the ideal place to spend your night.
Although Füge Udvar is technically a separate bar, it’s right next door to UdvarRom, so you’d be crazy not to make it a part of your night out as well!
Step into the red-lit courtyard and feel your worries start to melt away! Doboz has been a staple of Budapest nightlife for those who like to get out and dance, thanks to its two wide dance floors and on-point DJs.
Did we mention that ladies get in free? (Gents do need to pay a 1000huf cover charge though). If you need to catch your breath, you can hang out in Doboz’s spacious courtyard, have a drink, or smoke a ciggy underneath the giant gorilla sculpture.
A jungle oasis in the middle of downtown Budapest, Grandio provides a great ruin bar experience, be it day or night time. Many locals even come to Grandio for its affordable and filling kitchen menu (extra cheesy quesadilla, anyone?). This makes Grandio the perfect place to pregame so that you won’t start your night out with an empty stomach.
Some of the regular events passing through Grandio are the many pub crawls that happen in Budapest, which if you aren’t a part of, still provide plenty of entertainment on your nights out. Grandio is also a hostel, so you can be sure there will always be someone interesting to share a beer with in the garden courtyard!
This Budapest ruin bar is one of the best places to find live music and dance parties, hands down!. Half is an open courtyard as well as a smoking area with a stage where acts perform throughout the week.
The other half is where you’ll find DJs keeping the dancefloor full of party-goers, especially at the weekends when this bar fills with people looking to dance the night away. Apart from the main area Ellátóház also has sidebars and secret dancefloors which give you a bit more variety on where you want to party.
Since Budapest is especially popular for its party district and the crazy nightlife, we highly recommend visiting at least some of the places mentioned above. Join one of our own pub crawls if you want to check out other bars you've never heard of and like meeting like-minded travellers! With our English speaking guides you’ll be sure to party like a local.