Budapest has long been associated with fairytale architecture, historical treasures such as St Stephen’s Basilica, charming cobblestone streets and thermal spas, however since around 2001, the Hungarian capital has also been synonymous with ruin bars – aka hipster bars that have sprung up in abandoned, dilapidated buildings.

Keen to know what all the fuss is about? Here are the top six ruin pubs, Budapest has to offer.


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Szimpla Kert. Photo by Annie Kruntcheva.

Szimpla Kert

As Budapest’s original and best romkocsma or ruin pub’, Szimpla Kert should rank high on any tourist itinerary.

Expect a heavily graffitied space adorned with an eclectic mix of objects from bikes to television screens, bathtubs that serve as sofas, vintage toys and towering houseplants.

The very first romkocsma has now become so famous that it sells branded hoodies and t-shirts in addition to hosting one of the city’s best farmer’s markets every Sunday from 9 am.

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Photo courtesy of Instant.

Instant

Spread across 26 rooms in a former apartment building and boasting several bars and stages plus two outdoor gardens, Instant is, by far, the biggest ruin bar in the city.

Hedonists head to this self-described enchanted forest of a ruin bar for the broad mix of music which can be enjoyed until 6 am. Keep up if you can.

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Photo courtesy of Fogas Ház.

Fogas Ház

Fogas Ház, which translates as the House of teeth’, was named after an old dentist’s office sign that was found on-site during the bar’s first renovations.

More than merely a bar, Fogas Ház is also home to a cocktail terrace and an arts centre that welcomes contemporary artists, theatre groups and musicians. Its highlight, however, is its large courtyard that comes alive during the warm summer months.

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Mazel Tov. Photo by Nan Palmero.

Mazel Tov

One of the newer bars on Budapest’s ruin bar scene, Mazel Tov – which, as the name suggests, derives its name from District VII’s Jewish ancestry – is more upscale than its predecessors owing to its floor of white pebbles and glass roof.

As well as being a great place to drink, it’s also a top place to enjoy sensational Israeli food in an enchanting courtyard setting. Pair a dish with one of 17 different varieties of palinka, a popular fruit brandy, on offer and you have a night to remember.

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Ellátó Kert. Photo by Tas Tobias, founder of OffBeat Budapest.

Ellátó Kert

Looking to party with the locals? Enter Ellátó Kert, a popular ruin pub located on an open-air lot in Kazinczy utca.

This bright, Mexican themed, open-air romkocsma draws huge crowds who come here for the winning alliance of music, foosball, table tennis and kitchen that serves a satisfying selection of Mexican staples to line the stomach with. You’ll thank us in the morning.

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Anker’t

Named after the dishevelled Anker Palace — one of Budapest’s favourite buildings, that’s located at the end of the same street — Anker’t is an unashamed party joint. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes as DJs fire up the spacious courtyard with an inspired selection of funk, pop, dance and groove-music.

When the partying is over, Anker’t opens its doors for a different crowd – welcoming both a flower and a vegan market on Sundays. It just doesn’t get more hipster than that.

Starting to get a taste for Hungary’s capital? Flick through our guides to Budapest to discover all the highlights the city has to offer.

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