A Guide To Budapest’s Best Warehouse Ruin Bars

Hannah Bergin

Budapest’s post-communist streets were once littered with abandoned factories and warehouses left to crumble into the ground. But now, come dark, life throbs from inside the brick walls where thousands flock to party. These eerie sites of these parties, each with its own idiosyncratic design and unique character, have been transformed into dynamic hotspots pumping a fresh energy and vitality through Hungary’s capital city.

Szimpla Kert

1. Instant

Bar, Hungarian

The largest in the city, Instant describes itself as the enchanted forest of Budapest’s ruin bars – and that it certainly is. Besides the gardens, art gallery, bar areas, and stages, which host both live music and theatre performances, Instant has dozens of fascinating rooms stuffed with bizarre and completely random objects – you might come across a dental chair, a bull-shaped disco ball, schools of blue fish, or discarded furniture hanging from the ceiling. It’s an almost-psychedelic, Alice in Wonderland-like experience.

2. Ellátó Kert

Bar, Mexican

Another popular haunt on Budapest’s famous Kazinczy Street, Ellátó Kert is a locals’ favorite situated at the very heart of the city’s throbbing party scene. Particularly bright and colorful with a distinctly Mexican vibe, the tacos served here are unsurpassed and responsibly priced. The mood is laidback and cheerful, the bar staff are beaming, and the drinks are plentiful. FogasHaz | © chris_UK/ Flickr

3. Fogas Ház

Bar, Nightclub, Beer

As one of the pioneers of Budapest’s ruin bar scene, Fogas Ház (or ‘House of Teeth,’ named after a century-old dental repair advertisement found on the site during its initial renovation) has a well-considered concept and design, which was relaunched a few years ago. Since its reopening in 2010, the bar’s popularity has soared. It is now a go-to venue, enticing tourists and locals with a more stripped-back interior, a breezy, open-air dance floor, and very reasonable prices.

4. Kuplung

Bar, Hungarian

© James G.Milles/Flickr
Kuplung’s diverse program includes live concerts, art exhibitions, theatre performances, and film and sport screenings, as well, of course, as the night-long parties that support its status as a cultural hub, all within the quirky surroundings of an archetypal ruin bar. Contemporary art hangs from the rooftops, colourful graffiti lines the walls, and the rooms are brimming with trendy furniture pieces. A truly diverse crowd gathers here, where the notably friendly bar staff welcome people of all styles and ages.

5. Doboz

Bar, American

Doboz prides itself on being a hub for emerging new artists whose works litter the central courtyard and surrounding bar rooms, making it a particularly trendy venue – hidden behind a deceivingly derelict facade. Most striking is the gigantic King Kong statue with his fiery red eyes who reigns over the scene below from the courtyard’s treetops. There is an unrivalled selection of drinks, a fantastic grill bar, a club, and even private rooms that can be rented out for house parties.

6. Dürer Kert

Pub, Beer

BUDAPEST-JULY 20: The Chase Long Beach band performs on stage at Durer Kert July 20, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary.
© Ferenc Szelepcsenyi / Alamy Stock Photo
Slightly off-the-beaten-track, and therefore all the more appealing, Dürer Kert has an enchanting, lantern-lit garden with charming little tables, chairs, and hammocks rocking between the trees. The outdoor stage has welcomed a plethora of artists from a diverse range of musical genres. On the former site of Hungary’s largest university, Eötvös Loránd, this bar attracts a particularly youthful, fun-loving, and high-spirited crowd.

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