The 10 Best Ruin Bars in Budapest

Updated on January 7, 2023 by Mike

This is a list of the best Ruin Bars in Budapest. When I first visited Budapest in the early 2000s, there appeared to be no alternative bars, actually, there were very few proper bars. There were, of course, many Bar Restaurants, an odd Cocktail Bar and Nightclubs but there were only a few genuine bars. The emergence of Ruins Bars in Budapest filled this void as well as contributing to Budapest's reputation as having some of the best nightlife in Europe. Visiting a Ruin bar is now considered one of the best things to do in Budapest.

History of the Ruin Bars in Budapest

Ruin Bars were first established in old dilapidated buildings in District VII of Budapest. District VII had been the Jewish Quarter and during World War 2 it was the Jewish Ghetto. After the Jews were deported out of the Ghetto, their buildings were left to rot and most of them were not renovated during the communist times.

It all started with Szimpla Kert, the first and some say still the best ruin bar. In the 2000s, a run-down building on Kazinczy Street in District VII was saved from demolition by a group of local businessmen looking to open up a bar/cultural centre. Rather than completely renovating the building, they chose to work with it in its dilapidated state adding the photogenic furniture and decorations. Out of this, a new generation of bars was born.

What is a Ruin Bar?

A Ruin bar will typically have run-down furniture and be decorated with a lot of retro memorabilia. Most of them have a beer garden and are relatively cheap, although the newest ruin bars seem to be more upmarket and in turn more expensive. Ruin Bars tend to be very colourful and photogenic. A lot of them are cultural centres, some host live music and others are clubs. The benchmark for Ruins Bar in Budapest is still Szimpla Kert (the first Ruin Bar) and it is still one of the best ruin bars in Budapest.

The 10 Best Ruin Bars in Budapest

1.  Szimpla Kert

Ruin Bars Budapest Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert was the first Ruin Bar to open in Budapest. Right from the beginning, Szimpla had a goal of changing the nightlife landscape in Budapest and thus turning Szimpla into a cultural centre. They converted an old factory into a huge open-air cinema and bar where concerts, theatre shows and many different cultural events are hosted.

The complex also includes a Farmers' Market, a recently opened cafe and in the upstairs rooms you will see art exhibitions of contemporary artists work.

2. Instant

Ruin Bars Budapest Instant

This ruin bar had to move probably because it's landlord would not renew its lease. Luckily for them, another ruin bar called Fogas ház had some extra space and allowed Instant to move in.

Instant got to keep its unique identity with underground electronic music with psychedelic lighting and Fogas ház keeps its own identity. With Instant and Fogas ház now in the same building, this is easily the larger Ruin Bar complex in Budapest.

3. Fogas Ház

Ruin Bars Budapest Fogas Haz

Fogas Ház was founded in 2009, but since then it's has gone through many transformations. This building complex now hosts four different Ruin Bars/Clubs all with their own unique identity: Fogaskert, Instant, Robot, and Lärm.

Fogaskert can provide you with the more "traditional" ruin bar experience with worn-out furniture, lots of weird memorabilia, and cheap beer. Instant features a unique ruin bar experience with light shows and electronic music. If you want to catch a rock music show, then Robot is the venue for you and if you are looking for more Electronic music Lärm is the place for you.

4. Grandio

Ruin Bars Budapest Grandio Jungle Grill Bar & Hostel

If you are looking for a more chilled out "traditional" Ruin Bar Grandio is the place for you. However, it does have a reputation for wild parties late into the night. Grandio is also a hostel. It has a large courtyard which is surrounded by the balconies of the hostel rooms.

Grandio's Bar is decorated with the usual rundown furniture and some unique murals and art pieces. A good idea might be to stay in a dorm bed (in the hostel), that you can crawl into after a hard night in the bar.

5. Mazel Tov

Ruin Bars Budapest Mazel Tov

Mazel Tov's is for people who like the Ruin bar concept but who prefer it to be more stylish. I think that they are trying to create a new kind of ruin pub. Here you will not find run-down furniture and old junk on the walls, but a carefully thought out design.

The Bar serves menu Middle Eastern cuisine that caters to all diets be it vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores. It is located next door to Fogas ház in the Jewish Quarter.

6. Doboz

Ruin Bars Budapest Doboz

As with Mazel Tov, Doboz is a more upmarket Ruin Bar. It has more of a contemporary design while still retaining some of the characteristics of a tradition ruin bar. Doboz situated along Klauzál Street and is one of the largest party venues of District VII. It was named after a large red box-shaped piece of art located in the venue ("doboz" means box in Hungarian). The standout attraction of Doboz is the King Kong sculpture which hangs from a tree in the middle of the garden.

7. Dürer Kert

Ruin Bars Budapest Durer Kert

Dürer Kert is situated in the former University building and has become established as one of the most vibrant clubs of recent years. Dürer hosts live shows (on the garden stage), DJ sets (there are multiple dance floors), and various other events. Similar to most of the other ruin bars, Dürer has a large (pebbled) beer garden.

8. Ankert romkocsma

Ankert Ruin Bar

Anker't is a ruin bar on a pleasant Budapest backstreet relatively close to both the grand Andrassy Avenue and the gritty Jewish Quarter. Anker't claims to have the largest beer garden in Budapest. The beer garden is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the bar/club that includes an indoor hall, a total of four bars, a dance floor and two food stalls, one of them is a burger joint and the other serves vegan pizzas.

9. Csendes Vintage Bar & Café

Csendes Vintage Bar and Cafe

Csendes is yet another popular ruin bar located close to the centre of Budapest. This is a must relaxed and chilled out ruin bar. This high-ceilinged Bar/Cafe space used to be a grand coffee house during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which makes the current ruin bar decor, featuring creepy dolls hanging upside down from the walls, all the more weird and unusual.

10. Szatyor Bar

Szatyor Bar Budapest

Szatyor Bar is located on the other side of the Danube in Buda. This definitely looks like your typical ruin bar but it is more upmarket than usual ruin bars you find in District VII. The food menu is small but the dishes are good but more expensive than usual ruin bar prices. They also have a large selection of craft beers. Szatyor Bar attracts a slightly older crowd than most rather ruin bars.

Please note that the KertemFilter Klub and Corvin Club ruin bars are now permanently closed and Kuplung is currently looking for a new location.


I hope that you enjoyed our list of the best ruin bars in Budapest. These are in no particular order, as they are all good in their own unique way. My personal favourite is Doboz.

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Hi, I'm Michael McGuinness and the guy behind the scenes of HG. I'm a professional web developer, blogger, digital nomad and parent. I've been travelling the world with my wife and young son since 2012.