Budapest’s glorious ruin pubs

When I announced my partnership with Contiki and my upcoming trip to Budapest, a lovely reader named Tom commented and told me to be sure to check out the “ruin pubs.”

They’re exactly what you think they are –- abandoned buildings converted into pubs and artistic spaces.

Gritty enough for ya?

“The beginning of the 21st century was an exciting turning point in the nightlife of Budapest: in the central area of the city new places were opened one after another in tenement houses and factory buildings doomed to destruction. These were equipped with rejected furniture of old community centres, cinemas, and grandmothers’ flats, bringing a retro feeling into these places.” –

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m slightly obsessed with two things: abandoned places, and dive pubs. (See also: chocolate, facial hair on men, nachos, bookstores, and Greece.) So, ruin pubs? Ultimate. Destination. Ever.

Budapest has a crazy nightlife. The booze is fairly cheap, Hungarians love to party, and Europeans seem to be JUST discovering how alive the city is. While we did meet a crapload of stag parties, their numbers were nothing compared to the stags we met in Prague.

We started at Szimpla Kert (Simple Garden), probably the most popular ruin pub. The place was packed with party-goers, some in weird disguises and others just breezing through. Nikki and I paused to take our photos in a lime green bathtub-turned-couch, and were immediately pounced on by a duo of Irish men from Belfast.

Other cool features: a table made from an old Trabant car, and an open-air cinema.

I don’t remember where else we ended up (shocking, I know), but we danced until the early morning hours, I ended up pocketing a French guy’s phone number (and having an entire French conversation with him, although I have my doubts it made much sense), and then slept for three hours before touring Parliament.

If anyone has any idea what this bar is, let me know.

The nightlife in Budapest don’t quit. Put on your drinking hat and get OUT there!

This trip was sponsored by Contiki, but all opinions are my own unless subjected to Chinese water torture.

  • July 30 2012
    Dana - Our Wanderlust

    This post is hilarious. Anywhere that there is beer and bathtubs for couches?? Ha ha.. I’m in. Thanks for the info!

  • July 30 2012

    Hey Candice – thanks for the shout-out at the beginning! :D

    Glad you enjoyed the ruin pubs in Budapest – and loving the reclining photo on that snazzy lime green bathtub-couch, which I may have to steal for my apartment.

    • August 03 2012

      I know right?! Although I have to admit, it wasn’t overly comfy…

  • July 31 2012

    I need to go to Budepest. Neeeed.

  • July 31 2012

    Dude! I had NO idea you were in to abandoned stuff as well! That’s basically my first search term when travelling somewhere new. Before even the silly stuff like currency or accommodation. We need to hash out a ‘Best Abandoned Shit’ post one day soon…

    • August 03 2012

      Yes! Newfoundland is filled with abandoned communities. I NEED TO SEE THEM ALL

  • August 01 2012

    If you like ruin bars….you have to live in Berlin, it’s full of them! :)

    • August 03 2012

      Living in Berlin is a personal goal of mine! For real. I’d like to make it my home base for awhile.

  • August 04 2012

    Yay, the ruin pub post! This is such a cool idea.

  • August 13 2012

    Never heard of a bar like this… mind-blowing! Alright, I guess Budapest is going on the old Get-My-Cheeky-Bum-To list… I’d say you did a brilliant job of capturing the vibe in your photos. I want more!

  • September 03 2012

    Ruin pubs sounds like the most awesome thing ever. Love the green bathtub couch!

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