Ruin pubs are a unique part of Hungarian hospitality and in many ways define Hungarian cultural life. These pubs create a special experience for tourists. Nathan Kay, travel journalist for CNN, put together an ultimate guide to the best bars in Hungary.
Szimpla Kert (Budapest) is one of the oldest ruin bars in Budapest. It opened in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest’s 7th district in 2004. You can enjoy live music, film screenings or pizzas served fresh from a wood-fired oven. The interior is very artistic, furnished with various used items, and it is known as a favorite place of celebrities such as Amber Heard.
Racskert (Budapest): A large garden bar in an abandoned parking lot, this venue is not as artsy as Szimpla; but you can enjoy some ethnic dishes prepared by the Bosnian Serbian owner.
Ellato Kert & Taqueria (Budapest): You might feel like you are in Mexico due to a large garden filled with brightly painted tables, as well as due to the tacos and tortillas served fresh daily.
Instant and Fogas (Budapest): When one of the more popular ruin bars (Instant) was bulldozed in 2017, it joined forces with Fogas; now all partygoers and clubbers can enjoy music at Budapest’s biggest ruin pub.
Roncsbár (Debrecen): There is also ruin pub culture in Debrecen, the second biggest city in Hungary. Roncsbár, Debrecen’s favorite club, opened its doors eight years ago this year. The decoration has been thrown together on an ad hoc basis, e.g., a school in Szabolcs County was closed down and the pub owners bought forty chairs from them right away. The venue also features a plane on the ceiling and images of the adored TV character Maci (an iconic Hungarian fairy tale character).