The Ruins Bars are a renowned night out in Budapest. They’re a relatively new concept, only dating back around 20 years or so.
The first ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, was started by a young group of entrepreneurs who saved the building on Kazinczy Street in the Jewish Quarter from being demolished. Instead of investing a load of money into renovating the building, they simply worked with what they had! The building is made up of indoor and outdoor spaces, which they filled with unique and quirky items, ranging from cars, computers, lights, pictures, graffiti and ornaments. There really isn’t a space that they have left untouched but it provides a really unique atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, ‘Szimpla kert’ actually translates in English to ‘Simple Garden’.
Their new nightlife concept was an absolute success at providing a quirky, comfortable and affordable place for locals to socialise and due to this, they have now started to appear all over the City, especially in the Jewish Quarter.
I’ve tried telling my mum that the look I’m going for in the house is the ‘Ruin Bar’ look and that its not messy and cluttered… Shes not having any of it!
We stumbled across one Ruins Bar called Instant, this is the largest of the ruins bars and seems to link to one or two of the others. One being Mazel Tov, which has a slightly more sophisticated feel to it. The entrance to Instant is decorated like a huge circus tent, the next room is a hot air balloon – including authentic hot air, following on to what seemed to be quite a large underground room dedicated to live rock music. We watched a live band who were playing a tribute to Guns ‘N Roses, then headed down into the underground further where we found a spare booth which we occupied for the rest of the evening.
Even if the night owl lifestyle isn’t for you, you should take a trip to see the bars during the day as they are often the host of markets and live music acts.
You really will not believe how quirky these bars are until you have seen them for yourself!