Budapest After Dark! Tour Their Incredible “Ruin Bars”! Hungary Nightlife With A History!

Budapest At Night!

My wife Alex and I spent two days in Budapest, Hungary – and during the day you can take selfies overlooking the Danube River, and at night you can see all of the architecture brightly lit up – we loved the town’s energy and history – and one night we saw the two collide head on when we visited the city’s massively popular “ruin bars!”

Budapest “Ruin Bars!”

Alex and I loved walking around in Budapest, where modern architecture takes second fiddle to the city’s rich past. There are no better examples of that than “Ruin Bars” – unique bars and cafes that have been built in Budapest’s old District VII neighborhood – the old Jewish Quarter.

They are called “ruin bars” for exactly that reason: they have risen from the ruins of abandoned buildings in this neighborhood, which has been left to decay since the end of World War II.

This is a great shot I found online, an overview of the Mazel Tov ruin bar…what a beautiful space!

Here is a description of Budapest’s ruin bars, which describes them perfectly:

“In the early 2000s, the inner part of the VII District was made up of crumbling, abandoned buildings. Once the site of the Jewish ghetto, the historic Jewish Quarter became dilapidated in the decades following World War II, after the deportation of 10,000s Jews. In 2002, the guys behind Szimpla opened up the very first venue on Kertész utca – where you’ll find the Szimpla Café today. However, the real kick happened in 2004, when Ábel Zsendovits and his friends decided to gamble on a condemned building complex on Kazinczy street, which marked the start of the legendary ruin bar we all know and love today.”

Welcome To “Szimpla Kurt!”

“Szimpla began as a small experiment, a bar set up in an abandoned building offering affordable drinks for the young and creative crowd in Budapest. Szimpla became a bohemian hub after the crumbling building got spruced up with local design and vintage, mismatched furniture. Its chaos and eclecticism has turned it into one of the world’s most famous bars.”

Thanks to the website “Budapestflow.com” for these descriptions..you can see more here:

https://budapestflow.com/history-ruin-bars-budapest/

Armed with this information, Alex and I headed out early – about 10p – to find these bars, which were just opening for the long night:

Once we hit the Jewish Quarter, we immediately found long narrow alleys that were filled with restaurants and bars, and packed with people:

We headed into the Karavan food court, lined on both sides with takeaway food stalls and bars – lots and lots of bars…it was crowded but not uncomfortably so – and everyone was in great spirits, so we got in line and got some drinks – and pondered a local delicacy:

I didn’t get the pulled pork and lemonade sandwich that night, but we did try Hungarian red wine, which was delicious, as well as several local beers – and then we decided to find the most famous “ruin bar” of all: Szimpla Kert!

Szimpla Kert Was Over-Served!

Yes, these are shots of the outside of the place, as there was a massive line, which we stood in for 15 minutes before deciding it would take too long to get in – and so we left without seeing the inside of the famous Szimpla Kert, as we had to get up really early to get our train…that said, we had a blast wandering the streets of Budapest and popping into the makeshift food courts and “ruin bars” that were everywhere around us!

I also found this incredible shot of a “ruin bar” online as well:

Nomadic Matt has a terrific travel blog, including a look at the best ruin bars of Budapest – bravo Matt for the incredible phot, and everyone can see more of Matt’s great travel blog here:


https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/the-ruin-bars-of-budapest/

We only had two days in Budapest, but we packed it with as many adventures as we could, like a trip to the “Buda” side of the river to see “Buda Castle”:

You can all the history of this amazing castle here – as well as the Funicular we took to the top!

https://johnrieber.com/2018/11/13/exploring-hungarys-buda-castle-matthias-church-budapests-funicular-ride-into-history-the-fishermans-bastion-overlooking-the-danube/

Of course, we had many great adventures on the “Pest” side as well – that where we went to the Great Market Hall and had goulash!

As well as that classic Hungarian dish, I tried the Schnitzel and the Spaetzle as well – see them here:


https://johnrieber.com/2018/10/28/budapests-great-market-hall-hungarian-goulash-schnitzel-and-spaetzle-paprika-by-the-pound/

Let me know if you’ve ever had the chance to see a Hungarian “ruin bar!”



Categories: Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Food, food blog, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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18 replies

  1. I have not been, but I sure liked the vibe caught in your pictures, John. Gulash! What a comfort dish. I haven’t made it in years. Obviously, you two had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Wow! This is amazing. I have not heard of ruin bars before. Thanks for sharing your travel in Budapest. Pinned in my board of Cities in Europe.

  3. Thank you for taking me around the world, looks like a cool place to visit.

  4. Awesome photos! I love it when cities are revitalizing…we could use a little of that here in the US in some of our bigger metros.

    • Thanks for the comment and I completely agree – we are seeing some of it, and I’m encouraged that the “hottest” US cities right now are the mid-sized ones like Pittsburgh, Kansas City, etc. They are luring people with “big city life thats not quite so big” and it is working! Thanks for the comment!

  5. I had never heard of them, but what a great idea! You certainly did all of that city in a short time, John. You have my admiration for that indeed. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  6. Wow I hadn’t heard of ruin bars before! It sounds like quite the nightlife over there – nice to see it all with your post here!

  7. These look really fun, but wow! There are so many people!

    It is a shame you didn’t make it into Szimpla Kert, but I don’t think I would have bothered either with a line that long!

  8. I have not seen one, John, but it looks pretty amazing. Something good coming out of the historical bad.

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