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The Best Budapest Ruin Bars

Feeling thirsty in Hungary? Discover our picks for the best Budapest ruin bars plus cool spots for beer, cocktails and wine.

Szimpla Kert Courtyard - Budapest Ruin Bars and Beyond
Image: ©2foodtrippers

Finding a bar in Budapest is like finding hay in a haystack. The Hungarian capital has a lot of drinking establishments, many filled with young professionals and visiting tourists. But where are the best places to drink in Budapest?

With a month in the Hungarian capital, we had ample time to discover the best ruin bars in Budapest. We also found traditional pubs, classy wine lounges and even spa bars. Yes, you can imbibe at Budapest bars while getting your soak on.

Discover the best Budapest restaurants and coffee shops to visit between ruin bars

Wine Glasses in Budapest Hungary
Hungarian wine flows freely in Budapest. We drank red wine from the Villány region’s Stier Winery during our dinner at Tasting Table. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

During our noble quest, we sipped sweet Tokaji wine, guzzled pints of lager and downed shots of palinka (fruit brandy). Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Read on to discover our favorite places to drink in Budapest.

Budapest Ruin Bars

Upstairs at Szimpla Kert in Budapest Hungary
The interior of every ruin bar is a surprise and photo opportunity. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you only have one night in Budapest – go to a ruin bar.

The Budapest ruin pub experience is unique and should not be missed when visiting Budapest. Though there’s no lack of fun things to do in Budapest during the day, chilling at ruin bars is the coolest thing to do after the sun sets.

What Are Ruin Bars?

Set in previously abandoned buildings primarily in the city’s Jewish quarter, Budapest ruin bars offer huge spaces, eclectic design, awesome people watching and affordably priced drinks. Some even serve food with full-service restaurants and surprisingly good cuisine.

Since each ruin bar is unique, you should check out several Budapest pubs to find your favorite. When you start your exploration, we recommend the following spots:

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert Building in Budapest Hungary
The grand building that houses Szimpla Kert was a crumbling former factory before its reincarnation to a ruin bar in 2004. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The patriarch of the Budapest ruin bar scene, Szimpla Kert leads the pack in both seniority and popularity. Lines of tourists often form at the door of this cavernous ruin bar, but the short wait is justifiable since Szimpla Kert’s interior is not to be missed.

Kitschy design elements fill the walls of the ruin bar’s maze of rooms filled with bars serving beer and wine. Szimpla Kert Budapest has an open courtyard on the first floor which adds additional seating for thirsty tourists who pop by during a day of sightseeing. See photo of Szimpla Kert’s courtyard at the top of this article.

Kitsch at Szimpla Kert in Budapest Hungary
Kitsch adorns the walls at Szimpla Kert. This is just a small sampling of the trash turned into art at the famed ruin bar. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The hours of Szimpla Kert are astoundingly long with the ruin bar staying open until 4 am six days a week and until 5 am on Saturday nights. We preferred Szimpla Kert during the day when the bar was less crowded since we could more easily check out the kitsch. The owners clearly do not like white walls, and we’re okay with their design choices.

Graffiti at Szimpla Kert in Budapest Hungary
Graffiti or art? You decide on this wall at Szimpla Kert. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

On Sunday mornings, the Szimpla ruin bar holds a weekly farmers market with local artisan producers and their products. Locals and tourists frequent this busy market where they buy cured meat, farm cheese, pastries, honey and prepared food. Many stay for brunch and beer.

Pro Tip
Try a shot of Unicum, Hungary’s unofficial national liquor produced with more than 40 herbs. The drink is like Germany‘s Jägermeister on steroids.

Szimpla Kert is located at Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary.


Eleszto Beer Bar in Budapest Hungary
Elspeth Misiaszek and Alex Waegel order pints of beer at Eleszto Beer Bar. The large bar offers a great selection of craft brews in a ruin bar setting. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Crowds flock to drink value-priced pints of Élesztő’s own beers as well as other craft brews from Hungary and nearby countries. Living up to a name that translates to Yeast, Élesztő serves 17 craft beers to big crowds in an even bigger space.

Beer options range from hoppy IPAs to fruity beers flavored with cherry and elderberry. You can order wine and tapas at this multi-level ruin pub, but the real draw is the quality beers. At least it was for us.

Pro Tip
Bring cash to Élesztő. Unlike most of the best bars in Budapest, Élesztő did not take credit cards during our multiple visits.

Élesztő is located at Budapest, Tűzoltó u. 22, 1094 Hungary.


Most Ruin Bar in Budapest Hungary
Most has four different spaces including this room that operates as a restaurant and bar. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Cafe by day and bar by night, Most is a ruin bar in District VI that’s appropriate for grown-ups.

Guests choose among the bar’s different rooms depending on their mood and if they want to have an intimate conversation or be part of a party atmosphere. Most is a great spot to enjoy a quick beer or several beers due to the bar’s welcoming atmosphere, favorable pricing and central location.

Pro Tip
Most serves one of the best lunch specials in Budapest as well as a popular weekend brunch.

Most is located at Budapest, Zichy Jenő u. 17, 1066 Hungary.

Mazel Tov

Mazel Tov in Budapest Hungary
The sophisticated design and modern Israeli food at Mazel Tov make this ruin bar one of the most popular in a city filled with ruin bars. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Mazel Tov’s claim to fame is that this Budapest ruin bar serves beautiful food to beautiful people in a beautiful space. Taking the concept to the next level, the uber-popular ruin bar serves Israeli food favorites like hummus, shawarma and shakshuka.

We first visited Mazel Tov in 2017 and shared dishes that would have made our Tel Aviv friends proud. This ruin bar has become destination dining in Budapest since our initial visit, making advance reservations a necessity.

Pro Tip
Try one of Mazel Tov’s lemonades. You can choose from flavors like raspberry basil, mango, passion fruit, strawberry-mint, honey-pineapple and elderflower-mint.

Mazel Tov is located at Budapest, Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Hungary.

Additional Budapest Ruin Bars

Considering the coolness factor of Budapest ruin bars, you’ll surely want to visit several when you visit Budapest. Some ruin bars offer quality food. Others have live music. The one thing they have in common is that they’re all unique.

Here’s a handy list of additional ruin bars to explore during your Budapest bar crawl:

Other Budapest Bars

As much fun as it is to hang out in Budapest ruin bars, they’re not the only places to enjoy adult beverages in Budapest. The city has a wide selection of traditional bars ranging from cozy pubs to chic cocktail bars.

After drinking our way around town, we narrowed our favorites to the following Budapest pubs and bars:

Boutiq Bar

Cocktails at Boutiq Bar in Budapest Hungary
Each cocktail at Boutiq Bar is a work of art. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Google “best cocktail bar in Budapest” and Boutiq Bar will pop up right away. Serving sophisticated cocktails in a city better known for its festive ruin bars, Boutiq Bar’s unassuming exterior hides the speakeasy’s classic decor and full bar.

At Boutiq Bar, mixologists whip up drinks like the sweet and spicy Oriental Mule with Bombay Sapphire gin, bitters, lime and ginger beer. Topped with a mango and cardamom foam, this crafted cocktail was a relative bargain at 2,250 Ft (approximately $8.50 USD) at the time of our visit.

Pro Tip
Don’t see a spot at the bar? Boutiq Bar has additional tables in the back.

Boutiq Bar is located at Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 5, 1061 Hungary.

For Sale Pub

For Sale Pub in Budapest Hungary
Cool bar or fire hazard? Either way, there’s nothing boring about the decor at For Sale Pub in Budapest. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Just across the street from the city’s largest food market, For Sale Pub is one of the best pubs in Budapest thanks to its unique decor and confusing name.

This bar clearly has the philosophy that paper is more fun than art. And by paper, we mean layers upon layers of business cards, flyers, pictures and notes on the pub’s walls and ceiling. Straw and peanut shells cover the floor, making the need for a carpet obsolete.

But what’s up with the name? As far as we know, For Sale Pub is not actually for sale.

Pro Tip
Food portions at For Sale Pub are generous. Consider sharing a bowl of goulash with your beers, especially if you plan to nibble on free peanuts at the bar.

For Sale Pub is located at Budapest, Vámház krt. 2, 1053 Hungary.

Tasting Table

Tasting Table in Budapest Hungary
Bring your appetite for food and wine when you attend a dinner at Budapest’s Tasting Table. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Unlike the wine of Italy, France and Spain, Hungarian wine remains a bit of a mystery beyond the country’s borders. Luckily for traveling wine lovers like us, Taste Hungary‘s Tasting Table offers a crash course in Hungary’s 22 wine regions and the country’s nearly 100 native varietals.

Visitors to the stylistic subterranean cellar can learn about Hungarian wine while drinking a wine flight or during a wine tasting led by an experienced sommelier. As a bonus, Tasting Table sells a wide selection of Hungarian wines at reasonable prices.

Pro Tip
Plan ahead and make reservations for one of Tasting Table’s bi-weekly Thursday night dinners. Hosted by different winemakers and food professionals, these dinners are a bargain considering the generous amount of wine that flows during the multi-course meal.

Tasting Table is located at Budapest, Hungary, Bródy Sándor utca 9, 1088 Hungary.

Wine Bars

After you learn about Hungarian wine at Tasting Table, you will be ready to hone your new knowledge at the best Budapest wine bars. During the holiday season, you can drink mulled wine at the Budapest Christmas Markets. Otherwise, we suggest you check out these spots:

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About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We self-funded our trip to Budapest.

Original Publication Date: December 23, 2017


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Another thing I’ve been doing recently and I feel just completes. I`ve seen Budapest and i do really think this city deserves more attention!

Megan Indoe

Saturday 23rd of December 2017

Budapest is one of those cities I keep seeing more and more about and it's making me want to go! I love this fun guide for the bars! The For Sale Pub has such a fun concept!!

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