Ruin bars

Budapest, Hungary

4 places

Anastasia Chukovskaya

Budapest is skyrocketingly becoming the European nightlife capital though it was hard to imagine years ago, as the city was devastated. Actually, this came in handy – dilapidated houses were given to romkocsmák ruin bars, where destruction is the main theme. You will dance in the living room, drink in the bathroom and watch movies outside. Add old stucco and armchairs and you’ve got the vibe. Most of such bars are located in VI district but there are almost 100 around the city.


A special bar claiming to be the place where educated, stylish and inspired people meet. The bar is two hundred years old and is located, like many others, in ruins. Lokál is famous for its dancing parties in the 1950s style. The small room is always overcrowded. People stand in line from the entrance. The band Laura Lackey's Rhythm Revue is bringing the house down: a thin female singer with a guitar supported by a violin, trumpet, contrabass and a simple drum set sings as though there is no distance between Budapest and Luisiana and we are still in the 1950s. Two of the visitors in the crowd look very familiar - Marcel and Dora. Each Tuesday and Thursday they gladly teach swing for free.

For warm weather Lokál also has a courtyard with a bar. Music is quiet here, projector shows silent films, visitors chat sitting at tables. Besides the dancing hall, there is a chill-out zone upstairs. Former private apartments are decorated with red wallpapers and old things. The light is dim here and you feel disposed to intimate conversations.


ANKER’T is a hidden from the eyes bar in a quiet street. It is located in a haunted house with empty and dark window openings looking out on two courtyards from ragged brick walls. Instead of a traditional for a ruin pub collection of trash (like in Szimpla), minimalism prevails here. You will find here crossed shining fluorescent lamps and tree tubs. Some walls are whitened, some are left as they are. The floor under the big black writing 'beach' is covered with sand. Above all this, on the balcony hangs ANKER’T logo - white letter A between vertical lines. Everything is done in a single style, which makes ANKER’T one of the most visually attractive bars in the city. It's design is, however, not the main peculiarity. An extensive alcohol menu, refreshers and vast space attract crowds of visitors here.

Szimpla Kert

On weekdays, Szimpla is a ruin bar with noisy parties that drive residents of neighboring houses crazy. On Sundays, the place is a common overcrowded market. Here you will find fresh pastry, honey, home-made cheese, all kinds of Hungarian sausages with mangalica, fruits and vegetables, special pesto Budapesto, a large stall with salted foods, paprikash in cans and a gigantic tun with goulash boiling since morning. Bumper crowds of expats throng the stalls and don't miss a single market Sunday.

Corvin Tető

Corvin Tető is a rooftop ruin pub with a spectacular view of Pest and hills of Buda. The pub was opened in 2007 on the roof of a former Soviet department store Corvin. A year after, it also became a dance club. The place is a real beehive of activity at night with famous DJs grooving the dance-floor, so that you could enjoy yourself in the atmosphere of Soviet symbols, dancing to techno and trance.


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