Budapest is well-known for its wild nightlife, pubs, and clubs where the party never stops. But, most of all, it's famous for alternative spots and ruin bars. Ruin bars are placed inside old buildings that are almost ready to be demolished. They are filled with old colorful furniture and retro gadgets as a decoration.
However, not all the fun lies in often overcrowded ruin bars. Here is a list of regular (and irregular) bars that I find interesting. Why? Because they’re cozy, colorful, vivid, folkloric and with a unique atmosphere.
1) Turist (Dohány utca 1/c) – a miniature café across the street from Budapest Synagogue with 3 tables inside and 3 tables outside (in the summer). The café is nothing special, but just because of that, it looks folkloric and authentic. They have the cheapest beer in whole Budapest (about 300 forints) and the cheapest Hungarian spirit, pálinka (about 300-400 HUF). It’s open every day except Sunday.
2) Ellátó Kert (Kazinczy utca 48) – one of my favorite bars in Budapest (and yes, a ruin bar) with a large beer garden. There you can enjoy Hungarian beers Arany Ászok or Dreher (about 450-500 HUF) even in the winter time because the garden is then turned in some kind of a stand. Ellátó Kert is very cheerful and colorful, with every table and every seat painted in a different color. It has funky decorations and an atmosphere, that just makes you feel happy and relaxed. 🙂
3) Haverok (Dohány utca 1/c) – right next to Turist bar, there is another café with larger terrace and more places to seat. Haverok looks like a typical Croatian bar that offers both coffee and alcoholic drinks (beer for 400 HUF). It’s an ideal place to meet your friends and start your evening before hitting the clubs nearby.
4) Bobek (Kazinczy utca 53) – a colorful bar with a warm and cozy wooden terrace. The price of a beer is about 500 HUF and they close after 2 a.m.
5) Hrabal Söröző (Rákoczi út 11) – It seems that the first association with the Czech Republic that comes to a Hungarian mind is Bohumil Hrabal, a 20th-century Czech writer. I’ve noticed that all of the Czech-style pubs in Budapest are either named after Hrabal or they sell a beer named after his novel (Postřižiny). On the door of the Department for Czech Language and Literature at the Budapest’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies, there is a photo of Bohumil Hrabal right next to Krtek (Czech cartoon character).
Hrabal Söröző is a typical Czech pub with wide wooden tables and without the fresh air inside. It’s definitely worth a visit to see the Hungarian perception of Czech culture and to try Postřižiny beer.
6) Hintalo (Bacsó Béla utca 15) – definitely my number 1 bar in Budapest. It’s located between the Rákóczi Square and Bláha Lujza Square. The owners are young blond German guys that came here from Argentina. Some of them speak only English so you won’t have trouble communicating with them. Hintalo is popular amongst Hungarians, Serbs from Subotica (near the border with Hungary) and foreigners.
You can order the house Hintalo beer for 450 HUF or you can try different craft beers, flavored beers, etc. Hintalo means a rocking horse and the bar is filled with wooden rocking horse toys in different colors. They also have board games and other toys, so you definitely won’t get bored. It’s open until late at night.
7) Szimpla Kert (Kazinczy utca 14) – I mustn’t forget Szimpla, one of the well-known Budapest’s ruin bars in the 7th district, very popular amongst tourists. I won’t write more about Szimpla, because you’ll find it in any tourist guide book.
Btw, 1€ = 321 HUF.