Ruin bars: The most unique experience – Budapest

Ruin bar crawling is a must-to-do activity while visiting Budapest.

So what exactly are ruin bars?

After World War II, many buildings and stores in Budapest’s old District VII neighborhood (the old Jewish quarter) were abandoned. The city found a new life line by transforming these ruins into funky night bars.

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If you pass by these building during the day, you will see nothing out of the ordinary. But at nights magically the entire courtyard transforms into funky bars bustling with crowds talking and dancing.

All these ruin bars have few things in common:

  1. Bars set up inside old abandoned places (with holes in the walls and visible pipes)
  2. Interiors filled with flea market furniture and weird antiques plus walls filled with street art – in one word “eccentric”
  3. No signs outside, but large bouncers and posted signs inside – Ensuring people are quiet and do not disturb neighbors
  4. While each ruin bar has its own uniqueness, some of the iconic must-visit ruin bars include Szimpla Kert (the oldest and biggest ruin bar), Instant, Doboz and Corvin Teto.

If you don’t drink like me, still it is worth spending some time at these ruin bars to soak in all the uniqueness like an art show.

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Fun fact: Many a time these ruin bars open/ close/ move depending on whether people get too loud and neighbors complain (reminds me of private party scenes at rented apartments in Mumbai)!!

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