The Ruin Bars of Budapest



The history of the 20th century had an enormous impact on the contemporary city nightlife. Many of the downtown districts have been victims of the wars, bearing scars of the past even today. In terms of structures, the damage the city took is still visible. From the piles of wreckage covered by dust a genuinely intriguing Hungarian cultural tendency rose. The physical memories of bygone times are displayed in spectacular fashion, evoking a strange, yet amazing atmosphere for these urban houses. The perfect locations for some hard drinking, soft grooving, underground concerts and eye-opening conversations.
Enter the world of the famous Ruin Bars!
 

Fogas ház

A new foundation: opened during the summer of 2009, and right after the summer season it closed again for a good half a year. After some redecoration and modification, at the end of May 2010 it finally opened its gates again. Fogas ház takes its mission of being a ´cultural reception space´ real serious , like Tűzraktér does a few blocks from here: this is more emphatic, than its function as a ruin pub. They are also working out a selection of programs, but their plans include a gallery for contemporary artists, inviting theater groups, concerts, parties and film screenings.
Address: Budapest, Akácfa str. 51, 1073
Phone: (1) 737 8820
Web: www.fogashaz.hu
Instant
Settled in the ’Pest Broadway’ area, not in the 7th district. Diversity in one place. Gallery, café, pub, meeting place and a place for cultural events, too. In a place, where the room is turned upside down, and a school of fish passes above your head, anything can happen. Two tenement houses are opened into one area, where you can go into all of the former flats and rooms, it is a real labirynth. If you want to meet someone in Instant, it is advisable to fix the exact place in advance – to avoid a long discussion on the phone. At the entrance it is already clear, that the group of young artists and designers made an exhausting job – besides the ’compulsory’ retro elements of the ruin pubs here you can see lots of other clever visual solutions. Examples of crazy creativeness: the blue school of fish swimming between the ground floor and the first floor, and the ’upside down’ room, where the furnishings (beds, tables, chairs etc.) are hanging down from the ceiling. Wandering around in the rooms of Instant do not be surprised if you bump into bizarre objects, like a sorted out dental chair or a flipper table left here from the 1990’s.
Address: Budapest, Nagymező str. 38, 1065
Phone: (1) 311 0704
Web: www.instant.co.hu/en/
 

Szimpla Kert

(Simple Garden) is the pioneer of ruin pubs. It is really a cult place giving new trends. Undoubtedly the best known ruin pub among the locals and the tourists, as well. Its atmosphere is definitely a charmer, you'll understand when you see the tables made from old Trabant cars. Its programs are as wide and unique as its atmosphere; there is place for the open-air cinema (which is the distributor of its films), for the film festivals and exhibitions, just like for the bicycle fairs, or for the houseplants left there for keep and care.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy str. 14, 1075
Phone: (20) 261 8669
Web: www.szimpla.hu

Kertem

If one wanders into Kertem (My Garden), in the City Park, during the daytime, they might easily think there´s something wrong with their eyes: while the rainbow-coloured garden chairs may remind them of the atmosphere of 80s at lake Balaton, on the tables they can only see lemonade glasses. The afternoon belongs to those with small children, and kids and their parents love this alcohol-free summer drink. Only adults and those children who cannot yet walk sit at the tables - those who can at least crawl are right under the table and among the dogs, since animals are also very welcome here. As the evening sets in, more and more beer glasses appear among the lemonades, more and more Balkan Burgers are ordered, and couples, larger companies take the place of families. All in all, Kertem is a universal habitat in the City Park, whether you come with dogs, children, or other animals.
Address: Budapest, Olof Palme str. 3, 1146
Phone: (30) 225 1399
Web: www.facebook.com/kertemfesztival/
 

Filter Klub

Once a lot of beer and theatrical attempts went down in this basement (how successful these latter were should be left mercifully undiscussed), and even though the Cultural Center in Almássy square is now closed, the basement remained - only that now they call it Filter. The vaulted ceiling is now covered by a jungle of plants and the tubing of the air vents, the wall is full of graffiti and you can sit down on run-down furniture, iconic for ruin pubs. The place of fiery-eyed artists and performers is taken over be equally fiery-eyed musicians, but the most important points remained: beer is cheap and enertainment is guaranteed.
Address: Budapest, Almássy str. 1, 1077
Web: www.facebook.com/pages/Filter-Klub/160050727481953?fref=ts

Garzonkert

The Mikszáth tér gave home to the Brewery Festivals in the past few years, but there’s also Zappa, Lumen and in the place of the former Mixart the Garzonkert, just to mention the most exciting places. Under the number 3 there is this old mansion, a cobblestone way leads us through its gates to inner yard, what is the Garzonkert itself. As it’s open-air, the best seasons to catch the essence of the place are from spring to fall, so we can enjoy this intimate space coloured by flowers and trees. Though it’s a bit ruinous it’s obvious from the first sight that Garzonkert doesn’t want to be one of the dozens of average ruin bars, it rather proudly bears the marks of the past. So this small difference makes it friendlier, more Pest-like.
Address: Budapest, Mikszáth Kálmán sqr. 3, 1088
Web: www.facebook.com/GarzonKert
 

Kőleves

The history of this place illustrates perfectly how things are changing in the 7th district of Budapest. In the place of the earlier Little Duck Restaurant, now we have Stone Soup´s own restaurant, but the next building has disappeared: the empty gap in its place is, however, served as a perfect location for an open-air pub. Looking at its customers one sees that it is frequented by students from across the road, the Hungarian Dance Academy; but a lot of children appear to bring their parents here too -- in the afternoons, these young customers play on the swings hanging from the roof of the central bar, or the children´s corner. In the evenings, ashtrays and blankets are produced, the cycle rack is full, and the usual pub-going audience turns up, it´s like a photograph of a village pub, taken in our childhood, colored and pasted in the middle of an album of the deteriorating-developing 7th.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy str. 41, 1075
Phone: (1) 322 1011
Web: www.kolevesvendeglo.hu
 

Csendes

The old “Csendes” (Quiet) – if we are not mistaken – as opposed to its name, infuriated the neighbours by being too noisy and therefore, had be to closed down. Csendes Vintage Bar & Cafe, replacing its predecessor, doesn’t stand out from other average pubs by its volume, but by its appearance – its surreal interior is put together from things grabbed about from the garbage. According to the owner’s idea, the place is the continuation of the long list of ruin pubs, considering the selection of programs, too. Besides the gallery room, which is almost compulsory nowadays, they prepare with a different program every day of the week (music, film, literature, connected to Radio „Tilos” / „Forbidden”). The aim is that the Csendes should be a restaurant where the old and the young, workers and idlers can also spend their time, eat and drink, or play board games.
Address: Budapest, Múzeum blvd. 5, 1053
Phone: (30) 727 2100
Web: www.csend.es/CsendesVintageBar