In Budapest, ruin bars play an essential role in the nightlife of the capital of Hungary. They are often listed among the top spots to visit for anyone coming for a fun weekend in Eastern Europe. But how did these establishments become such iconic tourist attractions?

In Neverland’s next article, we will delve into the history and charm of the best ruin bars in Budapest and explore why they have captivated the hearts of locals and tourists alike. You’ll also get a glimpse of our own modern twist on Hungarian ruin pubs!

 

The history of ruin bars in Budapest

The history of ruin bars in Budapest begins in the early 2000s, in the Jewish Quarter of District VII. This area, once a bustling hub, fell into disrepair following World War II and the subsequent communist era. As many buildings were left abandoned, a new opportunity arose for creative and entrepreneurial minds. 

  • Ruin pubs were a creative response to the ruin left behind (hence the name) by some of the most difficult periods in Hungarian history. Abandoned, decaying buildings and stores were transformed into eclectic social spaces – a great way to turn neglect and ruin into a new form of nightlife enjoyed to this day.
  • In a way, ruin bars are much more than a place to drink. They have become a symbol of Budapest’s post-communist revival and have contributed to the regeneration of entire neighborhoods. This transformation has not only enhanced the city’s aesthetic appeal but also boosted its economy by attracting tourists and fostering local businesses.
  • Szimpla Kert, established in 2002, was the pioneer of this movement in the capital of Hungary. Located in the Jewish Quarter, Szimpla quickly gained popularity due to its quirky decor, diverse crowd, and laid-back atmosphere. It set the stage for what would become a thriving trend across the city.
  • Since the inception of Szimpla Kert, the ruin bar scene in Budapest has grown exponentially. Each pub brings its unique twist, incorporating various themes, art installations, and even cultural events.  No two ruin bars are alike.

 

What makes Budapest’s ruin bars so charming in the eyes of locals and tourists alike?

The charm of Budapest’s ruin bars lies in their unique atmosphere and eclectic decor. These venues often feature mismatched furniture, graffiti-covered walls, and an array of found objects repurposed as decor. This creative, almost chaotic ambiance creates a welcoming and unpretentious environment where anybody can relax and socialize.

These are not just places to drink; they are community hubs where people from everywhere can come together. They foster a sense of community and belonging, making them popular gathering spots for both locals and tourists. This inclusive and relaxed vibe encourages social interaction and cultural exchange – they represent an excellent opportunity to get to know people from all around the world!

 

What are the best ruin bars in Budapest?

As we’ve mentioned before, each pub offers a distinct experience. There’s a place to suit every taste and preference, whether you’re looking for a more relaxed evening or an all-out night of epic partying. Here are some of the best ruin bars in Budapest worth checking out:

  • Szimpla Kert. The original. One of the most popular and biggest ruin pubs. A sprawling, multi-roomed labyrinthine layout, where there’s always a crowd. 
  • Instant-Fogas. Another large ruin pub – one of the best choices if you’re looking to party. A multi-level complex with various dance floors, bars, and chill-out areas. Doboz is another great alternative for nightlife enthusiasts.
  • Anker’t. Spacious, open-air courtyard, and minimalist decor. It offers a more relaxed atmosphere compared to some of the busier ruin bars, making it a great spot for casual drinks and socializing.
  • Púder Bárszínház. The charm of a ruin bar combined with the creativity of a theater. Colorful, artistic interior, regular cultural events, and a more intimate setting makes it perfect for romantic nights out as well.
  • Csendes Vintage Bar & Café. The name “Csendes” literally means quiet in Hungarian. It’s one of the best ruin pubs in Budapest for a laid-back evening with friends surrounded by vintage decor and a cozy atmosphere.
  • Mazel Tov. A bit more polished take on the ruin bar concept, with a focus on Middle Eastern cuisine and culture. Its beautiful garden setting and delicious food make it a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a meal in a unique environment.

 

Neverland’s modern twist on the best ruin bars of Budapest

Neverland is one of the best bars in Budapest as evidenced by our 5-star TripAdvisor rating – though to be fair, our bar is technically not in ruins! While our venue is not a ruin pub per se, we also place a strong emphasis on creating a distinctive atmosphere with a stylish interior, featuring neon lights and comfortable seating that invites guests to linger and enjoy their drinks.

We offer a variety of experiences to a diverse crowd. Think of Neverland as your all-in-one stop for escape rooms, drinks, food, and more! 

  • Over 100 cocktails and spirits from all around the world. If you can’t choose between the classic concoctions, gin tonic variations, or our own signature drinks, our expert mixologists love creating unique cocktails curated to your taste profile. Don’t hesitate to ask for “the bartender’s choice”! You can also find spirits from all around the world at our cocktail bar in Budapest – be sure to check out our menu!
  • 8 thematic escape rooms. We are proud to function as an escape room bar in Budapest. Just like the best ruin pubs in the Hungarian capital can offer different activities, we like to spice up our venue with 2nd and 3rd generation escape rooms that draw inspiration from various settings, such as fantasy, Eastern European history, heists, and even horror-themed escapes. Detailed storylines and intricate puzzles await that will test your team’s problem-solving skills! Not to mention that successfully escaping from a room (or not) can be celebrated with a round of drinks at the bar!
  • American-style restaurant in Budapest. If you’re aiming to experience the Hungarian capital’s nightlife to the fullest, it’s important no one goes hungry while enjoying their drinks. From delectable finger foods to sumptuous main courses, our restaurant aims to satisfy all cravings. Neverland’s kitchen prepares dishes freshly on-site, emphasizing quality and flavor. You can enjoy a meal before or after exploring the escape rooms, or simply relax with a drink and some snacks, whatever suits your mood! 
  • We highly recommend trying out our Italian-style sourdough Neapolitan pizza in Budapest – you won’t believe your taste buds, it’s so delicious!
  • Social hub located in the beating heart of Budapest. Neverland is strategically located in Budapest’s city center, making it easily accessible whether you are walking, driving, or biking. The venue is close to several major transportation hubs, including Deák Ferenc tér, Astoria, Ferenciek tere, and Kálvin tér, making it convenient for both locals and tourists. For those arriving by car, parking is available in front of the entrance, though it is important to note that a parking fee is required between 8.00 am and 10.00 pm.
  • We are dog-friendly! In addition to its convenient location, Neverland is also pet-friendly, ensuring that even your furry friends can join in on the fun. This welcoming policy allows visitors to bring their pets along. This is the goal of Neverland: providing an inclusive and friendly atmosphere.
  • Private VIP room for special celebrations in Budapest. Neverland’s high-end space features refined decor reminiscent of a cigar lounge, making it perfect for events that deserve VIP treatment, such as birthdays, team buildings, or even bachelor and bachelorette parties. Neverland’s VIP room offers high-end wine and spirit tastings in an intimate and elegant setting. You will never forget this experience.

 

Whether you plan on visiting ruins bars in Budapest or not, Neverland will always welcome you with open arms  – why not drop by?

However, if you want to be sure, we highly recommend booking your Neverland table or your escape room in advance!