Y. Satyanarayana

Ruin bars have been a popular tourist attraction in Budapest since the founding of Szimpla Kert, in 2001. Built mostly in the old Jewish Quarter, these bars are located in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores, or lots. For the most part, the old Jewish Quarter had gone to seed after World War II and legend has it that a group of young men looking for a cheap hangout to drink came up with this current Budapest rage--ruin bars.

Housed in ruins and outdoor spaces around them, Szimpla Kert is one of the classic ruin bars, a most certain box to tick, if one visits Budapest. The disorder of a ruin bar is all too visible in the not-too-comfortable furniture (especially for the fastidious) all over the sprawling ruins--in all the rooms of the first floor, the garden downstairs, and the environment is genial and relaxed.

Szimpla Kert has live music, an open mic and film screenings. Food includes pizza from a wood-fired oven. People visit these bars not just for cheap drinks, but to meet up, chat and make friends.

Fogasház has bikes hanging from its ceiling. It has a derelict look with holes in the walls and pipes seen everywhere. All this adds to the effect of the ruin bar concept.

Fogashaz, another vibrant ruin bar 
Fogashaz, another vibrant ruin bar 

Another ruin bar, hugely popular with tourists as well as locals, is Corvin Teto with its spectacular rooftop terrace. Sit back with a beer and take in a panoramic view of the hills of Buda and the skyline of Pest. If you are looking to shake a leg on heavy electronic music, this is the place for you.