Budapest’s most famous bar started life closer to a squat. In the early 2000s, a few young Hungarians set up a bar in this abandoned building in the Jewish Quarter – and in doing so kick-started the ‘ruin bar’ trend. Today Szimpla Kert occupies an apartment block that’s been stripped back to the brick. It’s decorated with local art, graffiti, fairy lights and a mish-mash of vintage furniture. You can even down your drinks in an old Trabant. There’s a range of bars both downstairs and upstairs, but if you come at the weekend, expect crowds.
If any city feels like it was built for drinking in, Budapest does. It’s virtually impossible to wander the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter without encountering a stag party, and its VII District has such a hedonistic reputation that it’s earned the nickname ‘Bulinegyed’ (party neighbourhood) in Hungarian. But whether or not you’d class yourself as a party tourist, Budapest has something for everyone when it comes to drinking. From all those storied ‘ruin bars’ – dilapidated buildings converted into eccentric nightlife hotspots – to classy cocktail palaces to endearingly dingy dives, these are the best bars in Budapest right now.
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