Some people come to Budapest for the architecture. Others come for the al fresco thermal baths. Some (probably most, if we’re being honest!) come for the nightlife. Budapest has all the ingredients for a great night out. The beer and wine are cheap, the city is easy to get around, and the Jewish Quarter is home to some really unique, so-called ‘ruin pubs’.
These pubs started popping up at the turn of the 21st century, when the neighbourhood’s abandoned houses and factory buildings were filled with second-hand furniture and makeshift bars. These days, they’re at the heart of Budapest’s not-so-underground club scene.
If you only visit one ruin pub while you’re here, make it Szimpla Kert. This is the biggest and the best, and the one that shows all the others how it’s done. Before my trip, I’d heard people describe it as “the best bar in the world”, so it had a lot to live up to! But once you experience the place for yourself you’ll start to understand all the hype.
Walking into Szimpla Kert is like walking into a junk yard. Wooden chairs hang from the ceiling, bathtubs offer up seating spots, and you’ll even find an old Trabant car and a graffiti-covered phone box in the garden. The whole place is absolutely huge, and there are loads of nooks and crannies to explore. Drinks-wise, you can grab a Hungarian beer or a glass of local wine for just a couple of pounds.
The bar opens its doors at midday, and early afternoon is a great time to visit for a quiet drink. It also means you can take some great photos in the daylight. I spent a few hours here, enjoying a few glasses of red and filling my Instagram feed with picture after picture. It’s a blogger’s dream.
I didn’t last until closing time, but I hear the place gets pretty wild as the night goes on. Check it out for yourself and report back to me!