The history of ruin pubs

Imagine Budapest in the early 2000s. Something is going on in the historical Jewish quarter: bars and cultural centres are opening in partially ruined buildings and courtyards. After a few years, they had an official name: ruin bars. After 10 years they have become an ultimate highlight in Budapest. Now they are the pulsating heart of Budapest, the gardens of creativity, cultural and civil hubs, the hidden artist caves, a mingle of everything what we love and what you will love about Budapest.

The guys at Szimpla  - meaning simple in Hungarian  - were the ones who are guilty of transforming a whole district into this bohemian paradise. It started very simply so to say: take an old worn down building, spice it up with designer stuff, granny's furniture and crazy ideas of local artists and let the community pulse it through. Szimpla was the true pioneer, and everyone else are just followers. Kazinczy street housing it has quickly become the main vein of the district. Nowadays Szimpla is an absolute must-see at night, and if you want to have a more authentic and local experience with them, then try visiting in the afternoon and do not miss the Sunday morning's farmers market.

It is not a big surprise that ruin bars do not limit themselves to occupy abandoned buildings and the few streets of the inner seventh district. Well no, they love to be open air and they started showing up at other parts of town as well. Pagony  recycles the former kids section of the famous Gellért Bath, situated just behind the still working tourist-highlight spa. The former children's pools are now filled with tables and chairs instead of water, so jumping in one of them you can consume breakfast, lunch or dinner made of seasonal ingredients, along with coffee and beers.

Getting back to the Jewish district, we would like to point out a new-wave kind of ruin bar: Mazel Tov, a place which is a new trendsetter with its combination of eclectic style and refined elegance, Jewish cultural heritage and embracing community spirit. It provides a perfect setting for a contemporary night out regardless of your age, style and family status, and whatever food you fancy, their Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine will not leave you hungry. It defines itself as an entertainment garden and they are open to house various concerts, performances and exhibitions. One of Mazel Tov's major cultural goals is to provide a space for everyone who believes in an open and inclusive world – the programs aim to convey these messages as well.

The list of what we can recommend you about the ruin bars would leave you scrolling down till the morning light, but we'd rather you went out on the magical streets flooded with street art, bars, gardens and cool people and get your own taste of everything. For more information about ruin pubs check out

If you wish to go deep and get some insider info on the seventh district, ruin bars and the culture around them, join the experts on a tour at