Friday night in Budapest's 7th district - the pavements are jammed with trendy young urbanites starting their night out. Over the last few years, the run-down inner-city area has become the city's hippest quarter, packed with what has become one of Budapest's trademarks - ruin pubs. Each ruin pub is unique, but they all share certain similarities: the main ingredient is an abandoned building or empty lot, spiced up with some thrift-shop décor and a dose of hipster vibe. Szimpla kert, the largest and probably best knowna of the ruin pubs was the pioneer. Enter Szimpla and you'll fell like a secret alternative world is opening up,one raw-brick room leads into the other, crowded with mismatched furniture and crazy décor, such as a Trabant turned into a drinking table. Locals tend to agree though that Szimpla is more and more becoming a touristic attraction, so if you really want to mingle with the Magyars, choose one of the other spots, Fogasház for example is a cultural space, a pub and a disco all in one. Kőleves Kert is located on an empty lot next to charming Kőleves Restaurant with heaps of colourful tables and some swings at the bar. Holdudvar, the summer-only restaurant and bar is the place to hit on Margaret Island withgood snacks, cool cocktails, dance evenings and film screenings make it one of the locals' favourites.
For some more serious clubbingthere's a lot to choose from. If you're into live concerts, A38 might be a good choice. Located in an old stone hauler ship, the place hosts a concert hall featuring anything from the latest electronic music to world music concerts while the bar on deck is the perfect place to let the Danube breeze run through your hair. Oh, and it has been voted best bar by Lonely Planet readers in 2012. The longest summer festival is to be found at Zöld Pardon, at the Buda side of the Rákóczy Bridge. Concerts by the most popular Hungarian and international acts take place here from April to September, from Monday to Saturday. Just cross the bridge and you'll find another open-air concert venue: Park, where you can choose between electro, retro and alternative – just walk from one stage to the other. A festival-feeling is offered at Akvárium Club – where locals and tourists head for concerts from all genres of music or just to chill out the grass with a beer in hand!
For traditional clubbing, put on your dancing shoes and head into one of the many music clubs and discos. Ötkert is a dance club, a bar and an exhibitions space all in one. Listen to the DJs battling it out and enjoy a beer in the courtyard. Minyon Bar is the right choice for stylish clubbers – music, cool cocktails and a sophisticated kitchen awaits you in the late hours. Want to party like they do on Ibiza? Mix Club is the closest you will get. Top Hungarian DJs supported by the best VJs will take you on a journey far away. An exclusive atmosphere is guaranteed at Creol Bar – swing your hips to funky music or sip a cocktail in one of the comfy couches. Symbol Live Music pub is another favourite among locals – DJ sets and live concerts guarantee for a frenetic party atmosphere.
If you're spending your stag or hen weekend in Budapest and want to trade the hipsters for boobs and muscles, Hajógyári Island is your destination. Located on an unused dockyard, the disco complex offers some honest pumping Jersey shore-style music. Dokk Beach is the summer capital of R 'n B. Get a cocktail and head to the Jacuzzi with some hot blondes, if that's what you're into. And if everything else closes down in the city centre but you still haven't had enough, head to Piaf, a cosy club with red lights and a mysterious atmosphere, or make your way to Club Coronita for the after party – DJ's play all day here. If you're looking for something really, utterly special though, make sure you head to a Cinetrip event – the parties take place once a month in one of the historic city spas so we can only hope that you've chosen to come to Budapest at the right time. Techno is pumping, laser lights are shooting, acrobats are hanging from the ceiling and belly dancers are gyrating – at a spectacular bath. Sounds like fun?