bars & ruin pubs


Bars:  Buddha Beach.  By the Danube, on Kozraktar utca, just south of the Central Market, in decrepit warehouse buildings but mostly on the bank of the river; during the summer months. There are many other interesting places with no external signs of existence.  There are innumerable and fascinating bars in abandoned buildings and courtyards.  They seem to change location constantly, but are detailed below, and current descriptions can be found at:

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And what follows comes from Eliane (our consultant on partying and nightlife):

’Budapest now has several very interesting places called ROMKOCSMA (literally RUIN PUBS). These are pubs installed in the courtyards and gardens of empty houses. You don’t see anything from the outside (except people drifting with their plastic beer glasses and sometimes a beefy guard who is there to make sure people don’t get too noisy, as these places are usually in residential areas..), but once you get in the inner courtyardt, it is something else! There is music, alternative exhibits, some have films, and they are open until at least 4 A.M.…. Definitely a must. The crowd there is young and cosmopolitan!

One, called Szimpla kert ( ), is at KAZINCZY UTCA 14, in the 7 th district (walk from red line ASTORIA or BLAHA LUJZA TÉR). There are films shown there. They also have an annex, also outdoors, Szimpla kiskert (VI. ker. Hegedű u. 3 -- behind Liszt Ferenc Tér).

Apart from that , there is another great place, which is open year round , called Dupla – Kertész utca 48, close to the Music Academy). There is more there than meets the eye, namely a huge cellar restaurant-pub.

You can also go to HOLD UDVAR, which is tucked away in a courtyard of the University (Muzéum krt 6-8, by red metro ASTORIA): very surprising, you would never think there is a place like that in there!

Others include:

•Pótkulcs (Pótkulcs -1067 Budapest, Csengery u. 65/b – Not far from Oktogon).

•Eliane’s and our  personal favorite: WEST BALKÁN (VIII: Kisfaludy utca 36) , behind the Corvin Movie Theater, blue Metro Ferenc krt. Open until dawn (like most of those places). A wonderful garden with a lot of atmosphere (

•Same kind of place: Kultiplex: IX, Kinizsi utca 28., not far from West Balkán , same metro stop-(

•Another favorite: a place whose aim is to become an alternative venue for contemporary art: TŰZRAKTÁR (IX. Tűzoltó st. 54-56 ) – Metro M3 Klinikák. Exhibits, concerts, theatre shows everyday. Open-air bar open from 5PM to 3 AM ( )

Some other great partying places , with music and dancing:

•Buddha Beach (IX. Közraktár u. 9-11 (on the Pest side of the Danube next to the Szabadság Bridge by the Central Market.  More for partying, as this is primarily an outdoor dance club, but they have great bars, you can also eat and you may feel you are by the sea somewhere in Thailand [or at least somewhere in a Hungarian landlocked fantasy of Thailand].

•2 great places at the foot of Petőfi Bridge, on the Buda side (tram 4-6): ZÖLD PARDON (  and CAFE RIO  (  Both have guards at the door and wil check your bags for food and drinks. No backpacks allowed at Rio, which is also more upscale. But both places are just great, each in their own style. If visiting ZÖLD PARDON, push the door SZEPARÉ: that’s where live concerts + a very neat bar-restaurant is, tucked away in one corner of the compound.

•right next to it is the Budapest Plage, with a host of pubs, concert places and restaurants on the quay. I believe it is only until mid-august, but a great place to sit down in a lounge chaire by the river!

•If there, also check out A38 boat ( , which is moored near the bridge. It is  a great concert venue year round and it has a lot of open space in summer, on the deck.

•And in an unmarked alley off Kiraly utca at #46; http://, there’s a bar and music club, Kuplung.  The most remarkable thing about it is that seemingly in order to permit very loud live performances they have built an acoustically isolated room inside the vast open space of the bar.  You can’t hear the music outside the room or the bustle from outside in the room.  It’s well worth checking out, though bear in mind that there appears to be no air conditioning or ventilation whatsoever (and the room is a good deal warmer than the temperature outside), everyone smokes, and there are no seats. 


Bars are the nocturnal version of Budapest's cafés, the places where people sit and allow time to wash over them in the company of friends and the warm buzz of a glass of beer or wine or palinka.  The ruin pubs in particular -- ad hoc watering holes and clubs that spring up while condemned buildings wait to be razed -- straddle the lines between dancehall, pub, rock, folk, roma, disco, an unending and impossible to pin down moveable feast.