10 Aug Off the beaten track ruin pubs in Budapest
Budapest is known for many things, from its vibrant architecture, warm summers and thermal baths found all over the city. Something else that it’s become more recently well known for are ruin pubs.
Easily recognised, they’re often found in formerly abandoned apartment blocks and are furnished with long-unwanted furniture, creatively restored. They first sprung to life at the turn of the century, created by young people looking for somewhere with more atmosphere to drink in than the stuffy cellar bars and wine bistros that used to make up most of the city’s nightlife landscape.
They grew popular, and locals met and mingled, bands performed and art was created and displayed. Today some of the ruin pubs, particularly the more well-known ones in the centre of the city, have struggled to hold onto this charm as guide books have found them and tourists have swarmed them.
While still very much worth seeing, if you’re keen to check out some ruin pubs still clinging on to the style of the past, check these ones out.
Formerly a nondescript glass factory, Élesztő has grown into one of the hippest, off-the-beaten-track ruin pubs in Budapest. It’s credited with helping to give birth to the city’s now burgeoning craft beer scene that was practically non-existent just a few years ago.
The bar features a large courtyard which packs out with a friendly local crowd come summer. Surrounding on two sides are spacious indoor seating areas and downstairs there is a cosy cellar bar with an adjoining tea house open during the day.
At any given time there are 20 craft beers on tap, with a mix of local favourites and a few carefully chosen imports. The menu rotates regularly, so even regulars are kept guessing – but never fear, the bar staff know their beers, and, with a few prompts from you, will guide you towards the taste you’re looking for.
Address: IX. district, Tűzoltó street 22.
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Located somewhat outside of town next to the charming City Park, Dürer Kert has built a name for itself as a great local music venue, having welcomed a whole host of bands and genres and packing the room with energised crowds each time.
Also worth a shout-out is the huge garden outside, where you’ll find seating all over – including on an elevated stage – a grill kitchen serving up delicious food, shockingly cheap beer and even a fire pit, for which you can rent a cooking pot and firewood if you want to have a DIY BBQ with your friends.
Address: XIV. district, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21.
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While you’re over in City Park, be sure to take a walk to the back to check out Pántlika. It’s a small joint with an interesting history. It originally served as an information booth at an International Fair that was based in the park. While the fair eventually moved on, the building lived on as a catering unit, passing through owners before slowly developing into what it is today – a bar slash bistro slash diner with a 70s feel to it.
Aside from the wide selection of drinks, the real treat here are the burgers, creatively themed after dozens of countries of the world – in a nod to its past – served with fries and sides and utterly delicious.
Address: XIV. district, Hermina street 47.
A junk lover’s dream, Púder sits on the correct side of kitsch and might possibly be the most wackily decorated ruin pub in all of Budapest. Located on the foodie Ráday Street, it’s the creation of Bertalan Babos Zsili and his team, who also opened Csendes, another popular arty bar around the corner.
At first glance, this bar has no coherent theme other than perhaps to be bright, multicoloured and welcoming to the eye. Interesting murals adorn the walls and intricate sculptures can be found in just about every corner. The furniture might as well be a homage to all the colours of the rainbow.
Alo welcoming about this place – the menu, which consists of a wide selection of reasonably priced drinks and an indulgent food menu that rivals just about every other place on the street.
Address: IX. district, Ráday street 8.