I’ll start this post with a bit of honesty-I was not, at all, bothered about visiting any of Budapest’s ruin bars. As a solo female traveller I never go for drinks alone anyway and this trip didn’t look like I’d change my mind. I’d made no plans at all for the trip and then ended up being joined by Jamie at the last minute so my usual ‘make a very detailed, cramming loads in plan the night before’ turned into a ‘lets just hang out, drink tea on the sofa and chat, head out eventually and do a couple of things each day’ kinda vibe instead. I’m not mad about that, although it absolutely means I need to go back to Budapest and see more. I’ve covered what we managed to see in my 72 hours in Budapest post if you want to find out more about this amazing city. This post covers the best thing we did in the city, drinks at Szimpla Kert.
We’d booked a late, 9:40pm flight home on the Monday, and had to check out of our Air B n B at 10am, so we were looking into things to do. Because travelling with Fibromyalgia can be an absolute pain, and Jamie had already helped me deal with mild and then more intense flare on two separate days, we were very keen to not push my broken body too far and so we wanted places to sit, drink coffee, eat, or have an alcoholic drink. I was looking into quirkier things to do in Budapest and came across the ruin bars. I figured they would be a good way to kill some time and boy, I wasn’t wrong!
We’d already been to one on the Friday evening, two doors down from where we were staying, and I liked the vibe of the place. When I realised Szimpla Kert was really close to the place we’d chosen to have lunch (so close, in fact, that I’d photographed the outside earlier and not realised what it was) we headed over to kill a couple of hours over a drink or two. Turns out, I could’ve happily spent at least twice that just walking around the place with my camera.
If you’re into a really fancy, get really dressed up and be served the very best Champagne by a waiter in a tuxedo sort of places, Budapest’s ruin bars may not be for you. If you’re like me, never happier than surrounded by graffitied walls, weird art, disco balls, neon lights and plants, you’ll be in heaven. Szimpla Kert is an old building full of different rooms, open window frames you can sit in, balconies to look over, and cool, quirky things to discover in each room. We particularly enjoyed finding the pink laminated post it notes left by Supportive Pinky Notes, which were all over the place, and trying to work out exactly how many times Kate had been proposed to with a black sharpie on a wall. If you know Kate-did she say yes??
Szimpla Kert was the first ruin bar in Budapest so a great one to start with, and it’s been in the Jewish Quarter of the 7th District in 2004. We were surprised it didn’t open until 3pm so bear that in mind if you’re planning a visit, arriving at 3 will give you chance to take lots of photos without a ton of people in them, but I imagine it’s more fun later in an evening when it’s busier. Might be worth going twice, I know we would have if we’d found it sooner. Drinks weren’t expensive (I say this like I paid for them-but I think it was approximately £6 or £7 for a cocktail which, compared to home, is a normal amount) and beer seemed a lot cheaper than that. A night out here definitely won’t break the bank.
Have you been to Szimpla Kert, or any other ruin bars in Budapest that you’d recommend we try next time?