Going Underground to Budapest’s Ruin Pubs

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In Hungary, strange designs lead the way to a good time.

A decaying doorway and a few twinkle lights strung up along a dark alley – hey, sometimes we can’t explain love at first sight, but we know it when we see it. And we’re in love with the ruin pubs of Budapest.

These abandoned buildings have become late-night hotspots, and all credit for their strange décor is due to those locals who not only drink here, but treat the pubs as a drop-off spot for unloading random odds and ends.

For example, in Szimpla Kert, what once were bathtubs and spare car parts have been transformed into couches and tables, while Christmas lights, bike parts and other things have been woven through the plants that surround the DJ booth. Got some mismatched junk? Everything from that weird picture in grandma’s house to the plants you don’t want anymore can be brought to a ruin pub for a second life.

Walking from room to room, the energy here shifts dramatically. Want to cut loose? Somewhere there’s a room blasting your favourite music. But this isn’t some club where the bass is booming and you have to yell to speak to the person next to you. There are plenty of areas where you can just sit with your teammates and enjoy a drink.

When you get the munchies, ruin pubs have you covered with some exceptional late-night eats. Our recommendation: soft bread covered in gooey cheese sprinkled with sausage and paprika.

Don’t let the worn exterior and recycled vibe fool you – ruin pubs are new-school hotspots, through and through.

Photos courtesy of Melanie Witkower.