Ruin Bar in Budapest

Szimpla Kert is one of the original Ruin Bars that are somewhat prevalent in Budapest. The concept is that these bars take over a building that is falling into ruin and they decorate it with found items, artwork, spray paint, and more to make for a space for people to gather. There’s a courtyard in the back, plus a second floor with additional seating. Our tour director warned us these were fly by night operations and potentially unsafe, but Szimpla has been in business for many years and seems to be very well trafficked and very “permanent,” and even has a Wikipedia entry. The building doesn’t look totally solid, though, one reason why we didn’t venture upstairs.

Szimpla is a vast space with at least four different bars inside, offering a variety of drinks. We kept things simple, ordering an Aperol Spritz and a shot of Unicum, the Hungarian herbal liqueur that is described as “thick, black, goopy.” Mrs Mai Tai couldn’t stand this but I thought it was nice enough to consume since I was drinking like a local. After a long walk through the streets of Budapest, this was a relaxing afternoon stop.

Just as we were leaving we saw a grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter wander through Szimpla’s patio. We also so several taxis drop people off and even during the day this place was quite active. We’re glad we got to check out one of Budapest’s unique cultural treasures, the Ruin Bar.

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