When you say Budapest you say ruin bars. They are really unique and a typical Hungarian invention. The person who came up with the idea of turning an abandoned building into a bar should be honored with a medal. Since its a brilliant part of the nightlife scene in the Hungarian capital. But that’s not all. There are also great clubs. rooftop bars and other ways to enjoy the nightlife in Budapest. Read all about it on this page.
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Ruin bars Budapest you don’t want to miss
What is a ruin bar? A ruin bar is an abandoned building, a ruin, or an unused outdoor spot converted into a bar. But as you can imagine, these bars are not the typical nightlife spots. They are more unique than every bar you’ve seen. Generally, the interior of these places are creative, colourful, alternative and a little bit crazy. Like all comes straight from the thrift shop and has been hanged or placed randomly. One of them has a tree in the middle of the dancefloor and another one has a trabant in the garden that seves as a table. So it’s fair to say that they are bit rough around the edges.
Most of the ruin bars are located in the Jewish quarter. This area was destroyed during World War II and the creative scene wanted to breathe new life into it.
Now which ruin bars should you go to when you are in Budapest?
Szimpla Kert is by far the most famous ruin bar in Budapest. You can say it’s the mother (or father as you like) off all ruin bars. The reason for that is simple: it was the first to appear in the city. The doors of the first Szimpla – it was located on a different spot back then – opened in 2002. And when others saw how quickly this place became successful they started copying the concept.
It’s not only the first ruin bar, but it’s also a great bar. It is not for nothing that this bar is in the Lonely Planet’s Top 50 best bars of the world-list.
Inside this old factory turned into an open-air cinema and pub, there are all different spaces with different moods. Pick whatever suits you at the moment. Have a drink in the garden sitting on an old Trabant car, or sip from a cocktail staring at computerscreens showing you psychedelic stuff. If you can’t stop looking at the great furniture and other trinkets, than don’t forget to pass by the designshop on your way out.
Szimpla Kert is also open during day, if you prefer to have a drink in the afternoon instead of during nighttime.
Address: Kazinczy utca 14
Opening hours: Monday till Saturday from 12:00AM – 4:00PM. Sunday from 09.00AM – 04.00 PM.
Fogas Ház was an early bird too. It was one of the first ruin bars to appear after Szimpla Kert. During the renovation of the building the owners found an old sign from a dentist and that’s when they decided to call their bar ‘Fogas Ház’ which literally means ‘House of teeth’.
If you are a metal or rock music fan step inside’Robot’ which they call ‘the mecca of rock music’. Next to that there is Pont, a place which is popular among college students.
In total it has 15 bars, 7 dance floors, and a great garden where you can enjoy a local beer.
Address: Akácfa utca 49-51
Opening hours: Daily from 4pm-6am
Clubs in Budapest
Do you like clubbing? Then check out the clubs underneath. Every year there are awards for the best clubs in Budapest voted by the people from Budapest. And these three clubs were the most popular in 2019: Ötkert, Akvárium Club and Tesla. About the last one there are different stories to tell, so I decided not to feature it on this page.
Ötkert is a centrally located club in Budapest. It’s located close to the Saint Stephen’s Basilica and the Chain Bridge. The DJ’s here mostly play hip-hop, electronical music and house.
The club has 3 rooms, offering 3 different musical styles and 3 DJs every night. You can dance on the latest hip-hop tunes, enjoy minimal and house music or let famous local DJs amaze you with their sets.
On most night there is no entrance fee. But there are exceptions, so please check out their website before you decide to go.
Address: Zrínyi utca 49-51
Opening hours: Every Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11pm-5am
Just like Ötkerst is Akvárium Klub very centrally located. It’s situated on the middle of Erzsébet Square where you can also find the Budapest Ferris Wheel.
This place is not just to go clubbing. They also host conferences and concerts. There are multiple rooms and it has space for 2100 people at the same time. There are two main halls and a smaller hall where you can enjoy music.
Outside there also a great terrace on the square. Where you can drink a drink underneath the lighted trees. There is a great atmosphere here and they serve great cocktails.
Address: Erzsébet tér 12
Opening hours: Mon & Tues: 12:00 – 01:00 / Wed – Sun: 12:00 – 04:30
Rooftop bars in Budapest
Do you want to drink a cocktail or a beer with a beautiful view. Then a rooftop bar might be the right choice for you. There are a lot of them in Budapest. These rooftop bars are the best according to us.
Probably the most famous rooftopbar in Budapest is this one. The 360 bar. As you might already expect by looking at it’s name: this bar has a 360 degrees view.
The 360 bar is located on the famous Andrássy Boulevard and you can go there both during summer and winter. In summer you can stay outside on this terrace till late in the evening thanks to the nice temperature outside. In winter you can also stay outside, but then you are sitting inside a kind of glass igloo.
Be aware: on some days you need to pay entrance to enter the rooftop terrace.
Address: Andrássy utca 39
Opening hours: Mon – Tue Wed & Sun: 2:00PM – 12:00AM / Thu – Sat: 2:00PM – 02:00AM
Website: website 360 bar
High Note Skybar
Another rooftop bar where the view will please you big time is the High Note Skybar. It’s next to the Saint Stephen’s Basilica and it’s so close that you feel like you might be even able to touch the biggest church in Budapest from this terrace.
If you want to be sure you will have a seat. Make a reservation on forehand on the website of this bar. This rooftopbar is by the way part of the incredible Aria Hotel. Check out more information and book here.
Address: Hercegprímás utca 5
Opening hours: Every day from 12am till midnight
Website: website High Note Skybar
Party in a Budapest bathhouse
Apart from the ruin bars mentioned above there are also other unique parties going on in Budapest: the parties in Budapest bathhouses. Also know as ‘sparties’. Think laser-lights, smoke machines and dancing till the early hours. Put on your bathing suit and dance!
In wintertime you can also party at a spa. But then the parties are inside instead of outside too. I have never been to a party in a spa, but I read some great stories about it. Be aware: I also read some less great stories about it. What’s for sure is that it’s unique: when will you find yourself again dancing in a Budapest spa?
Check out this website for more information and tickets.
Party on the Danube
Partying on a boat on the Danube is a unique event too. Picture yourself dancing on a boat surrounded by the city which is beautifully lighted during nighttime. Combine a great party with an amazing cruise.
You’ll be partying under the stars while you enjoy a wonderful view the city swimming in lights. A great place to start the night. One ticket includes a beer on the ship. The cruise lasts 1,5 hours, and the bar on board is open to serve further alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, cocktails at a fair price.
After the cruise, you will be brought to one of the best clubs in the city.
Buy your tickets here
Meeting point: Duna Palota (Zrinyi útca 5)
Opening hours: Every Friday and Saturday from 23:00 during the high season.
Looking for a hotel?
Check out my two personal favourites: TG Design suites Aparthotel & Hotel Rum (which is Buda-side of the city). Other hotels which are popular, have good ratings and are located very well are Roombach Hotel and AnVa House.