Budapest is famous for its ruin bars. They’re a “must visit” for any visitor. The most famous of them all, the most recommended is Szimpla Kert. In fact, it’s so famous that Lonely Planet has named it one of the top bars in the world.
Note: Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). I would not recommend something if I did not enjoy it. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Old apartment buildings and unused open spaces are reclaimed and transformed into trendy places for locals and tourists alike to drink cheaply. The bars are generally decorated with whatever furniture is found in the buildings resulting in a eccentric collection of furniture and artwork. This is where the name “ruin bar” comes from. Szimpla Kert was the first ruin bar in Budapest, settling into its home in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest’s seventh district in 2004. Since then, many more ruin bars have popped up around the city.
Many ruin bars have local bands provide music, and organize other events like film nights and art shows. But in the case of Szimpla Kert, every Sunday it houses a farmer’s market full of artisan jams and jellys, fresh produce and tasty meats and cheeses.
There was surprisingly a lot of people at the market. It was quite crowded the whole time I was there.
There was plenty to look at and to buy. From fresh produce to various meats and sausages, to cheese and breads.
In general, everything was more expensive than what you would find at other markets.
But they all looked delicious. The Boy and I ended up walking out of there with a bunch of different sausages and meats, cheese and bread.
The bar was fully functioning. There are plenty of non alcoholic options as well. Even though it technically is a bar, it operates like a cafe during the day (and evenings as well).
I have only ever been to Szimpla at night and visiting it during the day was an interesting experience. You can see even more clearly the fascinating collection of artwork and graffiti throughout the building. Things that you can’t see very well under the cover of darkness among all the people.
The Kert in the name literally means garden when translated into English. Accordingly, a large part of Szimpla is outside in the open air. In the summers there is no ceiling and it is rather liberating to be sitting in an open courtyard staring up in the night sky.
For a unique experience, try going to during the day and on a Sunday to visit the Szimpla Kert Farmer’s Market. You’ll see the ruin bar in completely different light. For more photos from my visit, check out my Flickr page.
1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 14
The farmer’s market is open every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm