Ruin bars are an awesome invention local to Budapest only. A lot of the city is in disrepair, and several old buildings await renovation. This gives Budapest its unique atmosphere. Ruin pubs just use the old, ruined buildings as they are, and put bars in them. The bars are phenomenal, the drinks are cheap and the crowd is great. These places have a tradition now, and there are a lot of them. This Have Fun Travel tour only goes to the best ones, including the original that started the trend, Szimpla. If you feel up for a night of drinking and partying, this virtual pub crawl is definitely the tour for you!
The first place the app took me was Szimpla and from there, all around the party district. This tour is really a feast for all the senses. On my journey I came across places to eat, plenty of alcohol, and had the chance to meet locals and other expats and backpackers. The ruin bars are the centre of the nightlife in Budapest today, and must be seen to be believed. Although the exterior is kept in its original, crumbling state, these places aren’t shady or poorly stocked at all, despite their appearance. Each one was a quality establishment, but with an affordable angle.
The app gave me interesting information about both local customs and the nightlife of Budapest and the bars I was visiting. It was cool because I could spend as long as I wanted at each place, and was able make friends with party goers. Those Budapesters sure know how to have a good time! The bars are open until the early morning, so there’s no time limit!
The streets I passed through were rife with history, and small doses of it were told along the tour. There are 5 bars to see, and each one is a variation on the theme. The original, the gourmet, the busy-busy, the more laid back, and the classiest of them all for the very end. They all bring something fresh, while maintaining a distinctive feel. I really liked Szimpla, the first-ever ruin bar. It was artsy and interesting without being pompous. And when it came to getting down, it was not pretentious at all, playing current favorites and danceable 80s and 90s classics.
If you have never had Pálinka, this is a great time to test it. I was amazed, at how strong yet fruity it was, so be careful! If you love wine, have a glass of Hungarian red, some of the best in the world, as I discovered. I also tried fröccs, a genuine Hungarian spritzer of wine and soda water. And of course, tons of local craft beers, which are having their global heyday right now. I was very happy to see that Budapest is also on this trend, and tried some amazing sour beers and IPAs. Turns out Hungarians truly know how to make their boozes…
It was one of the best pub crawls I have ever been on, and because of the app, it didn’t feel forced or “touristy”. This way the locals were friendlier and more open too, they weren’t put off by a large crowd of drunken tourists. That was a real plus for me, as I got to meet new friends this way.