3 fun suggestions for a pub crawl in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest and the River Danube, Hungary (Image via blizniak on Pixabay)

Enjoy an alternative evening out by visiting Budapest’s more interesting waterholes.

Budapest in Hungary is a fascinating city. Spread across two sides of the River Danube the city consists of two districts – Buda up in the hills and Pest on the flatter plain. The city is chock-full of fascinating monuments, historic buildings and more. Restaurants offer a range of cuisine from the local, traditional Hungarian fare to international dishes. However, Budapest also offers some really unusual places to enjoy a drink or three.

Here are several ideas of places to try out on your evenings in Budapest.

1. For Sale Pub, 2 Vámház Krt., Budapest, Hungary

For Sale Pub, Budapest, Hungary
For Sale Pub in Budapest, Hungary (Image by Nan Palmero/Flickr)

The For Sale Pub is nestled across the street from a posh shopping area of Budapest. Let’s just say at the outset, it isn’t posh. The bar also isn’t actually for sale, but patrons are welcome to leave personal ads or business cards on virtually any surface in the pub.

Its rather shaggy and messy appearance attracts both locals and visitors from around the globe to enjoy the “decor” and the delicious Hungarian fare on offer. While enjoying a drink or a snack, browse happily at the pieces of paper and business cards pegged to the walls (and ceiling) around you. Of interest to note, the floor, while not featuring ads, is also a bit messy and is covered in straw. Anyone enjoying the free peanuts on offer is welcome to drop the shells to add to the mess!

2. Ruin Pubs of Budapest

Budapest Ruin Pub
A Budapest Ruin Pub (Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay)

Ruin pubs are the absolute rage in Budapest and are a fun and unique way to enjoy an evening out. The bars are mainly located in the old Jewish quarter of Budapest, which is known as District VII and has been left to fall apart following World War II. What makes them different is that each is set in the ruins of some kind of abandoned building. This could be an old store, warehouse or office building.

While ruin pubs in Budapest used to be part of the underground bar scene, they are becoming increasingly popular with locals and visitors to the city, if you can find them. Most have no visible sign on the outside of the building, so you have to be in the know. Once inside, you will discover a funky and hip atmosphere and “decor” like no other.

There are no pretensions here. Basically, someone finds an abandoned building, takes it over, adds some second-hand furniture and sets up a bar. Add some stock and voilà, they have their very own Budapest ruin pub. Often the take-over of the premises isn’t exactly legal, so things are kept on the quiet, even inside the pubs. This means occasionally the bar has to be moved on to a new location if they are found out, or the building goes up for sale.

Drinking in the pubs is like hanging out in your local thrift shop. When it comes to the decor, nothing matches and sometimes there are gaping holes in the walls. This doesn’t matter a bit, as the atmosphere is always full of fun.

3. Red Ruin Bar, 25 Irányi u., Budapest, Hungary

One ruin pub that is worthy of mention all on its own is the Red Ruin Bar. What makes it stand out is its owner’s sense of humour about the political past of the country. Hungary was once a part of the Soviet Bloc, and Red Ruin delights in mocking Budapest’s communist past. They do this by posting propaganda all over the walls in the form of colourful murals and pop art.

On entering Red Ruin, you will be welcomed by a mural featuring Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. In the mural, all the communist leaders are wearing birthday hats, with a glass in hand and having a happy “communist party.” There are various other fun items, like pop art punny images of Stalin, captioned “Joseph Stylin” and even a cardboard poster of Lenin and Marx with a hole you can place your face in for a communist regime selfie.

On the drinks side of things, Red Ruin serves up a range of local, craft and international beers and only accepts cash, no cards! There are also games to enjoy.

Red Ruin Pub
Red Ruin Pub, Budapest (Image by Christo/Wikimedia Commons)

Have a great time on your next trip to Budapest and make sure you ask the locals about the best places to head to on a fun pub crawl in the city.