The Jewish Quarter in Budapest is home to a number of ruin bars or pubs, known as ‘romkocsma’ in Hungarian. Szimpla Kert is the original, established in 2002. The bar moved to its current location in Kazinczy Street in 2004 and has become somewhat of a tourist attraction for visitors of Budapest.
During World War II, the Jewish Quarter became a Jewish ghetto and the area was left with lots of old, dilapidated buildings. Cut to 2004, and the people behind Szimpla Kert decided to turn a building about to be demolished in to their new, bigger bar and the ruin bar craze begun!
The bar is huge, with many different rooms and nooks over a couple of floors. There’s a courtyard at the back that has a couple of bars and is filled with seating. It’s difficult to describe what it’s like inside, so hopefully my pictures can do the talking!
This is a bar that isn’t just for drinking. Szimpla Kert has plenty going on, and there’s even a farmer’s market on Sunday. When I visited on a Saturday afternoon, there were a number of stalls selling homemade bits. There’s also an art corner where you can leave a piece of your own work to be exhibited on the wall, and they have a packed programme with live music to suit every taste.
They also serve food, and although I didn’t try it, I’ve heard that it’s tasty. The Farmer’s Market breakfast that they run over the weekend looks amazing- I definitely plan on going back to try it when I’m next in Budapest!
Drinks-wise, the price are a little more expensive than some places in Budapest but they’re still cheap by UK standards.
Szimpla is definitely the most random bar/pub I’ve ever been to but it’s by far one of the best! It’s so quirky and the courtyard is the perfect place for a cold drink on a hot summer’s day. It’s definitely become a tourist attraction and is really busy (there was a huge queue to get in when we walked past on Saturday evening!) but it’s well worth a visit.
Add it to your Budapest itinerary or bucket list pronto!
Once you’ve ticked it off, there are plenty of other ruin bars to visit. Amongst the best of the rest: Anker’t, Ellato Kert and and Grandio.
And there’s much more to the Jewish Quarter too. I’d liken this part of the Hungarian capital to Shoreditch in London- gritty but cool. My favourite district in the city by far!
Other things to see and do in the area:
- A beautiful Synagogue.
- Cool street art.
- Karavan street food court.
- Klauzál Square.
Check out with Simple Kert website here.