Szimpla: A First-Hand Experience of Budapest’s Most famous Ruin Bar

Europe, Hungary

When it comes to attractions,  the big cities  of Western Europe are getting more attention than those in the Eastern side of the region. But what most people don’t realize is that Eastern Europe have so much to offer to almost every kind of tourist or traveler.

Budapest, for example, is a gorgeous city that’ is a melting pot of two kingdoms separated by the mighty Danube. They are connected by the glorious chain gate. This city of full of beautiful attractions, historical sites and of course, modern, must-see destinations.

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After roaming around the two kingdoms by day,  one thing you shouldn’t miss while in Budapest are its vibrant nightlife and party scene.

Like any self-respecting traveler, I did my homework and researched about the things I wanna do it Budapest. I could have chosen many other cities in Eastern Europe, but when I read about the city’s famous ruin bars, it was a done deal.

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So on my first night in Budapest, I walked 10 blocks from my hotel to Kazinczy utca, to visit Szimpla, the most famous ruin bar in Hungary and one of the most famous in Europe. Lonely Planet even ranked this as the best ruin bar in the region.

For those unfamiliar with the term, ruin bars are just that, bars that mushroomed from seemingly abandoned, ruined establishments. It’s a stroke of hipster genius really.

Get this: what’s the best way to attract the hipster, cool kids of the city? Simple. Create a haven where they can party, drink and chat without the trappings of the usual bar/club.

Since its opening in 2002, Szimpla has changed and shaped the scene in Budapest, giving the city’s alternative scene more room to grow and get a loyal following.. Since its opening, several other ruin bars have sprouted in the city. And while the ruin bar initially catered to the hipster community, Szimpla is also now attracting the richer, more posh kids of the city.  Millennials and young-at-heart tourists from within and outside Europe are also flocking to this spot.

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You will feel it, as soon as you take your first step. That pulsating beat, and that youthful electric feel. The bombastic music coming from the loud speakers will immediately put you on a party mood, and make you leave your cares at the door.

On any given night, especially past 10pm, Szimpla Kert is just jampacked with thousands of party goers. And during my visit, the place seemed especially full and I literally had to fight and claw my way to the bar to get some Lager.

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As expected, the place is a mess: thousands of graffiti on the walls, bottles and beer cups thrown on the tables, on the bar, and on the floor. The sheer chaos of it all will disorient you in the first few minutes but as you stay on, you will realize that there is actually order in this chaos.

The place is separated into restaurants, mini bars and an open cinema. It’s just difficult to see everything immediately due to the heavy flow of warm bodies streaming in and out of the venue.

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Yes it is a mess and people just love it the way it is. Even the questionable cleanliness of the toilets. I guess that’s part of the hipster deal, hahaha.

Szimpla is just unlike any other party place I’ve visited and that’s saying something, considering that I have visited clubs/bars in about 47 countries or so.

If ever get the chance to visit Budapest, I would definitely come back to Szimpla.

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