The legendary saying ‘make the best out of it’ gets a whole new dimension in case of the cult Ruin Pubs in Budapest. When financial resources are tight, new ways and innovative ideas are required to explore different paths. Ruin Pubs became a new trend about 10 years ago and they have gained huge following among locals as well as visitors.
Fact is that abandoned, neglected areas do not really belong to ‘the‘ tourist attractions anywhere – only the most curious will visit those areas. In Budapest though, local entrepreneurs gave a totally new meaning to ‘abandoned buildings‘ and the concept is pretty simple:
- search for ground-floor locations, if they come with a cellar, even better
- agree with the landlord on a reasonable rent (which landlords will be more than happy to do due to lack of alternatives)
- do not make any renovations on the walls and around the area – leave it as it is
- invite local artists and creatives to decorate walls
- get some old tables, chairs and other used furniture
- start to offer some snacks & drinks
- invite music bands
- organize workshops, movie nights, flea markets – just about anything entertaining
- and enjoy your new ‘Ruin Pub’ (ruin pub is the 1:1 translation of the Hungarian term ‘romkocsma’).
Nowadays, in bigger cities old buildings are torn down to make place to new, modern ones this is such a refreshing movement that became very popular in Hungary. Why not make the best out of these old places that have so much history and yes, a lot of charm, too. Some of these Ruin Pubs pop up for a while, then they close, move on and open up again at a different location.
All of them have a very unique atmosphere: some of them take their guests back to the socialist settings in the 80s, others combine pub and fashion, whereby a fashion store is located within the pub (Kek Lo Fashion Pub), but every one of them has some kind of cozy retro style. One of these Ruin Pubs – Szimpla Kert – was even voted in a Lonely Planet public voting in February 2012 as the 3rd best pub worldwide. Szimpla Kert also has a small market area, where some fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased, or interested guests can learn belly-dancing techniques during workshops, etc.
The basic concept was so appealing to other cities that e.g. Szimpla Kert opened the ‘Badehaus Szimpla Musiksalon‘ in Berlin. Or in Zurich with ‘Frau Gerolds Market’ the exact same concept has been implemented recently.
Next time you are in Budapest make sure you chill out at one of these cool places.
For more information please visit the website ‘Ruin Pubs’ that also offers a long list of places to visit.
Source of images: courtesy of Szimpla Kert.