The recipe is more, then simple: search for an old building in the downtown of Pest (east side of Budapest), rent the cellar and/or the ground floor, do not renovate anything or just a few, invite some contemporary artists and designers, recreate the atmosphere in the charming retro décor of the 60’s and 70’s, collect the most possible astonishing objects and artworks of the past from the 19th century up to today, build a bar and serve some drinks. Ruin Pubs represent not the newest wave of entertainment in Budapest, but their popularity did not fade. The trend started some ten years ago and although some places come and go or change their ownership, you will always find a Ruin Pub in the city, which is popular.
The whole story itself began in May 2002 when Szimpla kert (Simple Garden) – the garden bar of the eponymous tavern that was already a year old at the time – opened its gate in a typical run-down courtyard in the seventh district of Budapest. The owners were able to transform an abandoned tenement building with its crumbling façade into a hot spot with a mixed array of furniture, dim corners and eccentric decoration, including a real Trabant, the emblematical “papercar” of the old communist era. The success was shocking, over any expectations. The Simple Garden is from year to year increasingly popular even beyond the borders of Hungary.
The trend seems to be growing even today. Every year more and more innovative pubs are opening up, which aspire to being not just a pub but also a cultural centre and a haunt for folks from the in-scene.