The best hidden bars in Budapest – don't be afraid of the VIIIth and IXth districts!
If you've not yet developed the habit of drinking in Budapest's VIIIth and IXth districts then check out some of these lesser known ruin pubs and bars. Ignore anyone who tells you that these areas are dangerous and go anyway, they've probably never heard of these special drinking places and you don't want to miss them!
Tündérgyár (The Fairy Factory), Tűzoltó utca 22 - I love the feel and colour of this pub. Bold street art inspired murals dominate its walls between the trees and wobbly tables of the open air courtyard. Tündérgyár has a stage for live music that tends to kick off at around 9pm, and also has a quieter dimly lit inside area that offers a perfect contrast to the sensory garden. Plenty of bike racks.
I call this local bar "Rejtély", Üllői ut (adjacent to Corvin shopping centre) - Here you can get screaming drunk with the locals... But be prepared for a long queue at the cramped bar, as usually only one person is serving. From Tündérgyár head up Liliom utca and cross over Üllői ut, where at night you'll see people spilling onto the pavement out of a bar that is entered down some steep narrow stairs. This is my "Rejtély" bar. It's also identifiable by Arany Ászok signs and the scribbled blackboard outside that advertises korsós for 220 HUF!
Gondozó Kert, Vajdahunyad utca 4 - An ex-nursery, hence the name. At the rear is a mini aircraft hangar with pool table and old sofas where you can relax and enjoy the expansive unused space between the concrete walls. Many historical bullet holes mark the buildings almost opposite. This little known gem of a ruin pub is buried among the grittier back streets of the often unexplored VIIIth district, yet it's just minutes from the Corvin Plaza shopping centre. It's well worth finding, day or night. And to complete the picture there's a hostel with a neon sign just along the same street for those who want to stay a little off the beaten track of the VIIth district. Gondozó has bike racks galore, and you can get your bike repaired here while you have a drink. They'll even lock you in their basement for an hour if you ask them to - ask at the bar about their "Parapark" if you're in the mood for a challenge! For me this pub is the perfect combination of ruin pub styles; but far more than just that Gondozó exudes a quietly confident left-alone style all of its own.
Super 8, Kőfaragó utca 8 - A new bar in Budapest that is still pretty quiet at the weekends as many people are yet to discover it, so it's perfect if you want to rock up with a large entourage! Again, it's tucked away in a forgotten pedestrianised street in the VIIIth district, but it's identifiable by the chunky yellow "8" stuck on the wall. Sumptous yet simple decor, a very sociable layout and a chilled out DJ... I predict that it's going to become the place to be in Budapest as increasing amounts of people fall for its charm.
Cökxpőn, Horánszky utca 5 - An art centre and bar combined, and only a couple of streets across from Super 8. This hybrid venue welcomes you with different areas and a colourful outside space at the rear. Regular DJs and live music are provided at night in the main room. Cökxpőn is also perfect for chilling out with friends in a side room. An alternative offering to the ruin pub concept. Give it a try...
Corvintető, Blaha Lujza tér 1-2 (entrance on Somogyi Béla utca) - Probably every local will know of this place, as many keep returning on account of its unique position and atmosphere, but for those passing through Budapest it's well worth a visit. IF, that is, you can find the entrance that takes you up the imposing stairway of the old Corvin department store building to the 6th floor and legendary rooftop bar. Sunrise, sunset... In summer, you choose.
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