Szimpla Kert Pub is one of the best experiences in the world when it comes to bars, let alone Budapest. It’s something that’s truly unique and must be seen in person to fully understand what I mean by this.
Spanning 7 or so rooms, multiple floors, and many, many bars, Szimpla is the best place to have a good time in Budapest. Located in the Ruin Pub, or Jewish quarter, of Budapest, Hungary, Szimpla is the one place in the entire Hungarian capital that seems to go off.
Looks pretty calm and normal during the day, doesn’t it? Well, starting at around 7pm the “dinner” crowd comes in. There’s not really a food menu at Szimpla Kert, but many people come in for a bit of pre-dinner beer or something of the sort. It’s simply such a cool environment that everyone wants to come hang out.
What time does the real party start? It varies from night to night. Friday and Saturdays you’l probably find that it’s a little bit later—but not much. Obviously with no work or school on Saturday and Sunday mornings, these nights tend to start a bit later and go on much later.
NOTE: Szimpla closes earlier than many of the bars and clubs in the main area of town—read on to find out more about them.
Weeknights are almost always busy, but you probably won’t find it to be quite as crazy.
It’s almost all tourists. Let that be clear right now. You don’t head to this bar to mingle with the locals and have a good time. No, you go to this bar to get drunk and party. The locals have been doing that their whole lives—they think the tourists flocking to Szimpla every night are stupid.
Whether or not it is stupid is up for debate, but I will say that it’s at least worth trying once if you’re headed to Budapest. In fact, if you’re over 18 (or hell, even younger—not like they card anywhere here in Eastern Europe), it’s one of those MUST-DO things while you’re in the Hungarian capital.
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You’re best off heading to the club district. My personal favorite spots in that area are Kraft and Otkert. It’s much more of a clubbing scene. You’re going to find loud music, packed dance floors, and a cover charge to get in.
Here’s a general map of the two districts, with the club district on the westward end of the picture (near the banks of the Danube) and the ruin pub district to the east.
That won’t be the case with the ruin pubs around the Jewish Quarter, which is where Szimpla is.
In addition, the club scene tends to be much more against English. Whereas you’ll really only hear English in places like Szimpla, some local Hungarians may want nothing to do with you if you don’t speak their language. It’s just part of the deal of being a foreigner in what is a very touristic city.
I spent ten days in Budapest recently and went to Szimpla most nights. Apart from the obvious damage to my liver, I did find that I met people from everywhere around the world.
Mexico. Korea. Australia. Canada. Argentina.
You name it, I bet most countries in the world have been represented at Szimpla at one point or another.
Everyone is eager to meet their fellow travelers and share stories. And really—isn’t that what the beauty of travel is all about?
‘Til next time,
PS: If you’re looking to meet some local Hungarian women while you’re in Budapest, this dating website is a good place to start.
How to Learn Hungarian, The Isolated Language of Long Words