Budapest „SOHO”


When it comes to NIGHTLIFE Budapest is a city that doesn't like to disappoint. Tourists turning up to sample the local party scene will find scores of highly original bars and clubs, and certainly won't need to resort to languishing at Irish bars. Budapest has a nightlife scene unique to itself - no pale imitations of Western models.

The beginning of the 21st century was an exciting turning point in the nightlife of Budapest: in the central area of the city new places were opened one after another in tenement houses and factory buildings doomed to destruction. These were equipped with rejected furniture of old community centres, cinemas, and grandmothers’ flats, bringing a retro feeling into these places. They were soon called ruinpubs and became popular very fast among the youth of Budapest - ruinpub is the exact translation of the Hungarian name. The formula really works. With the come-as-you-are atmosphere, these clubs attract people who make a point not to be “fashion slaves.” And, for the traveler, it’s easy to meet people in a Budapest ruin pub.

Budapest now has several very interesting ROMKOCSMA. Some of the ruinpubs are open in summer only, while others have indoor areas, so you can visit them all year.
They evoke the last days of communism in Hungary. These are pubs installed in the courtyards and gardens of empty houses. You don’t see anything from the outside, but once you get in the inner courtyard, it is something else! These are not pubs in the British sense and they are a world away from the traditional dark and, by today’s standards. They are a mix of hip bar and café, beer garden, music venue and cultural centre. There is music: straddle the lines between dancehall, pub, rock, folk, roma, disco, rave..., alternative exhibitions, creative workshops, some have film clubs, theatre performances, concerts and they are open until at least 4 A.M… They do not work in a franchise system, there is no specified design, and there are no rules, how to make them. Every place has a unique style and atmosphere. They are the coolest pubs in Budapest! Definitely a must. The crowd there is young and cosmopolitan! Party time in Budapest usually starts after 11 pm, clubs are fairly empty before this time. However pubs & cafes are crowded in the early afternoon as well.
District VII is the epicentre of the “Romkocsma” scene such as Szimpla kert, Mumus, Fogas ház, Grandio bar, Garzon, Lámpás and Kőleves vendéglő. The wave of Romkocsmas has transformed one of Budapest’s poorest areas into a buzzing cultural hub, but the revival of District VII is also entwined with the renaissance of Jewish cultural life in Budapest.

Friday night on Kiraly Street in downtown Budapest and the pavements are jammed with an engaging mix of ultra-Orthodox Jews and trendy young urbanites. The Jews are hurrying home after Sabbath prayers at the Kazinczy street synagogue, an outstanding example of Secessionist architecture tucked away in a tiny courtyard. The urbanites are starting their night out in the heart of District VII, Budapest’s Jewish quarter. Over the last few years, to the surprise of some and the pleasure of many, this run-down inner-city area, some of which has not been touched since 1945, is now the city’s hippest quarter, jammed with bars, cafés and restaurants. The bohemian atmosphere and lively energy are reminiscent of Berlin’s Kreuzberg.

The city is home to around 80,000 Jews, the third largest community in mainland Europe. Kiraly, Dob and the neighbouring streets were the heart of the wartime ghetto. Walking through these dark, evocative passageways at night is almost a kind of time travel, and they still feel haunted. Having survived the Nazis and communism, District VII is once again under threat, this time from property developers. Perhaps 40% of Budapest’s Jewish quarter has been demolished since the collapse of communism and the streets are studded with garish new buildings. With luck the Romkocsmas are now a permanent part of Budapest’s cityscape.

Come and visit us, explore and enjoy this special experience!


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