Budapest: Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar
Get There: On the Pest side of the city, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075
Open: 12pm – 4am
Chances are, if you are in Budapest and into drinking, then you are in for a night out at Szimpla: the oldest and arguably coolest ruin bar in the city. Most walking tours, hostel pub crawls, and tourists carrying a Nikon will find their way to this eclectic watering hole at some point, which means it has now become one of the city’s most famous night spots.
However, avoid this place like the plague on a Friday/Saturday night and instead head along during the day, bypassing the British buck parties, long drink queues and locked toilet cubicles housing snorting and giggling. If you head along in the afternoon, you will get a chance to explore the fucking weird decor, which includes a video room, old cinema seats, a vintage car, creepy dolls, graffiti and a plethora of other odd shit. The daytime also allows you a chance to grab a seat and drink your Pálinka like a local (try the sour cherry with honey, it will warm the cockles of your heart).
If you’re around on a weekend, head down on a Sunday morning, which sees the bar and adjacent street turned into a farmers market. There will be live music, good cheer and an abundance of local stalls selling cheeses, meat, honey and baked goods. Load up on delicious snacks for a picnic, or sip a cider in the midday sun whilst soaking up some live music and munching on a cheese scone (a truly transformative piece of baked goodness).
Rowan still hasn’t finished War & Peace, but she did use it to balance her dinner once. Living in London, she’s steadily working her way through the Europe’s great cities and hopes to try every wine in England before her visa expires.