Budapest Hipster District VII: Ruin pubs & young nightlife. Szimpla bar, graffiti walls, hip cafes.
With a toss of hair, my Eurail-Vision coverage begins! As you’ll recall, Eurail.com sent my filmmakers and me around Eastern Europe by train. We’re thrilled to share our first-hand finds: underground bars, concept boutiques, music festivals and more.
Let’s start with Budapest, Hungary. I’ve wanted to visit this city for years, and it lived up to its cool reputation.
We were traveling during a heatwave, can you tell? I wore:
Banned Apparel sugar skull dress: gifted by Little Wicked’s Emporium, a wonderful indie online shop for dark fashion, based in the UK. Brands include Hell Bunny and Too Fast. You can order the same style (and more) here.
Red leopard print hair bows: gifted by Sourpuss Clothing
Photography by Melissa Rundle.
Our favorite neighborhood was District VII (Elizabeth Town), the traditional Jewish quarter. Today, it’s known for gritty ruin pubs like Koleves Kert.
Ruin pubs or “romkocsma” are run-down, abandoned buildings that have been converted into hip, young bars. The first and most famous is Szimpla.
Szimpla Kert was my favorite among the ruin pubs we visited in this area. The exterior hardly reveals what awaits inside…
… a hipster free-for-all. Multiple floors and rooms, jammed with bizarre decorations like antique dolls and water bottle sculptures.
That night, the largest section (filled with lights and mismatched chairs) had a retro 60s band, film projections, and random girl selling carrots!
I felt at home in the 90s-cyber computer room. My glass of blackberry wine cost about $1.
In addition to ruinpubs, District 7 is the best place to see graffiti. My filmmakers and I couldn’t shop shooting material here.
Budapest’s fascinating history over the centuries (from the Austro-Hungarian empire to Communism) has left old-school architecture at every turn.
It contrasts with the modern street art that now covers these old surfaces.
So many secrets and layers in District VII, the current youth neighborhood.
Budapest has a creative energy, more so than in most European cities I’ve visited.
I recommend wandering around Kazinczy Street, the Jewish center that contains many historic buildings.
On Király Street you will find youth hostels, cool cafes and design shops.
The VAM Design Center is the top contemporary art and fashion museum in Hungary.
A row of sunflowers cleverly announced a Van Gogh exhibit.
The modern industrial design of this cafe is typical for Kiraly St. Everything’s very affordable in Hungary, so spend your forints (note: they don’t use Euros).
Inside a souvenir shop, I found Alphonse Mucha postcards. (I reviewed his Art Nouveau exhibit in Tokyo.)
District I is another good place to stroll. The area’s more touristy, but contains beautiful historical buildings and sculptures. I stumbled upon this Michal Negrin boutique…
Love the colored jewelry and Rococo-patterned clothing by the Israeli designer.
(My cross nail art is by Glam Nail Studio.)
That’s only the start of my Budapest journey. Coming up: a food tour and Sziget music festival.
Thanks to Eurail.com for making our reports possible. You can find out more about their various train pass packages on their Facebook.
Were you surprised by the scene in Budapest, Hungary? Have you heard about Ruin Pubs or visited any?