It’s no secret that Budapest is one of Europe’s hottest destinations right now – it’s cheap, wild and attracts top DJs from around the world. The best time to party here is the summer, when rooftop bars and decadent spa parties take over the city. We’ve put together a list of the best addresses in Budapest for you to shake your stuff. Here’s a list of places where to party in Budapest: ruin bars, spa parties and Europe’s answer to Burning Man Festival
Climb aboard the 1938 Ukrainian cargo ship A38 for a jam-packed night of arts, live music, and nautical dining. The ship’s huge music hall is legendary in Budapest, and attracts bands and DJs playing everything from improvised funk to Bollywood disco or French techno. The nightlife at A38 doesn’t stop there – it also has four more bars: the bow bar, motor bar, roof terrace and bow terrace. If you’d prefer a quiet evening of culture, head to the ship’s own gallery or try out the restaurant on the top deck where you can dine on wild boar on the Danube riverfront.
Get freaky at Sziget Festival
Hailed as the European alternative to Burning Man, Sziget Festival is a week-long music and cultural extravaganza held every August on the island of Óbuda on the outskirts of Budapest. This year’s line-up is a glittering mishmash of sounds with acts such as Florence and the Machine, Basement Jaxx, Alt-J and DJs Damian Lazarus and Sbtrkt.
So many ruin bars, so little time
Located in derelict buildings from the war, “Romkocsmas” are a hybrid of bar, café, beer garden and nightclub and are unique to Hungary. The trend began ten years ago and has since transformed Budapest’s old Jewish district into a buzzing haven for international DJs and party goers. There are over 20 ruin bars to choose from, so here’s are a couple of our favourites to get you started…
Fogas Ház (pictured above) literally translates as “House of Teeth”, a nod to the building’s former life as a dental laboratory in the 1950s. This bohemian blend of nightclub and arts centre is located in the party district of Akácfa utca and attracts a cool local crowd. If you ever wanted to know what a Hungarian hipster looks like, now’s your chance. Not only is this a budget-friendly night out, Fogas Ház also offers a bike rental, football and table tennis tables and a famously delicious pizzeria – meaning you can set up camp here around the clock.
The first ever ruin bar, Szimpla Kert is a huge labyrinth of corridors decorated with fairy lights, bohemian furniture and peculiar props. Not just a “Simple Garden” as the translation would suggest, this mammoth space has its own cinema, tree-lined garden and one of the city’s best farmers’ markets every Sunday.
Corvintető (pictured above) is a rooftop club cunningly hidden above a battered Spa supermarket, so if you’re looking for a less commercial, underground vibe then this is the one for you. The main hall boasts an impressive ceiling made of 1800 LED lights, but the club is most famous for its huge terrace where you can drink and dance ‘til sunrise or enjoy a film at its weekly rooftop cinema.
Sparty at a spa party
The party capital of Europe is also known as the “city of baths” for its abundance of natural geothermal springs – so it was only a matter of time until Budapest invented the spa party, or “sparty”. Széchenyi Baths (pictured above) runs its famous Szecska parties from June to September and Magic Bath parties in the winter months. Think steamy open-air rave with electronic music, psychedelic laser beams and freaky aquatic moves.
Kick back at a Kert
Summer brings a welcome addition Budapest’s nightlife: ‘kerts’ are temporary garden pubs and pop-up bars usually located in parks, courtyards, or ‘udvars’ aka patio bars. These are the perfect place to hang out with other travelers whilst sipping on a “Fröccs”, the Hungarian equivalent of a wine spritzer.
A recent addition that is well worth a visit is WNDRLND (pictured above), an experimental art project on Margaret Island. Over 20 weeks, 20 different guest artists will transform the space by curating the drinks, décor and music. The ever-evolving pop-up will also have a monthly rotation of chefs, making it the ultimate alternative to your average night out.
Wine, dine & Dance
For a unique late-night dining experience, head to Spíler Shanghai (pictured below) in the Gozsdu Courtyard where the graffiti, seductive lighting and red leather is a mixture of New York Chinatown and 1930s glamour. Feast on a wasabi salmon burger or beef tataki in the restaurant before heading down to the secret bar for the after party. The place is fully stocked with imported Asian beers, cocktails, and sakés and resident DJs play electronic music ‘til 2am every night.
If you’re not a clubber and would rather mix with the locals, Budapest has a wealth of authentic and vibrant “Borozós”, or wine bars, with decent live music. Kardarka is the best of its kind and stocks over 50 varieties of Hungarian wine, and you can even order half glasses to try before you buy (or if it all gets too much!). Find it on Király Utca, also known as Budapest’s Design Street.
Jazz fans must visit Doblo wine bar in the 7th District for its live music every night of the week and incredible value wine tastings. You know what they say: Life is too short to drink bad wine!
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