The Szimpla Bar in Budapest is an experience no one visiting Budapest should miss. Housed in the ruins of a historic building in the heart of Pest, the bar consists of various sections, including a shisha lounge and a large courtyard where concerts are regularly held. What makes Szimpla (map) so special is the wondrous interior and unique atmosphere. I don’t know any other bar quite like it anywhere in the world (aside, perhaps, from its sister bars in Berlin and Balaton).

Szimpla Bar

Sitting in a Trabant at the famous Szimpla Bar.
One of the bars at the Szimpla ‘ruin bar’ in Budapest.

When I visited the bar for the first time, I was immediately seduced by the atmosphere and I was drawn to explore more of the bar. Colourful Arabic lamps, quirky furniture (like sofas made from bath-tubs!), walls adorned with ornaments you would normally find at flea markets and a cave-like setting combine to create an eccentric and intriguing ambiance. Wherever I looked, there was always something that caught my eye. Everyone was having a good time chatting and laughing. I couldn’t help but smile. When I found out that a Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 9am – 2pm (in the summer months), I knew I had to return to experience the bar by day… and what an experience it was!

A Farmers Market like no other

The Farmers Market is an initiative by Szimpla Bar to showcase local products and attract families (who probably grew up spending most of their time at the bar).

The entrance of Szimpla Bar
The Farmers Market in the courtyard

There were stalls selling jams, organic vegetables and fruits, juices, meats and flowers. The atmosphere was very relaxing: young families and tourists strolled around the stalls, tasting products or buying their groceries, or crowded around the tall tables for a quick bite or a drink. In a corner of the courtyard, a band played a jazzy repertoire.

A car becomes a lounge!
A band plays jazzy songs
Stalls with all sorts of fresh produce
The quirky furniture – in this photo, a bath-tub and one half of a car!
A selection of rickety chairs and another bath-tub

I tasted some jams, bread, fruits and wine, then settled into a comfortable antique dentist’s chair (!!) and enjoyed a freshly grilled kebab. Here’s a video of my stroll through the bar:


Budapest can boast of having the ‘most beautiful café in the world‘. I’m certain the city can also boast of having one of the coolest bars! If you’re visiting Budapest, I highly recommend dropping by the Szimpla Bar in the early evenings for a drink. If you’re there in the summer months, you have to visit the Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. It simply is too cool to miss!

Read about things to do in Budapest and about the city’s historic thermal baths.


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