If you've spent at least 5 minutes researching the city's nightlife, then you will already have come across Szimpla Kert, Budapest's iconic ruin bar. Likely you're also familiar with the ruin bar (romkocsma) concept, but for those who remain unaware, here's a quick refresher: ruin bars are makeshift bars located inside dilapidated pre-war buildings, furnished with quirky furniture assembled from clearance sales, and all in all exuding a inexplicably cool atmosphere.
Today, Budapest has dozens of ruin bars, but Szimpla Kert was the pioneer of the genre, and is by far the best known internationally. Although Szimpla is no longer the offbeat bar it once was when it opened in 2004, it's still worth visiting for the experience. (Yes, you may have to navigate your way through camera-wielding tourists to approach the bar.) A glass of beer runs €2.5, meaning that prices have remained reasonably low.
If you're curious about local craft beers, try the bar upstairs that looks like your high school chemistry class and is run by Mad Scientist, Hungary's leading craft brewery. If daytime activities are more your speed, Szimpla hosts a weekly farmer’s market, Háztáji Piac, featuring local produce sold by suburban farmers every Sunday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
And finally, here's a little trivia: as a reminder of the neighborhood's Jewish history, there's a still-functional mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) right next to Szimpla (#16) that's run by the local Orthodox community.