If you've spent at least 5 minutes researching the city's nightlife, then you may have come across Szimpla Kert, Budapest's iconic ruin bar. Likely you're also familiar with the ruin bar (romkocsma) concept: makeshift bars inside dilapidated pre-war buildings, furnished with quirky furniture assembled from clearance sales, and all in all exuding an inexplicably cool atmosphere.
Today, Budapest has myriad ruin bars, but Szimpla Kert, which pioneered the genre, 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, even if you have to navigate through camera-wielding tourists to approach the bar. A glass of beer runs €2.5, meaning that prices have remained reasonable.
If you're curious about local craft beers, check out the upstairs bar 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, note that on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Szimpla is home to a farmer’s market featuring local produce sold by suburban farmers (Háztáji Piac).
And finally, an oft-overlooked bit of urban history: as a reminder of the neighborhood's Jewish past, there's a still-functional mikveh—Jewish ritual bath—adjacent to Szimpla (#16) that's run by the local Orthodox community.