Budapest moves to a curious pace. Convoluted and tangled in nature; physically, mentally and verbally, the mixture of eclectic styles the city posses can be nauseating (and don’t even try to speak the language if you’re a newcomer). Religion can take precedence in one area whilst spirited party animals take over the next.
Consequently the drinkers, party goers and dancers have found a new place to attack. A recent craze is sweeping the derelict buildings of Budapest’s (until recently) most deserted areas. Areas that in London would be dodged are instead being turned into the hip places to be found on a work night if you’ve got a craving to dance. These ramshackle, and sometimes crumbling buildings are what the Hungarians quite aptly call ‘ruin bars’.
For the night owls of Budapest, bars are the nocturnal version of cafes, a place to sit and allow time to wash over you as you watch the world go by in the company of friends with the wavy buzz of a glass of beer, wine or the region’s speciality palinka. So the ruin bars are taking over as being the perfect place to have plenty of room to do everything you could ever want to do in a cafe/bar/nightclub/living room.
Mumus, on Dod utca in the 7th District, has an inner courtyard filled with trees, art and recycled furniture. In most of the ruin bars no two pieces of furniture are the same and Mumus doesn’t deviate from this characteristic. Dusty chandeliers hang from the ceilings, their powder creating a dim glow to see the excellent selection of Hungarian wines on offer. The clientele is varied and the mix is right for the atmosphere. There are young and not so young but all seem to fit in with the surroundings of old and not so old that flows through all floors.
In another ruin bar, near the train station, the entrance is impossible to find. And given the state of the building it doesn’t look too favourable walking in circles until you find it. Once you get inside a lift operator forces the lift to the top in what feels like a death trap that ends up being a mini bar with the operator doubling up as your bar tender. The smoke and music that greets you at the top feels sinister and yet, as most things sinister do, intriguing. And rightly so as the rooftop area has a visual blinder of a view with the whole of the city laid out in front of you.
The theme of the city is representative of these bars. The lack of money and abundance of space allows the young and regular people to creatively reinvent their city, however and whenever they desire.