Magic of the Ruin Pubs

Magic of the ruin pubs

Inside the streets of the Jewish quarter in Budapest lies a new wave of entertainment. If you see an abandoned building with charming décor, contemporary art and live music – you found them.

 Ruin pubs

I haven’t heard of them until I went to Budapest for the fourth time. Browsing through the city map, it was time to explore the old Jewish quarter (district VII). And while I’m already enchanted by the Jewish history, architecture and music, ruin pubs were new to me.

When Fogasház takes over

Crumbling buildings and perky, yet quaint and fusty atmosphere, unique cafés and pieces of history on every corner – it makes my heart tingle whenever I’m close to something Jewish (without being Jewish myself. Funny, I know).
And then I stumbled upon them. Especially one – Fogasház. I visited a place I couldn’t believe it exists.

Located in the heart of a Jewish Quarter in Akacfa utca (street) nr. 49-51, Fogasház is an old abandoned building, turned into a cultural space and pub palace with a huge dance floor, three bars and open air garden.  It is the biggest underground club in Budapest. My mind was blown. Green room. A room with a ping pong table. Movie room. Was that a room with the “grass wall” I leaned on?! Upsetting pictures room. Yep, horny couple kissing in that one. And then you realize there is another floor and a garden…

Hostel on top of it

Though locals say it’s the less touristy ruin pub in Budapest, there is a hostel on top of this magic building. Save me a room, please…
I went there with my best friend, curly red hair Teodora, to celebrate her birthday. We arrived pretty tired of all day walking through the city so we thought, after grabbing a beer and talking to some people, we’ll call it a night. But unknowingly Fogasház begant to “master” our tired bodies. With sound waves reaching and touching our skin, we knew that this night is going to be special. Do I have to mention we stayed until the closure time (4 a.m.), running back to a hotel, taking a three hour nap and chasing our train the next morning?

“How are you going to describe such psychedelic images?”, Teodora asked me before falling asleep with a happy smile in a slow moving train.

Where is everyone going?

Tell me if I’m wrong but people are in a constant search of the experience of being alive and feel differently. And yet, we don’t believe something big is ever going to happen to us, as Richard says in the ‘Beach’ movie.
My brain screamed “Surprise!!!” when I entered the room with trees breaking through the walls. “You weren’t expecting this, eh?”, it teased me. Loud music I never heard before. Big and small lamps hidden in the trees.  Everything was “bokeh” and it wasn’t Christmas. Red chairs, green chairs, yellow chairs. Fusion. People chatting and laughing, walking from one room to another. Where is everyone going? Is someone grilling in the yard? No way I just saw a piano on the wall!!

Teodora and I stood there as two Marsians seeing people for the first time. And then it hit me. It was like someone gave me the dopamine rush. Heart suddenly started pounding faster than usual. Music became more intense and Soproni was suddenly the best beer ever. My eyes were hungry for more. DJ knew what he was doing as he managed to make dozens of bodies move as one. I felt tingling, crawling and burning on my skin. I wanted to scream and teleport my friends to this place. Who’s ever going to believe me?!
People were laughing and it felt like the place itself was fed with people’s openness and happiness.

No smoking in this place. Beers from 400-500 HUF. Waiters with English language knowledge. Leave a tip. It’s sexy – they say.

Try not to miss this place due to unattractive atmosphere of a small and dark alley as well as the big “teeth” at the entrance. The name Fogasház literally means “house of teeth” as it refers to an old sign when building was a home to a dental practice in the past.

We were in another ruin pub as well, and you can find more of them on this site –
If you want to see a place that seems totally zoned out from everything, a place where sexy youth and notions of being alive can literally be smelled in the air – now you know the location.

I have to say I’m not a big party person, yet this place took me on a journey where I felt very much alive. So, my dear friend.. Lose control. Unleash your inner beast. Dance. Smile. And as Richard would say:

“Never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it”.

Photographs by Teodora Lukavski.

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