Szimpla is hands-down the best known and most popular of Budapest’s “kert”-s(“gardens”) – courtyards of condemned or just abandoned buildings transformed into outdoor summer pubs, originally catering mostly for a young, bohemian clientele. As such, it has all the typical accroutements: crumbling architecture, plain but sturdy benches and tables, beer, totally kooky decor, lots of noise, beer, heavily stickered and graffitied toilets, and beer.
While there are many establishments that follow the same recipe, Szimpla is unique for having its own open-air movie theater, where they often play art movies, sparsely screened documentaries and the like. In recent years, they’ve also covered part of the venue with a roof to let them stay open all year round, and expanded into the upper floor, where you can also get some hot grub with your drinks.
Recently, I’ve heard some friends complain that Szimpla is getting too popular and thus too mainstream these days. Well, maybe that’s true – sometimes the crowd and the noise does get a bit too much for my tastes -, but it’s still more than worth checking out if you’re in town. Loud, friendly, visually lush and exciting; a great place to go when the company you desire is more upbeat than sublime.
Also, it’s one of the very few places in town where you can get cider. Pretty expensive – low-quantity import is bound to be pricey -, but there you have it: if you really, really want the stuff, you can get it here.