Béla is usually packed, but there’s a new concert hall opening soon!
Béla is usually packed, but there’s a new concert hall opening soon!

Béla: the beating heart of Buda

One of the newest and hippest places in Budapest, Béla is a must-visit ruin pub during your stay!

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Ruin pubs in Budapest have become so authentic in recent years, that it’s almost mandatory to visit a few during your stay. If you’re looking for the right one for your taste, we have a handy selection of some of the best ruin pubs, just check our list here. That being said, have you ever heard of Béla? No, not one of the four, similarly named Hungarian kings but the ruin pub. Combining all the perks of a bar, a restaurant, a loft, and an arboretum, Béla never ceases to dazzle. Here’s a quick breakdown why this ruin pub is a must-visit while you’re in Budapest!

What’s a ruin pub?

A ruin pub is basically a bar that is a mix between a modern-style pub and the heritage of an old building, combining the two to preserve the building’s historic significance but also put something new into it. If you’re in for checking out the hip side of Budapest, visiting one is a must. Béla, or the building its located in, doesn’t have a decorated history, though: it used to function as a simple grocery store before its transformation in 2018. Its name, contrary to what most Hungarians would guess, isn’t coming from the identical male surname “Béla”. It’s actually a clever acronym: “Bár, Étterem, Lakás, Arborétum” (Bar, Eatery, Loft, Arboretum), referring to the four different features that describe this place.

Béla, as seen from Bartók Béla street is packed throughout the year
Béla, as seen from Bartók Béla street is packed throughout the year

4 for the price of 1

Don’t expect four separate businesses within Béla: the bar, eatery, loft, and arboretum are all in one place. This magical venue can’t really be defined with a single word. Eerie, otherworldly, distinct, exotic: you could really run out of adjectives while trying to get a grasp on the intangible beauty of this establishment. Its interior is richly decorated with paintings, statuettes, colorful wallpapers, and, naturally, with plants beyond count. The “arboretum” identity of the bar is probably the strongest: it’s safe to say there’s hardly any other bar or pub in Budapest (or Hungary, for that matter) which is greener than Béla. You can either chill outside on the street, or stay indoors to get a more secluded spot. We actually recommend the first floor for those who don’t want to mingle with guests on the ever-packed ground floor.

The beautiful chaotic interior of Béla oozes an atmosphere like no other
The beautiful chaotic interior of Béla oozes an atmosphere like no other

Eating out

Okay, so once the hypnotic gaze of the interior isn’t numbing your senses, you might want to try one of the many delicacies from Béla’s menu. If you’re in for something light but local, try Béla’s fave plate: this selection includes three different types of Hungarian cheese, sausage, a savory pie plus a sauce of your choice. Should you go for a full meal, why not try some lamb meatballs in bean stew with couscous as a side? 

Grabbing a bite or having a drink at Béla at night can easily be a mesmerizing experience
Grabbing a bite or having a drink at Béla at night can easily be a mesmerizing experience

Drinks

The cocktails in Béla are worth a song of praise for sure. Apart from the usual long drinks, the bar offers a handful of tantalizing creations: “Béla in flip flops”, for instance, treats your senses with the vintage combination of Abuelo, Kahlúa, orange bitter, and lime. Or how about sipping a glass of “Silence”? Apart from a shot of Abuelo, a shot of Plantation XO, and green tea, there’s literally a “touch of secret” mixed in this cocktail. And if you want to check out the whole menu, you can also do it in advance

There’s more to come

At the time of writing this article, Béla was still partially under construction. The establishment is looking to expand even further, with a large concert hall being built in the basement. With a capacity of 50-60 people, Béla has the chance to slowly become a unique gem of the Budapest cultural scene. It’s not like there’s no competition, though: with places like for sale pub budapest, Instant-Fogas, Doboz, or Fröccsterasz, Béla still has (literally) room for improvement.

Béla might get packed, but there’s a new concert hall opening soon!

Getting there

The bar is situated in Bartók Béla Boulevard. This neighborhood is a bustling area of the Buda side: with many ruin pubs, cafés, and galleries, Bartók Béla Boulevard has been become a new hub for those looking for something not as touristy as Gozsdu Udvar on the Pest side. Getting there with public transport is pretty simple: you can either take a tram (line 47 or 49) which drops you right at the doorstep, or get off Metro line 4 at Gellér tér and walk 5 minutes till you reach Béla. Needless to say, Béla is close to most hubs, so arriving by scooter is a viable alternative as well. Be sure to book a table in advance on their website.

Want more of Buda?

Since Béla is on the Buda side, it doesn’t really take an effort to explore some of the hidden gems of this part of the capital. Why not try Gellért bath, for instance? This spa actually has the hottest thermal springs in town — check other interesting tidbits in our article here.

Q & A

What is Béla?
Béla is a ruin pub on the Buda side of the Hungarian capital. It doubles as a restaurant and a bar; it’s extraordinary interior is a must-see for anyone visiting.
Where is Béla?
Béla is located on Bartók Béla út, a 5-minute walk away from metro line 4 stops Gellért tér and Móricz Zsigmond körtér.
Is Béla a ruin pub?
Béla is a ruin pub with many unique features: it boasts a great number of plants and painting as decoration.
How big is Béla?
Béla is a relatively small ruin pub, so it’s worth booking a table in advance.

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