Arty space invaders in Hungary

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Clever entrepreneurs in Budapest are getting temporary leases and turning abandoned old buildings into romkocsmas, or ruin bars. In some cases, the pop-up venues actually go far beyond bars—they're more like living rooms for the local art scene.

Szimpla Kert, in Pest, is the most expansive, with a coffeehouse, a bar, a small cinema, and a garden (Kazinczy u. 14, 011-36/1-352-4198). Two blocks away in a former apartment building, Mumus, favored by the absinthe-sipping crowd, is a labyrinth of rooms and hallways decorated with cartoonlike stencils and thrift-store sofas (Dob u. 18). At Instant, get a $3 Borsodi beer and head upstairs to the Viennese-style balcony to see a hanging sculpture of a school of fish (Nagymezo u. 38).

—Evan Rail, from the September 2009 issue of Budget Travel

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