Holiday Clubs and Bars

There are many different types of holidays…but what do they all have in common? Some really wonderful clubs and bars. Here, three of our contributors explore their favourite night-out finds.

Budapest’s Ruin Bars

By Ellie Hutchings

Situated in the city’s Jewish Quarter, the ruin bars of Budapest embrace their crumbling and run-down structures to create a fantastically unique night out. Once part of the Jewish ghetto, the ruin bars might look inconspicuous from the outside, but they are full of vibrant graffiti, interesting artwork and an abundance of string lights.

I hadn’t heard of the ruin bars until I arrived in Budapest, and I admit I was sceptical about the idea of a night out in a building with peeling plaster and a poor excuse for a roof. However, I can now confidently say that I would recommend the experience to anyone. Whether you’re looking for a casual drink or a full-blown night out, the ruin bars cater to all with their relaxed yet funky atmosphere.

My personal favourite bar – and the one we spent most of our night in – was Szimpla Kert, Budapest’s first ruin bar. Szimpla Kert is a labyrinth of a building adorned with mismatched items ranging from disco balls overhead to retro televisions stuck to the wall, the cluttered interior adding to the charm.

I really can’t fault these fantastic and eccentric venues. The drinks are reasonably priced, the atmosphere is electric, and they’re frequented by locals too – which is always a good sign.

Coco Bongo’s, Playa Del Carmen

By Laura Vaabel

You’ve heard about the generic university “gap yarr” but have you heard about REALLY letting go of your exam stress and not worrying about the traumas of planning travelling trips? Bars and clubs abroad are a completely different, and I’d say much better, experience.

One of my absolute favourite places is Coco Bongo’s, a chain of clubs that liven up various cities of Mexico. In Playa Del Carmen, the street was seemingly tranquil with colourful Caribbean style buildings amidst the paradise. Once through the doors, you’re greeted with a shot of the traditional Mexican tequila and an electric vibe. Acrobats were flying across the room and up in the heavens all around us as we entered the main club room.

The dance show was my personal highlight of the experience. The club is famous for its tribute acts and unique dance performances. With multiple different platforms surrounding the main dance floor, there was never a dull moment in Coco Bongo’s. By the end of the night, we found ourselves dancing on the platforms after the show had finished.

Throughout the night, the bright lights and shifting of music genres made for a particularly memorable night. Seeing acrobats act out Spiderman fighting the green goblin in the air above us was unexpected and astonishing to witness.

Ice Bar, Amsterdam

By Alice Baldwin

Amsterdam has become a very popular city break over the past decade for many tourists throughout Europe. People go to see the beautiful canals, the history (such as Anne Frank’s House) and the artwork of the great Van Gogh. However, for many young adults one of the magnets drawing them to this artistic capital is the Amsterdam Ice Bar.

The name of the bar really does expose what you’ll find inside; a full room of ice at the temperature of -10 degrees Celsius! I ventured to this very unique bar in the summer of 2018, after completing my A-Levels, whilst interailing with my sister. It is such an extraordinary experience, stood wearing big duffer coats and gloves, whilst also drinking alcohol with your friends in these temperatures. The price of entry to this bar may seem a little expensive at €24, but this includes one drink chip for in the normal bar (room temperature) when you first arrive, and another two drink chips for inside the ice bar itself. I would highly recommend trying the Nutella flavoured vodka whilst there – it is even served in a shot glass made of ice!! It was so much fun as everyone just mingled together and helped others take photos by the ice throne, staying in there until you were so cold you could no longer feel your fingers. It’s truly an experience you won’t forget!

Although the actual Ice Bar is the main attraction here, the main bar is also buzzing, with music playing and a huge bar that laps one side of the room. They have an extensive cocktail menu as well. Whilst there, we met some of my sister’s friends and then we were invited to sit down with a group of guys who we found out lived not too far from our home back in England. Such a small world! I remember staying in the bar for quite a few hours chatting and drinking, making the most of our ticket price and soaking up the atmosphere, until we had to continue with our European travels.

Note: be sure to book your tickets and specific time slot beforehand! Certain times can get busier than others