So the other day we went to Szimpla, THE Szimpla in Kazinczy, and naturally whined about how it’s actually not really THE Szimpla anymore. Or at least, not the Szimpla we used to know, with low-lit backrooms, dingy tables and students hanging around for cheap beer and possibly a slice of bread with lard and paprika, depending on the current state of one’s finances.
These days it feels more like a showroom aimed at tourists, a snapshot of what Szimpla used to be- very few people keep coming here for their regular drinks, since you probably can’t find a proper table at any time, and even if you do, a tourist might just zap you with a tiny flashing camera when you least expect it.
Though at least in winter people who come in do actually stay in for a mulled wine or two, whereas in summer there are groups being lead around like on a zoo tour: here in the corner, under a dilapidated chair stuck onto the wall with fluorescent glue, is a Hipsterus hungaricus, sipping his craft beer while uploading a geometric shot of his shoes onto Instagram.
Yet Szimpla’s original spirit survives, a bit farther away, on Kertész street in the Szimpla café which has mercifully been spared the barbarian hordes. The beers have decidedly gone crafty here as well, but there’s still a whiff of derelict honesty to the mismatched chairs and the crowd is mostly area locals, plus a few travelers who first got lost and then overexcited seeing the Szimpla sign. Come on an early weekday, and it might be half empty, with random conversations echoing off its walls. The good old days are still here, you only have to know where to find them.