Must-see nightlife in Belgium

  • Brasserie de la Renaissance

    Brasserie de la Renaissance


    This grand café has a single, high-ceilinged room whose walls sport a ludicrously ornate load of gilt stucco tracery. Despite the grandeur, drinks are…

  • BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MAY 2, 2016: Restaurants around the Grand Place on May 1, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium.; Shutterstock ID 428232610; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Gillmore; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online-Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: 65050/ Online Design /LaurenGillmore/POI

    Le Cirio


    This sumptuous 1886 grand café dazzles with polished brasswork and aproned waiters, yet prices aren’t exorbitant and coiffured mesdames with small dogs…

  • Moeder Lambic interior

    Chez Moeder Lambic


    An institution. Behind windows plastered with beer stickers, this tattered, quirky old café is the ultimate beer spot in Brussels. Sample some of its…

  • Goupil Le Fol

    Goupil le Fol


    Overwhelming weirdness hits you as you acid-trip your way through this sensory overload of rambling passageways, ragged old sofas and inexplicable…

  • A l'Image de Nostre-Dame cafe.

    A l'Imaige de Nostre-Dame


    Down a tiny hidden alley from Rue du Marché aux Herbes 5, Nostre-Dame has an almost medieval feel but retains a genuine local vibe. A magical old café…

  • Puppets aren't just for children in the downstairs pub of Brussels' Theatre de Toone where puppeteers put on works by Aristophanes and Shakespeare, the theatre was established in 1830



    At the home to Brussels’ classic puppet theatre, this irresistibly quaint and cosy timber-framed bar serves beers and basic snacks.

  • Mombasa


    Overlooking one of Antwerp's most underrated architectural glories (Borgerhout Town Hall) this superb beer bar stocks well over 100 choices (including…

  • Le Bar À Cacao


    Elegantly contemporary with tones of black and muted gold, this superb find serves excellent coffee (from €2.50) with which you get two exquisite Benoit…

  • Oude Markt


    The 30 bars that cram together on Oude Markt form one huge mass of happy drinkers whose chatter and midnight whoops reverberate around the baroque gables…

  • Bar Paniek


    In a series of old warehouses transformed by an artists' collective, this magical hang-out has concrete floors, barely hanging together arrays of old…

  • Herberg Vlissinghe


    Luminaries have frequented Bruges’ oldest pub for 500 years; local legend has it that Rubens once painted an imitation coin on the table here and then did…

  • Oud Arsenaal


    Little has changed since 1924 at this congenial bruin café (traditional pub) that attracts grizzled elderly locals with its exceptionally reasonable beer…

  • Peloton de Paris

    Northeast Belgium

    At this cyclist's dream cafe, you can relax with a great coffee (from €2.30) or a specially bicycle-themed beer (from €2.90) microbrewed by Brouwerij…

  • Le Pot au Lait


    Liège’s wackiest pub-café lurks down a private cul-de-sac decorated with psychedelic murals and lamps resembling radioactive triffids. Watch UFOs landing…

  • Hype Bar Lounge


    Hype feels like a hidden retreat from the busy Grand Place, with a laid-back crowd gathered at outdoor tables on a peaceful square. The friendly staff…

  • Maison du Peuple


    This venerable 19th-century building faces out onto the market square of Parvis de St-Gilles. A combined café, bar and exhibition space, its scruffy-cool…

  • Vino Vino


    Marc Detraux, who is excellent value for a chat about wine, runs this little haven of pleasure. There's always something interesting available by the…

  • Comptoir Florian


    Two tiny, super-cosy tasting rooms behind a tea-trading store offer six bean types for its coffees, and 200 teas, served in an eclectic range of pots. The…

  • De Garre


    Try the fabulous Garre draught beer, which comes with a thick floral head in a glass that’s almost a brandy balloon; the pub will only serve you three of…

  • L’Estaminet


    With its dark-timber beams, low lighting, convivial clatter and park setting, L'Estaminet scarcely seems to have changed since it opened in 1900. It’s…

  • Estaminet de Peerdevisscher

    Belgian Coast

    Estaminet de Peerdevisscher is a wonderful old-time café with fishermen moonlighting as bar staff and a real seafaring vibe. It's 1.5km north of the beach…

  • Valentino


    Ostend has a compact gay scene. Of its handful of bars, Valentino – with its charming hosts, dance floor and cruisy back room – is a bit of a one-stop…

  • Dulle Griet


    Heavy beams, a heraldic ceiling, barrel tables, lacy lampshades and the odd boar’s head all add character to one of Ghent’s best-known beer pubs. It has…

  • Mommy's Bastards


    Ostend's new hipster-kid on the block is worth checking out just to see what a bar/restaurant called Mommy's Bastards is like. There's a tapas and a la…

  • Gainsbar

    West Flanders

    Beer specialist bar with a youthful upbeat vibe. Organises occasional meet-the-brewer days and serves some rare gems, including occasional draught…

  • Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant


    Sporting an enticing waterfront terrace, this photogenic classic beer-pub has an interior draped in dried hops, plus three exclusive house beers amid the…

  • Chez Franz door

    Chez Franz


    An emporium of nocturnal activities such as gigs, and of apéritifs featuring deli cuts and cheese platters, Chez Franz is a locals' bar. The beers are…

  • Via Via entrance

    Via Via Café


    Rub shoulders with a Flemish crowd at this industrial café, with brick and concrete floors, away from the nearby touristy hot spots. Try local beers such…

  • Monk back room



    Dark wood, a piano and opal lights set the mood of this classic Belgian pub. Mostly attended by Flemish locals, Monk serves a wide array of reasonably…

  • Brussels Beer Project


    With sumptuous beers and a constant flow of new brews taste-tested by the public, this democratic microbrewery and bar is one of the most innovative…

  • Bar du matin

    Bar du Matin


    The impeccably trendy Bar du Matin sits on a corner site, the noisy road screened by beech trees. There’s a serious beer menu and pared-back '60s decor…

  • Au Bon Vieux Temps cafe.

    Au Bon Vieux Temps


    Duck beneath the statue of the bishop, then tunnel through the centuries to this lushly panelled 1695 gem. You’ll find lavish fireplaces, fascinating…

  • Walvis terrace



    Sounds from soul to punk to progressive rock (live, DJs or just through the speakers) play at this ubercool bar, where entry’s free, the atmosphere buzzes…

  • A la Mort Subite cafe facade

    À la Mort Subite


    An absolute classic unchanged since 1928, with lined-up wooden tables, arched mirror panels and entertainingly brusque service.

  • Brasserie des Fagnes


    Around 1km south of Mariembourg towards Nismes, this tourist-oriented microbrewery creates five well-balanced Fagnes beers (€3). Try them in a large part…

  • Aux Olivettes


    In the days of Jacques Brel cafés chantants were common – simple pubs where crooner, pianist and accordionist sang for their beer. Today Aux Olivettes is…

  • Accattone


    Outremeuse is the antithesis of all things hipster, right? Not if Accattone can help it, with great coffee (from €1.80), breakfasts and wine-and-pasta…

  • Jester


    Jester is a self-proclaimed brown café, with a minimalist stained glass window looking out onto the medieval Porte de Hal. The interior stylishly combines…

  • BarBeton


    Typical of the new array of hip but relaxed Brussels bars, BarBeton has a tiled floor and unpolished wood furnishings. It's good for an early breakfast,…

  • La Fleur en Papier Doré


    The nicotine-stained walls of this tiny café, adored by artists and locals, are covered with writings, art and scribbles by Magritte and his surrealist…

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