Must-see nightlife in Belgium

  • Bocadero

    Antwerp

    Amid the cranes of the old harbour area, Bocadero is an area of sand and deckchairs backed by a series of bars and food stands (no cover charge; beer from…

  • Le Bierodrome

    Wallonia

    Facing the waterfront, this buzzing new artisanal microbrewery makes its own perfectly balanced brews, and also serves up quality seasonal beers from…

  • Cafe Beveren

    Antwerp

    The very antithesis of Antwerp style, this unforgettable little café chantant is dominated by the city's last remaining 1930s Decap dance organ, a…

  • Buchbar

    Antwerp

    This quiet, cosy cafe with a mini-bookshop section feels like a neighbourhood home away from home, with excellent coffee (from €2.50), cakes, simple…

  • La Vie est Belge

    Wallonia

    On top of the usual beers and cocktails, this celebration of liquid Belgium pours Walloon pékèts (gin, sometimes flavoured), fruit-wine tasters and…

  • Biochi Tea Lounge

    Antwerp

    If you just want a cuppa go elsewhere. This place is for tea connoisseurs who want to savour rare Chinese brews like Wild Purple or En Shuy Lu in an…

  • La Cour St-Jean

    Liège

    In the heart of the youth-jammed nightlife zone, this popular little pub has genuinely ancient rough-stone walls painted lugubrious red and black, all a…

  • ’t Brugs Beertje

    Bruges

    Legendary throughout Bruges, Belgium and beyond for its hundreds of Belgian brews, this cosy bruin café (brown cafe) is filled with old advertising…

  • Normo

    Antwerp

    Distressed brick walls, merrily battered tiles and mismatched chairs provide the atmosphere while friendly, bearded baristas fix faultless coffees,…

  • La Petite Fontaine

    The Ardennes

    The best value of Achouffe's three beer-tasting options (galopin 120mL taster glasses €1.70 to €1.90), historic La Petite Fontaine has a large roadside…

  • Brasserie Dubuisson

    Wallonia

    Wallonia's oldest brewery, Dubuisson sits on the N50 2km outside Pipaix. Its bar-brasserie offers several of its tasty beers on tap, of which the best…

  • Cafe Hanekeef

    Northeast Belgium

    Retaining its traditional patterned floor tiles and beamed ceiling, Mechelen’s ‘oldest pub’ is ideal for low-key beery conversations with newspaper…

  • Noir Koffiebar

    Leuven

    This gently bohemian barista-bar makes work-of-art espressos and flat whites on a La Marzocco machine.

  • SweetB

    Northeast Belgium

    Be it for top-quality flat whites, a slow- or cold-brew coffee, dirty chai or black mojitos, SweetB is Mechelen's magnet for quality caffeine fixes.

  • Rose Red

    Bruges

    Outstanding beers from 50 of the best breweries in Belgium, served by charming and informative staff in this pink-hued and rose-scattered bar. There are…

  • Ma Façon

    Northeast Belgium

    With artistically glazed earthenware cups and hefty unvarnished wooden bench tables, Ma Façon is part gin bar, part crockery store, but predominantly a…

  • Wijnbar Kloosterstraat 15

    Antwerp

    It's only open 10 hours a week, but this place is a ridiculously atmospheric spot for an afternoon glass of wine, facing onto the courtyard of the 16th…

  • Le Royal

    Antwerp

    Within Antwerpen-Centraal, it's well worth climbing the stairs for at least a quick peep inside this station buffet, a workaday affair set incongruously…

  • Peak Beer

    The Ardennes

    Founded in 2018, this flashy, glass-walled brewery-restaurant has a sizeable cafe-restaurant whose open terrace offers sweeping forest-framed views. Their…

  • Bon Bon Jour & Nuit

    Northeast Belgium

    Imagine that you're the French painter Toulouse-Lautrec as you sip a range of absinthes (from €6.75) sitting between Mucha panels and an art nouveau…

  • Le Petit Pressoir

    Liège

    Freshly made smoothies and fresh juices (from €3.50) are the central offerings of this adorable little cafe, which turns vegan eatery during meal times…

  • Chez Miss Miaouw

    Namur

    Feline lovers converge on this cheery two-room cafe a short stroll from the waterfront. Half-a-dozen cats have the run of the place, watching (or more…

  • Bar Leon

    Antwerp

    Backing onto a park and sandpit-playground, ever-busy Leon is the ultimate locals' local, shape-shifting its way from family afternoon haunt via early…

  • La Terrasse

    Brussels

    Handy for the Cinquantenaire, this wood-panelled classic café has a tree-shaded terrace and makes an ideal refreshment stop after a hard day’s museuming…

  • Plaza Real

    Antwerp

    On an otherwise typical Borgerhout street, this brilliantly unpretentious shop-room pub is owned by Klaas Janzoons of Antwerp indie-band dEUS.

  • Merveilleux Tearoom

    Bruges

    An elegant marble-floored tearoom on a cobbled passage near the Markt. Coffee comes with a dainty homemade biscuit and sometimes a little glass of…

  • Ô Bar'Hik

    Wallonia

    For an alternative to the rowdy drinking holes on nearby Marché aux Herbes, this cosy wine bar is the perfect antidote. With a focus on France, Spain and…

  • ’t Dreupelkot

    Ghent

    A traditional jenever (gin) bar, serving 100 Belgian concoctions – including the owner's homemade prune and raisin versions – and one north French…

  • De Republiek

    Bruges

    Set around a courtyard comprising characterful brick buildings, this big buzzing space is super-popular with Bruggelingen (Bruges locals). DJs hit the…

  • Deca Brewery

    West Flanders

    In Woesten, about 8km northeast of Poperinge and the same distance northwest of Ypres, Deca Brewery is one of the only places you're likely to be able to…

  • Café-brouwerij Nieuwhuys

    Northeast Belgium

    This 1636 brick house in central Hoegaarden has been converted into a brilliantly pitched, jazz-toned pub-café that produces three of its own mellow beers…

  • Délirium Café

    Brussels

    This café's barrel tables, beer-tray ceilings and over 2000 world beers were already impressive. Now they’ve added a rum garden, a tap house and the…

  • ’t Poatersgat

    Bruges

    Look carefully for the concealed hole in the wall and follow the staircase down into this cross-vaulted cellar glowing with ethereal white lights and…

  • Boulevard du Rhum

    Namur

    This atmospheric, low-lit drinking space serves up some of Namur's best cocktails. The vibe is classy but not pretentious – just right for lingering over…

  • Beer Capital

    Leuven

    When it opened, the Capital claimed to offer the world's widest beer range, with over 2000 brews. That has been trimmed a little since, but it's still so…

  • Spirito Brussels

    Brussels

    The name refers to the former function of the building: an Anglican church. The decor is still very much intact, but it's now lit gorgeously in shades of…

  • De Brouwzaele

    Ghent

    Local gents unwind with newspapers, and grannies lunch on shrimp croquettes in this low-key classic café set in a triangular former brewery house. A giant…

  • Het Bruggenhuis

    Northwest Belgium

    This picture-perfect rural tavern seems to have stepped straight out of an ethnographic museum. Seats spill out canal-side with rural views along the…

  • Du Phare

    Bruges

    Tucked into the remains of one of Bruges’ original town gates, this off-the-beaten-track tavern is best known for its live blues and jazz sessions – check…

  • Patine

    Antwerp

    This appealing wisteria-fronted street-terrace wine bistro and bar offers a good wine list along with an all-day menu of pastries, quiches, pastas, salads…

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