I’ve been living in Gent just over 4 years, so I like to think of myself as a faux-cal – long enough that I know some spots and know them well, but not long enough that I know everything – unlike one of my expat friends who somehow knows every 👏 single 👏 good 👏 spot 👏 in this city.
But like I said, I like to think that I know at least something, so below, my favourite spots for a niiiiiiice glass of something to hit the spot when you need it.
Best for a beer and watching the locals
Beer lovers, rejoice! The best brews in town can be found at this spot. Housed in what used to be a much-loved brunch restaurant, David (the owner and also our dog-sitter, though I swear we’re not biased), turned the space into an awesome microbrewery/tasting room/butchery, serving fresh cuts of great meats and cheese. Fitting, since ‘beenhouwer’ means butcher in Flemish.
Would highly recommend for beer lovers, especially those that trust their bartender enough to choose for them. Don’t worry, he’s not cruel – he gave me a trial sip of something that sounded much better than it tasted (I’m picky and boring when it comes to beer so don’t hold this sentence against me).
Best for summertime food and drinks away from the crown
Like any good internet-user, I spread my love of pizza as far as I can. We discovered this place a few years ago and have been going back ever since.
Absolutely, 100% recommend for anyone with a love of wood-fired pizza. They’ve got a good selection of drinks to go with it, but if you aren’t going for the pizza, you aren’t living.
Best for great – and slightly pricey – cocktails with a view
Truth be told, I’m not a massive cocktail drinker anymore. I’ll dabble into a Dark n’ Stormy on holiday, but I’m definitely more of a cava/wine gal at heart. When I’m feeling bougie and want to drink with my pinky up, I (very nicely) force PJ to go to The Cobbler with me. It’s sort of (truly? Actually? I don’t know) a hotel bar since it’s connected to The Post – which is definitely my dream Gent staycation hotel.
Make your way here for interesting cocktails, amazing interiors and a gorgeous view over the Graslei, and feel like a queen looking down on her people. Who am I kidding, I usually go sit at the Graslei immediately after anyway!
Best for tiki vibes
As an admitted wine lover, it seems weird that I continue to have beer and cocktail bars on this list, but I’m a selfless nightlife sharer, so you’re welcome in advance. This is PJ’s favourite cocktail bar in Gent, and it may have something to do with the 140 different types of rum the bartender handpicks from around the world.
This is objectively cool. This is a fact. You cannot deny that this guy’s job is cool.
And according to me – and actual cocktail lovers – the drinks are good.
Best for a unique G&T…at a castle
Alright, now I’ll never say no to an extra-fancy G&T.
That’s a lie – I’ll say no whenever I want to.
But would I say no to one at a bar in front of a super old castle? Probably not. And that’s what you get at The Alchemist.
Go here if you love a good G&T, or if you just want a nice, cosy, romantic spot to imbibe other refreshments with your pals/boyfriend/girlfriend/non-binary friend/any friend/dog. Obviously, don’t let your dog drink G&Ts, but you get what I mean.
I know that there are a LOT of other places to add to the list – personal faves include Manteca and Limonada (and Millie Vanillie, though I actually love to hate it) – but this list isn’t for me, is it? And I would absolutely take visitors to this little city to any of the above establishments for a night of good drinks and better talk.
*Disclaimer – you can, of course, get non-alcoholic options at any of these places. I’m waiting for the moment that non-alcoholic wine becomes a nightlife staple but today is not that day.
Let me know what you would add to the list!