Some of the best bars in Ghent are ones you would never suspect – from hidden speakeasies to a local favourite that’s more like someone’s living room than a bar.
Just like the city, the bars in Ghent are full of character and style, with beautiful cocktails and the best Belgian beers. Since it’s a university town, you can expect a fun and lively night out but there’s also cosy hideaways if you want a quiet evening.
We’ve rounded up the best watering holes in this historic city for a night to remember…
Best bars in GhentHow do these rankings work?
This tiny bar is a historic bar that serves Belgian gin, jenever. You’ll definitely find some surprising new flavours among the 200+ jenevers on the menu, including some 50 home-made jenevers. The bar can be a tight squeeze when busy, but is a must-see for any newcomer to Ghent.
You won’t be able to tell whether you’re in someone’s cluttered living room or a bric-a-brac shop, but it’s actually an incredibly unique bar. Get some beer in a plastic cup off owner Lieven and just enjoy the beautiful oddness of it all. It’s a must.
Hiding in the Oudburg neighbourhood, Ghent’s best cocktail bar is a cosy speakeasy with a secret entrance – be sure to make a reservation in advance as you might not get in. The cocktail menu is creative and makes use of local ingredients, and changes weekly so there’s always something new to try.
This ancient tavern has Ghent’s largest range of beers on offer. There’s over 500 different brews on the menu, including Trappist beers, abbey beers and “Kriekbier”. Swap your shoe (don’t worry, you’ll get it back) for a Max beer, served in a boot-shaped glass.
FYI, it’s cash only.
From classic whiskeys and funky rums to a weird mezcal, you’ll get to taste the most unusual spirits from across the globe. Here, you can “try and buy”. At the Tasting Room, discover several spirits and wines by the glass, in a flight where you taste several smaller glasses or during a tasting where professionals guide you through the world of spirits.
Ghent’s first (and only) Tiki bar, The Drifter will take you on a rum-filled journey through Polynesia and the Caribbean via Instagrammable and boozy cocktails. Unlike other Tiki bars that have sickly sweet cocktails, the drinks here are incredible. A real riot of fun and colour.
The Cobbler is a cocktail bar in the luxury hotel 1898 The Post, located in a former post office. It’s stylish and traditional with a stunning view of the spires of historic Ghent. It’s walk-in only and can get busy, but the team are quite quick at finding you space. Cocktails take inspiration from songs, with names like Sultans of Swing and Fear of the Dark.