Friends who are coming to Ghent always often ask me the same question: “which are the best, most original and most authentic bars in Ghent?”. Well, I can tell you they’re all great. Ghent is a city of authenticity and effortlessness and the authentic bars follow this same principle. The bars listed below are the most flashy ones but they sure are home to the locals as they all have a very long history in Ghent. But of course, some of them stand out and these are the ones you must visit:
Het Spijker (Pensmarkt 3)
Situated near the Graslei in the historic city center of Ghent, this place has without a doubt the most popular terrace in Ghent. (also check out the very small terrace at the back on the water side) This bar is located in a 12th-century building that formerly was a grain silo.
‘t Dreupelkot (Groentenmarkt 12)
Situated right in the heart of the historic center of Ghent, the very charming ‘t Dreupelkot is a place where you must pass by to have had the full Ghent experience. This incredibly small place holds hundreds kinds of Dutch gins (referred to locally as “Dreupelkes”, hence the name), of which many the owner (a 70 year old man) makes himself. If you come here, just go with the flow and try a Dutch gin, you will not regret it. Except when choosing the (extremely hot) pepper variant perhaps.
Robot (Bijlokehof 1)
Yes, as the name indicated, this bar has a robot theme. Small and bigger exemplars can be spotted in this rock n roll place that is filled with retro school furniture. Yes even the towel hook in the bathroom is a… Robot!
Charlatan (Vlasmarkt 6)
This Ghentian monument, that needs absolutely no introduction, is the go-to place for the music and dance lover. You will meet the most diverse bands and people on your visit. You can dance until the early hours at this place.
Hotsy Totsy (Hoogstraat 1)
When you’ve had a drink at all the bars in the city center, cross the Sint Michiels bridge and have a last drink at Hotsy Totsy. This charming jaz bar has a vintage 20s interior and is certainly worth a visit.
De Geus van Gent (Kantienberg 9)
For me, this is thé place to go on a first date in Ghent. This very cozy and moody bar has the most comfortable sofas to sit in (and that make it easy to slide a bit closer to your date) and makes you feel right at home.