Welcome to Ghent’s premier nightlife guide.
On this page, you’ll discover the vibrant and varied nightlife scene in Ghent. You’ll find the perfect venue for you and your preferred night out. Whether you want to go all-out clubbing or if you’d like a more laid back dinner and drinks with a view, we’ve got your covered.
An Intro to Ghent, Belgium
Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp. The city originally started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people at that time. It is a port and University City, and at present, Ghent is Belgium’s second largest municipality by a number of inhabitants.
The city hosts many festivals for tourists and locals like the ten-day-long Ghent Festival (GentseFeesten in Dutch) which is held every year and attended by about 1–1.5 million visitors. Such festivals really help a newbie to enjoy the nightlife in the city and also know about the national culture.
The Nightlife of Ghent, Belgium
Although relatively small, Ghent is a modern, vibrant and lively city. It boasts adequateand impressive canal-side architecture to rival Bruges. Ghent has one of the most exciting culinary scenes in Europe. The city has more than sufficient hip and exotic bars as well as a full calendar of unique festivals. The very popular, well-known and overwhelmingly celebrated Ghent Festival,which we have already discussed is an absolute hit, is held in July each year.Moreover, one of the best things to do in Ghent is to indulge in the city’s finest cuisine and culture, neither of which are in short supply, so you could simply enjoying in this beautiful city and enjoy its nightlife.
The City of Ghent has put a lot of thought into how their city shines at night. A carefully designed lighting plan by famous lighting designer Ronald Jéol is the result.So beautiful is Ghent’s internationally acclaimed lighting plan, it plays center stage to the Ghent Light Festival which attracts light artists from all over the world to the city every three years for a spectacle of the arts and light. The initiative also has the honor of being awarded 3 stars by the Michelin Guide. You would have grasped the idea about how enjoyable and exciting is the nightlife of Ghent, which could also be witnessed in the following section of activities/places which could be enjoyed during nighttime:
A Boat Ride through Ghent’s Winding Canals
People can also found enthusiasticabout Bruges, but Ghent with its equally enchanting winding canals and stunning centuries-old architecture is hard to beat at all. One of the favorite cool things to experience in Ghent is to take a boat ride to appreciate the city’s unforgettable beauty.
Visit Cafe Folklore to try The Ghent specialty Kroakemandels
Indeed, a very typical Ghent snack to try is Kroakemandels: these are heavily salted peas which are deep-fried in oil. Locals savor this not so healthy snack during the Ghent Festivities. However, out of festival season, you can try this at the quirky Cafe Folklore which is located in the Patersoll neighborhood. Folklore is one of Ghent’s last real brown cafés. Owner Jacques is a real character with lots of stories to tell. The cafe serves a nice range of beers and obviously the house specialty, the Kroakemandels especially for you.
The GentseGruut Brewery
If you are really a beer aficionado, then a specific visit to The GentseGruut brewery is a must. The beer here is brewed in an unusual way using herbs instead of the traditional hops. The clue lies in the name: Gruut means a mixture of herbs. These herbs form the base of Gruut’s 5 artisan ales. There is not much of a tour on offer, the place is a bit rustic but the beer is pretty decent. Definitely, it will be a unique experience not to be missed when visiting Ghent.
The House of Alijn
If you are fond of time travel like any other and keen to know what life in Ghent was like for locals through-out the centuries, then a visit to the House of Alijn is a must. The only remaining almshouse in Ghent, in this quirky museum you can view everything from detailed reconstructions of a pharmacy and a barbershop to capturing a glimpse of what a family room would have looked like in the 1950s to the 1980s.
Best Bars in Ghent
A blend of the local’s infectious love of their city, a good night-out is all but guaranteed in Ghent.Like a lady all dressed up in her gorgeous attire, ready for a night outin the town, Ghent really comes into her own when the sun goes down and there is always a reason for that.Ghent‘s bars do a lot of the hip and a lot of the effortlessly authentic experience. From characterful jazz dens, to shaggy brown Dutch gin hutches and cocktail-serving speakeasies, few of these pubs in the historic Belgian City are more than worth spending an evening at:
The award-winning establishment is now much easier to spot, not to mention the fact that there are now more seats for visitors to give themselves over to the mercy of skilled bartenders who will gladly mix you a creative drink based on your likings. The changing menu revolves around the seasons, and apart from the spirits, a lot of the ingredients come straight from local farms. The new backyard terrace is an especially lovely place for summer evening chats; however, during the winter, making a reservation to secure your spot is a wise move.
HotsyTotsy has jazz in its veins and it really shows. The charming 20s interior of the corner café alone proves to an illustrious past: booths covered in lush fabrics, dimmed lights hanging low and lots of dark wood. It is no wonder Flemish author Hugo Claus chose to introduce the world to his magnum opus The Sorrow of Belgium in this particularly atmospheric nook of Ghent. Today the artist café is still a go-to for long talks, poetry readings, live jazz, blues, and even swing parties on Sundays. Lazy evenings are well-spent playing pool or scrabble with friends.
Close as it is to KASK School of Arts, a lot of students and hipsters tend to flock to De Robot for a burger served with chips – the double cheese is a staple – a good Belgian beer or a roomer (an aperitif and cocktail- a suitable spirit made of elderflower). These taste-bud treasures are consumed to a background of old rock ’n roll and blues. Owner Karen van San has filled her contented establishment with retro school furniture and a smattering of robots, and in the evenings it is hoping for a spot on their special heated bench – a bit of modern technology suitable for such a popular robot.
As Ghent’s first tiki-bar, The Drifter has gone all out exceptionally. Bamboo furniture, Hawaiian leis, palm trees, kitschy tiki mugs in the form of ‘o’-mouthed faces or totems – the mandatory over-the-top décor is checked off. Even more importantly though, owner and mixologist Tom has observed enough of these California-originated watering holes to sidestep the mistakes made by the many tiki imposters out there. At The Drifter, drinks are carefully concocted with just the right quality rums and fresh juices to enhance those vacation daydreams.
The Famous Shoe Bar of Ghent: DulleGriet
Situated in the picture perfect market square of Vrijdagmarkt and with more than 500 beers to choose from, there is no excuse for not bouncing over for a wee pint at Ghent’s most appreciated watering hole, the DulleGriet. Well, not just a pint. You come here to drink the mother of all beers: the appropriately named ‘Max’ which is served in a 1.2-liter boot-shaped glass. The glass itself is a thing of beauty, like something you would have found in your chemistry lab. It is such a valuable thing of attractiveness that patrons have to offer one of their shoes as a deposit for the glass. The shoe is then comically hoisted in a basket and raised to the ceiling of the pub. So when you walk in, you will be greeted by the absurd sight of people’s shoes hanging from the ceiling.
Best Bar Restaurant in Ghent
An attractive country, Belgium is a place that grows more and more alluring. Ghent, the capital city of East Flanders province, has a cuisine that offers a sample of European dining. Ghent is usually filled with students, lively locals and tourists, therefore, there are numerous places for drink and eat-out late at night. The city doesn’t sleep, except on Sundays. Fortunately, there are still some bars and restaurants open on Sunday for the restless night-lovers. Ghent is a beautiful city at night, lit up like fireworks, it is the perfect time to take a stroll and breathe in the nightlife. So don’t forget to hop in the following places to enjoy the premium nightlife entertainment of the Ghent City:
Balls and Glory
Love your meatballs? The brainchild of local chef WimBallieu, here the guests is served handcrafted, oven-baked (to make them crispy from the outside) delicious meat & vegetarian balls. The ‘balls’ are served with a choice of salad or ‘stoemp’ mashed potatoes and veggies.The restaurant situated in Sint-Jacobsnieuwstraat has a relaxed informal vibe thanks to its open plan layout.
If you are found bored with burgers and fed up with another fine dining, head over to Ankara for a flavorful Turkish experience. The chef’s platter, though a meze meant for two, is large enough to share with your entire family; it includes about 20 different varieties of Turkish delicacies including Koftas, Felafels, Tagines, and much more. Some dishes are spicier, some are tangier, and some are sweet and sour. Ankara offers hearty, traditional Turkish cuisine in the heart of Ghent and that is really a great adventure point for the adventurous.
Paul’s Boutique is a true burger lover’s indulgence but without the substantial price tag. You will find as many vegetarians as meat-lovers at this local preferred venue. Vegetarians can pick from nine incredible burger options, including the feta pesto and the tofu caprese. Beef-eaters have their own eleven delectable choices, including the popular sticky fingers burger with potato chips inside. Paul’s combines the cozy atmosphere of a restaurant with the charm of a roadside venue for a memorable dining experience.
Though it is only been a year since it opened, Publiek is one of many new restaurants that are quickly turning Ghent into a foodie paradise. Well-known Flemish foodie Olly Ceulenaere conceptualized Publiek as a dynamic twist on traditional Flemish dishes, and last year he and his girlfriend turned this vision into a reality. With a Michelin star under Publiek’s belt already, it is no wonder that the reservations can fill up months in advance. A sampling of his innovative creations includes fish with orange buttermilk and pigeon with beetroot and grape leaves.
Best Nightclub in Ghent
Ghent is one of those rare cities that look more beautiful at night than during the day. So if you are a night-time enthusiast, we strongly recommend experiencing the magical mystery tour of some of the city’s blasting nightlife scenes which offer some of the best nightclubs. The thousands of students, lively atmosphere and cool music scene make Ghent the ideal destination for a night out. Here we have gathered a list of City’s best nightclubs and definitely, they are good enough to stimulate your night-loving activities:
Hot Club de Gand
Hot Club Gent is a jazz club/bar with four live jazz concerts and jam sessions a week. If there are no concerts, Hot Club Gent is a cozy, warm ‘talking cafe’ with a (heated) inner courtyard. Hot Club Gent also has a wonderful selection of beers, many other quality alcoholic drinks, and an extensive non-alcoholic drinks selection.
Abacho Silent Disco
It opens on Fridays and Saturdays, this silent disco is located in an underground building in the center of Ghent. The wireless headphones offer 3 different DJ sets with a mix of pop/rock/electro/techno/ and a LOT of Dutch songs. Thanks to the colorful lights you can see who is listening to the same music as you.
Each of Culture Club’s floors has its own sound-system, light-show, and bar. Every weekend there are DJ-sets, with the club also available for private parties. It offers a huge space/ballroom for the patrons to get their foot tapping till the dawn. Overall, it’s an excellent place to enjoy the nightlife of Ghent.
This student café is located right in the heart of the students’ area and across De Vooruit which is the biggest cultural center of Ghent. On the second floor, you have a pool table and a lot of books. Beer from the tap costs €1,80! There’s a smoking room covered with upside-down world maps. The atmosphere is easy-going. Overall, it’s a premium nightclub to enjoy the nightlife of the city.
De Viking is a dance-café that also offers drinks music & good times which are definitely guaranteed. Also found in Oostduinkerke, on the coast, if you’re ever out that way. Open Tue to Sun. Closed on Mondays. Be sure to hit the place as It provides premium nightlife entertainment with good ambiance.
To conclude the article, we started with a brief introduction of Ghent City along with highlighting some of its prominent norms, culture, and nightlife. We also went through different activities/places to enjoy the nightlife of the City, Musical venues, Bars, Restaurants and Nightclubs as well. Such activities provide a great source of entertainment for tourists and locals as well.
As already elaborated the city is relatively small and dense, the nightlife of Ghentis evenly spread out throughout the city.These pubs & bars are truly satisfying the desire of thirsty visitors where you can enjoy your cocktail with the mesmerizing architectural beauty of the hand-crafted bars and their decors.
To cater to your hunger during your trip we also suggested some of the finest restaurants in the city that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite drinks. You can really enjoy the taste of good food along with some great booze.
And lastly, we went through comprehensive options of Nightclubs that offered great music with some delightfully exotic choices for drinks and cocktail that will definitely delight your overall experience at Ghent City.
All of the above activities and places work out to provide you a premium nightlife entertainment and make your tour exciting and memorable.