Five Top Bars to Visit in Belgium

A personal selection of some interesting pubs in Belgium

Whenever you’re exploring a new country, it pays to know where to grab a pint or a cocktail. Naturally you can always look up the highest rated places in whatever town you happen to be staying in. And in some places in Belgium you can even find recommendations for a pub crawl. For a personal dip into the drinking scene in Belgium though, read on for five top bars around the country (in no particular order).

Den Engel, Antwerp

Den Engel, or more accurately Café Den Engel, is a traditional bar in Antwerp that’s all about authenticity. (You’ll notice this is a common thread for most of this list). The history of the building dates back to the 14th century. It’s as if the bar hasn’t changed a lot since then; you can feel its age. Basically, it’s a nice place to enjoy some local beer, solid comfort food, and a beautiful setting in the main city square in Antwerp.

Cafe Den Engel Antwerp

Sit on the terrace outside Den Engel (bottom far left) for a great view over Antwerp Grote Markt

Café Vlissinghe, Bruges

If you make it to Bruges, you’ll likely be drawn to the old, narrow medieval streets that snake away from the main areas. Indeed the main charm of Bruges is its old world setup, complete with canals, cobblestones, and a vaguely haphazard layout. Café Vlissinghe fits right in with this image. It’s located off a side street and has been an operational bar since the early-16th century. Now it’s actually quite a beautiful little bar, complete with a walled in courtyard where you can try your hand at a game of boules.

Cafe Vlissinghe Bruges

Café Vlissinghe claims it is the oldest bar in Bruges, dating back to 1515

The Big Game Brussels Sports Bar

This is one of the real go-to sports bars in the country, which is particularly relevant in a World Cup year. The match schedule for the Cup shows Belgium’s group stage matches on June 18th, 23rd, and 28th. This is helpful to know if you’re planning in advance and want to see (or miss) the matches. However, a bar like this will probably be showing all the World Cup matches. Located in the middle of the city at Rue Henri Maus 5, 1000 Brussels, it’s a high-class but casual bar with plenty of televisions. So expect a noisy crowd for the world’s biggest football event.

The Big Game Brussels Sports Bar

The Big Game Brussels Sports Bar is likely to be exceptionally busy on June 18, 23 and 28.

A La Mort Subite, Brussels

A La Mort Subite made it onto a list of Belgian establishments for beer lovers, which was primarily devoted to breweries rather than bars. It earned the honor through a strong reputation for local beers, a 100-plus year tradition, and an almost fascinating décor. It comes complete with high ceilings, tightly packed tables, orb-like lighting, and giant mirrors. It’s a curious place, but an intoxicating one to look upon.

Its name comes from Mort Subite (Sudden Death),the name given to the loser of a card game that was played here

Poechenellekelder, Brussels

If you can get past the name that’s likely to tie your tongue in knots, this is one of the best beer bars in Brussels. The Poechenellekelder is known for being located next to the city’s unusually famous statue of a peeing boy. It thus tends to draw a large and enthusiastic crowd of tourists. It’s still worth a trip to check it out though as the atmosphere is cheery and the selection of well over 100 beers you may not have heard of can keep you busy.

Poechenellekelder Brussels

Belgian bars and cafés are always much more interesting inside than appears from outside!

Coming soon …

I attended a press event recently in a pub that has been voted the Best Beer Destination in the World!

Was I impressed? Or underwhelmed? Stay tuned …

In the meantime, here are three related books that may be of interest:

And here’s a pin:



Categories: Miscellenea

20 replies »

    • No I haven’t, although I’ve stayed in your town for a few weekends and enjoyed my time there. Perhaps it’s time for me to return and write a “How to spend a day in Oostende” blog post?


    • Yes, otherwise it will be another way that a bottle of beer can give you a headache. I hope you are well, and that your quiet time is proving beneficial Sharon


  1. Visited Poechenellekelder yesterday after reading your post, thanks for sending us there. Love finding out about cute bars in Belgium with good beer lists. In Gent there is the Dulle Griet if you haven’t been!


Looking forward to your comments ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.