Bruges and the Coast

Bruges is not the liveliest city at night, but there are a handful of good hangouts, including several bars that attract a younger crowd at 't Zand. Pubs, mostly catering to an under-30 clientele, are clustered around the Eiermarkt, at the back of the Markt.

There are also many gay-friendly bars in Bruges. For an update on the best hangouts for gays, visit the Gaybruges website (www.j-h.be/gaybruges).

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  • 1. 't Poatersgat

    Part of the joy of this "hobbit hole"--esque pub lies in finding it; the hidden entrance (be prepared to duck) is basically the old service...

    Part of the joy of this "hobbit hole"--esque pub lies in finding it; the hidden entrance (be prepared to duck) is basically the old service hatch, where goods would be delivered direct to the cellar. In this case, the bar is the cellar. Novelty aside, this is a good, old-fashioned pub, and its beer selection is among the best in the city.

    Vlamingstraat 82, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    0495-228–650
  • 2. 2be

    Tourists flock here en masse to see the beer wall, a glass case displaying one bottle for every brand of Belgian beer, but the real...

    Tourists flock here en masse to see the beer wall, a glass case displaying one bottle for every brand of Belgian beer, but the real lure is the view from the terrace, overlooking the Djiver canal. A prolific selection of local brews also helps. There's a good beer shop, too.

    Wollestraat 53, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    050-611–222
  • 3. Blend

    In a city of beer bars, Blend is a tiny oasis. This new wine bar--wine shop was recently opened by two gentlemen who have both...

    In a city of beer bars, Blend is a tiny oasis. This new wine bar--wine shop was recently opened by two gentlemen who have both previously shared the title "Best Sommelier in Belgium," so the selection is excellent, with 30 wines by the glass and some 300 bottles to peruse, with a big emphasis on Italian grapes.

    Kuipersstraat 6--8, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    0497-172–085
  • 4. Brugs Beertje

    Arguably the most famous pub in town, Bruges's original specialist beer café is an iconic destination for hop lovers and stocks around 300 different brews....

    Arguably the most famous pub in town, Bruges's original specialist beer café is an iconic destination for hop lovers and stocks around 300 different brews. Expect to sample a few curiosities like the Wallonian Bush beer (one of the strongest in Belgium), the odd brew from the famed Sint-Sixtusabdij Westvleteren monastery, an excellent choice of lambic beers from Brussels's Cantillion, and a good selection from the local Halve Maan brewery.

    Kemelstraat 5, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    050-339--616
  • 5. Brugse Gin Club

    With more than 350 gins—from your standard "mother's ruin" to Dutch-style jenever—served every way you can imagine, this bar is the very definition of a...

    With more than 350 gins—from your standard "mother's ruin" to Dutch-style jenever—served every way you can imagine, this bar is the very definition of a gin palace. It's a bit off the beaten track (hidden on a cobbled street near Koningen Astridpark), and a tad at odds with the rest of beer-swilling Bruges. But sometimes that's not a bad thing, with most of the gins also for sale in 5-cl or 10-cl pharmacy bottles, to take home.

    Josef Suvéestraat 19, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    0472-628--243
  • 6. Café Botteltje

    Below the hotel of the same name, the "Little Bottle" has enjoyed a legendary status among Belgian beer lovers for more than three decades---a quick...

    Below the hotel of the same name, the "Little Bottle" has enjoyed a legendary status among Belgian beer lovers for more than three decades---a quick glance at the more than 300 choices on offer on the menu will soon tell you why.

    Louisastraat 19, Oostende, Flanders, 8400, Belgium
    059-700–928
  • 7. Cafe Rose Red

    This busy café-bar might be attached to a hotel, but it remains a destination in itself—a wood-and-stone interior, copious (albeit fake) red roses for decor,...

    This busy café-bar might be attached to a hotel, but it remains a destination in itself—a wood-and-stone interior, copious (albeit fake) red roses for decor, knowledgeable staff, and a beer menu topping 150 that includes some rare Trappist finds, are all potent lures.

    Cordoeaniersstraat 16--18, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    050-339--051
  • 8. De Garre

    This old-school estaminet, lying down a narrow alleyway off Breidelstraat, is something of a local icon. Its 140-strong beer list is encyclopedic and well curated,...

    This old-school estaminet, lying down a narrow alleyway off Breidelstraat, is something of a local icon. Its 140-strong beer list is encyclopedic and well curated, and the 11% house tripel is so potent ("suitable for gourmets," it claims) that staff will only serve you a maximum of three. Classical music sets the scene for an older audience that many of the city bars don't cater to.

    De Garre 1, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    050-341–029
  • 9. Joey's Cafe

    This "brown café" lies tucked away off the main shopping street, and has found a firm following among locals for its late-night blues and rock....

    This "brown café" lies tucked away off the main shopping street, and has found a firm following among locals for its late-night blues and rock. It's cash-only, so leave your plastic at home, and the beer selection is superb.

    Zilversteeg 4, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    050-341–264
  • 10. Le Trappiste

    This lovely pub is in the cryptlike cellar of an 800-year-old building, the perfect setting for sampling some of its many hundreds of different Belgian...

    This lovely pub is in the cryptlike cellar of an 800-year-old building, the perfect setting for sampling some of its many hundreds of different Belgian and global ales.

    Kuipersstraat 33, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    0471-684–562
  • 11. Retsin's Lucifernum

    Ring the bell and wait to be ushered past the old paintings, voodoo temple, and weird Gothic, slightly steampunk clutter (owner Don "Willy" Retsin considers...

    Ring the bell and wait to be ushered past the old paintings, voodoo temple, and weird Gothic, slightly steampunk clutter (owner Don "Willy" Retsin considers it to be a museum of sorts, but then he also claims to be a vampire…) of this former Masonic lodge-turned-secret bar. The live music has a Latin vibe, though the occasional performance from its P. T. Barnum-esque owner is worth the wait. Havana-style rum punches dominate the drinks menu, but the real star is the decor: kitsch, unique and utterly memorable.

    Twijnstraat 6--8, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    0476-350–651
  • 12. Yesterday's World

    Timeless hospitality and great beers are the name of the game at this quaintly old-fashioned café---one that is part historical pub, and part antiques shop....

    Timeless hospitality and great beers are the name of the game at this quaintly old-fashioned café---one that is part historical pub, and part antiques shop.

    Wijngaardstraat 6, Bruges, Flanders, 8000, Belgium
    0476-458–542

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