Antwerp

There are 2,500 taverns in Antwerp—one for every 200 inhabitants—and the city is the club-going capital of Belgium, which means that the centers of nightlife are abuzz until the wee hours of the morning. The narrow winding streets of the Grote Markt, around the cathedral in particular, are packed with cafés, bars, restaurants, and a few clubs; it's an area that's very popular with visitors and locals looking for a traditional ale or a nice meal. For the hipper, more artsy crowd, Mechelseplein is an area just coming to life and finding its feet, with plenty of the hip cafés, bars, and theaters. Alternatively, head south to Leuvenstraat, especially around the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (MuHKA), which teems with bars and clubs. You might even be able to catch a cabaret performance.

Along the waterfront at Vlaamse Kaai and Waalse Kaai, there's a large parking square where you'll find some of Antwerp's biggest clubs as well as a group of smaller pubs. Be advised, though, that they share the area with Antwerp's red-light district.

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  • 1. Bierhuis Kulminator

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    It might not look like much, but this is regularly voted one of the world's best beer cafés for good reason. Bierhuis Kulminator pours 550 different...Read More

  • 2. Billie's Bier Kafetaria

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    It's not often a new beer bar pushes aside Belgium's old stagers, but in the past couple of years this cozy, friendly corner bar has become...Read More

  • 3. Café Beveren

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    Beveren is boisterous and old-fashioned, and even has its own 80-year-old Decap organ—a rarity in the city (or anywhere), since most of the...Read More

  • 4. Café de Kat

    Bars/Pubs

    This friendly "brown bar" is popular with residents and has a solid beer selection. It's a welcome escape from the gimmicky tourist pubs that...Read More

  • 5. De Vagant

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    Da Vagant is Antwerp's iconic late-night bar, restaurant, and distillery. Sample more than 200 kinds of jenever (20%–54% ABV), a Dutch liquor...Read More

  • 6. Den Engel

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    Facing the main square's fountain, Den Engel draws an eclectic and friendly clientele. It's a great place for people-watching and something...Read More

  • 7. Dogma Cocktails

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    Dogma's speakeasy–meets–gentlemen's club vibe—all-leather Chesterfields, jazz, and candlelight—is just set dressing for the real craft that...Read More

  • 8. Gollem

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    Yes, it's rammed with tourists—it's on the Grote Markt after all— but it's also got an epic selection of beers (30 on tap; 400 bottles) and...Read More

  • 9. Het Roze Huis & Café Den Draak

    Zurenborg | Bars/Pubs

    Het Roze Huis is Antwerp's gay and lesbian community house, with a straight-friendly café, Den Draak ("The Dragon"), on the ground floor; evenings...Read More

  • 10. Korsakov

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    Taking its name from a neurological disorder linked to alcohol abuse, this quirky, artsy café-bar has cultivated a loyal following among the...Read More

  • 11. Pelgrom

    Oude Stad | Bars/Pubs

    The atmospheric Pelgrom is found in the vaulted brick cellars of an old 16th-century tavern beneath the Burgher House museum. Be warned: it...Read More

  • 12. Bar Tabac

    Het Zuid | Bars/Pubs

    Bar Tabac is a studiously seedy mock-Gallic truckers' café that's open late. ...Read More

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