Ghent, often overshadowed by the more renowned Brussels and Bruges, stands tall as a beacon of vibrant culture, history, and incredible nightlife. As twilight blankets the city, Ghent transforms into a lively hotspot, revealing a side that both surprises and delights.
From the energetic bars and clubs along the Graslei to the intimate and artsy venues in Patershol, Ghent’s nightlife offers something for everyone. Mixing well-established venues with emerging hotspots, Ghent ensures a night out here is nothing short of spectacular for both locals and tourists.
Whether you’re seeking the authentic taste of Belgian beers in a historic tavern, dancing the night away to the tunes of renowned DJs, or enjoying an evening of jazz in a cozy setting, Ghent won’t disappoint. Its constantly evolving nightlife scene promises that each evening is unique and brimming with potential.
In this guide, delve deep into Ghent nightlife offerings. Discover the top party locales, invaluable night-out tips, and an overview of the costs associated with a memorable night in this Belgian jewel.
Where to Party in Ghent
Central to Ghent’s charm is its compact nature. Most nightlife hubs are within walking distance of each other, making bar-hopping a breeze:
Graslei: This historic area by the river is not just a daytime beauty. By night, its bars and pubs buzz with activity, making it a go-to spot for a scenic and lively evening.
Patershol: Known for its medieval streets and artistic flair, Patershol is home to a myriad of quirky bars and live music venues catering to a more bohemian crowd.
Oudburg: A haven for foodies during the day, Oudburg’s international restaurants transform into bustling bars as the night progresses.
Overpoort: The student heartland, Overpoort boasts an array of clubs and bars, ensuring an energetic and youthful vibe every night.
Ghent Nightlife Tips and Advice
Ghent is generally safe, but as with any city, remain vigilant and take standard precautions.
Belgium’s legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine, and 18 for spirits.
Tipping isn’t obligatory in Belgium. However, if you’re pleased with the service, leaving a small amount is appreciated.
Ghent’s public transportation is efficient, with trams and buses running till late. Taxis are also easily available.
Most venues in Ghent embrace a casual dress code, but upscale places might expect a touch of elegance. When uncertain, smart-casual never fails.
Cost of Partying in Ghent
Drinks: Typically, a beer costs €3-6, wine is around €4-8 per glass, and cocktails range from €8-14.
Cover charges: Some nightclubs charge entry fees of €5-15, occasionally inclusive of a free drink.
Taxis: Short rides within the city center usually range between €10-15. Rates might surge during peak times or special events.
Best Bars in Ghent
Located near the Graslei, ‘t Dreupelkot is a quintessential Ghent experience. This intimate jenever (gin) bar offers a vast selection of homemade jenevers, ranging from the traditional to exotic flavors like chocolate and passion fruit.
The rustic interior, filled with wooden details and old-world charm, transports patrons back in time. Pol, the charismatic owner, often engages guests with stories, adding to the bar’s allure. If you’re looking to sample authentic Belgian spirits in a cozy setting, ‘t Dreupelkot is the place to be.
Trollekelder, translating to “Troll Cellar”, is a beloved haunt for beer enthusiasts. With its distinctive fairy-tale themed decor, complete with troll figurines and medieval ambiance, it sets the mood for a magical evening.
The bar boasts an extensive beer list, showcasing both well-known Belgian classics and lesser-known regional brews. Large windows provide a view of the bustling streets, making it a perfect spot for people-watching. If you’re in the mood for a whimsical evening accompanied by excellent brews, Trollekelder won’t disappoint.
Tucked away in a discreet corner of Ghent, Jigger’s is an award-winning cocktail bar that prioritizes quality and innovation. The bar’s name, derived from the jigger measuring tool used in mixology, hints at its commitment to precision.
The dimly lit, stylish interior exudes an air of sophistication, making it an ideal setting for intimate conversations. With a constantly evolving menu and a flair for creative concoctions, Jigger’s delivers an unparalleled cocktail experience. Reservations are recommended, as this hotspot fills up quickly.
Woody’s is a vibrant bar known for its relaxed atmosphere and diverse crowd. Its wooden interiors, combined with an assortment of board games, create a homey feel, inviting patrons to linger for hours. The bar offers a wide range of drinks, from classic Belgian beers to inventive cocktails.
Regular quiz nights and themed events add to its charm, ensuring there’s always something happening. Perfect for a casual night out with friends or a laid-back date, Woody’s guarantees a good time.
For those who have a penchant for rock music, Rock Circus is a haven. Adorned with rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, the venue pays homage to iconic bands and artists from different eras. With live music performances, DJ nights, and themed parties, Rock Circus is always pulsating with energy.
The bar offers a mix of drinks, including a notable selection of whiskies. Whether you’re headbanging to a live band or reminiscing with classic rock tunes, Rock Circus ensures a rock-solid evening.
Best Nightclubs in Ghent
Abacho stands out as a trendy gem in Ghent’s clubbing landscape. Embracing both modern aesthetics and timeless elegance, this club offers patrons a sophisticated environment paired with top-notch music. Its curated events encompass a wide spectrum, from deep house sessions to funk-filled nights.
Plush interiors, cutting-edge sound systems, and a penchant for delivering exclusive experiences make Abacho a sought-after destination for those looking to indulge in upscale nightlife. Whether you’re in the mood for an intimate evening with friends or a more extravagant celebration, Abacho promises a fusion of style, rhythm, and luxury.
Niche Club, true to its name, offers a unique and curated clubbing experience in Ghent. The interiors are sleek and modern, with state-of-the-art sound and light systems that create an immersive atmosphere. Niche Club is known for hosting eclectic electronic music nights, featuring both local and international DJs.
Their events cater to a discerning crowd that appreciates the nuances of various electronic sub-genres. With its focus on providing a distinctive clubbing experience, Niche Club stands out in Ghent’s nightlife scene.
Missy Sippy Blues & Roots Club
Missy Sippy Blues & Roots Club is a homage to the rich musical heritage of blues and roots. Located by the Graslei, this club offers live music sessions, showcasing both emerging artists and seasoned performers.
The rustic decor, complete with wooden beams and vintage posters, adds to the authenticity of the experience. Beyond music, the club also hosts dance workshops and jam sessions. For those yearning for soulful tunes and a deep connection to musical history, Missy Sippy provides the perfect backdrop.
A titan in Ghent’s techno scene, Kompass has garnered a reputation for hosting some of the most epic nights in the city. This industrial-style club is characterized by its expansive dance floor, enveloped by raw concrete walls and pulsating lights.
It has become a beacon for techno enthusiasts, regularly featuring renowned DJs from around the globe. The energy at Kompass is intense and electric, with nights often extending into the early morning hours. For a raw and exhilarating clubbing experience, Kompass is the place to be.
Charlatan is an institution in Ghent’s nightlife. Strategically located at the vibrant Vlasmarkt, this club has been entertaining party-goers for decades. It offers a diverse musical palette, from indie rock nights to electronic DJ sets.
The multi-level venue ensures varied experiences, with each floor offering a unique vibe. Regular live concerts, theme nights, and collaborations with festivals make Charlatan a dynamic and ever-evolving hotspot. A melting pot of cultures, ages, and musical tastes, Charlatan epitomizes the spirit of Ghent’s nightlife.
Ghent Nightlife Conclusion
Ghent’s nightlife, much like the city itself, is a blend of history, modernity, and sheer vibrancy. Whether you’re winding down with a beer overlooking the river or grooving to the beats in a nightclub, the city promises an unforgettable experience.
With this guide in hand, you’re poised to unearth the best of Ghent after dark. So prepare to immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of Ghent nightlife, where every corner holds a new story and every night is an adventure.