If you’ve spent at least one summer (or even just a sunny weekend) in Ghent you’ll know that the Gentenaars love nothing more than a drink on a terrace. Terrasseizoen is something of a sport here, and isn’t complete without a plate of kaasblokjes (cheese cubes), local Tierenteyn mustard and celery salt on the side. Researching the 10 best places to catch some rays, people watch and cool down with a pintje was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Here are the results, organised in one big bar crawl loop:
Let’s start at the beach. Why not. Every summer from the end of June through till the start of September, Zebrabeach brings sand, deckchairs and general seaside cheer to an outdoor courtyard area with paddling pool on Zebrastraat. They also show international films on a big screen after dark.
http://zebrabeach.be/, Zebrastraat 32/001. In 2018: 14th June-2nd September, open every day from 12pm till late (depending on the weather). Some days they close for private events so check before you reach for your beach towel.
From beach to boat. De Planck is the boat bar opposite the Kinepolis cinema. Come summer everyone wants to be on top deck. From here you can watch the boats go by as they make their way into town. The 200 beers on the menu (including one specially brewed for the boat) should help you while away a summer evening or two.
http://www.deplanck.be/, Ter Platen, open every day from 11.30am
Geus van Gent
You can see the Geus van Gent (part of the Geuzenhuis) from De Planck – it’s just a short hop across the bridge. Its terrace is right next to the water and the star of the show here are the unique views you get of the other side of St Peter’s Abbey. The bar has 20 beers on tap and is perfect for an evening drink as the late rays fall straight onto your table.
http://www.geuzenhuis.be/cafe, Kantienberg 9, open Monday-Friday from 4pm, Saturday from 7pm. Closed Sundays.
Vooruit Roof Terrace
It’s a classic, and at least one visit every summer (week?) is a must. This roof terrace gets some of the last rays and there’s a bar upstairs for regular refreshment. Brightly coloured deckchairs and its tiered herb garden create a chilled vibe.
http://vooruit.be/en/, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23, open every day from 12pm
Marimain and Cafe Romain
Ok, so this is two bars, Marimain…and Cafe Romain. When the weather’s warm they seem to tussle for terrace space on a hip little square (more triangle-shaped) on Walpoortstraat. We like them both in equal measure. There’s plenty of people watching to be had from either as this street is lined with trendy clothes and coffee shops.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marimain/170438609669442 (no opening times to be found, but they never seem to close…) and https://www.facebook.com/Caf%C3%A9-Romain-302073456481804/ (open Monday-Saturday 11am-1am)
De Buffel is an unassuming little neighbourhood bar whose terrace overlooks a small park outside St Macharius church. They offer a small selection of delicious tapas dishes (from 6pm-10pm), which leave the kaasblokjes for dust to be honest – there’s no fixed menu so you can expect something different each time – slices of smoked aubergine or juicy entrecote anyone?
http://www.debuffel.be/, Gandastraat 19A, open from 5pm (closed Tuesdays)
Another classic, Mosquito Coast is busy all year round, popular for its traveller theme (think maps and giraffes on the wall). In the summer they open up a terrace plus large balcony area out the back, in addition to the terrace out front which tends to open all year round. This is the place for a cocktail aperitif and something from the international-themed tapas menu.
http://www.mosquitocoast.be/, Hoogpoort 28, open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am, Sunday from 3pm. Closed Mondays
Gaston is slightly out of town – north of Dok Noord – so you do have to be quite dedicated to the cause. Luckily, we are. This massive rooftop bar has probably the best view of the whole of Ghent’s skyline. It’s only open during July and August, and if you’re really enthusiastic you can book it for private events. Not the kind of place you’ll stumble across and definitely something different to show your family and friends when they come to visit.
http://www.gaston-gent.be, Hurstweg 8, open Tuesday-Friday from 12pm, Saturday from 6pm, Sunday lunchtime only. Closed Mondays.
De Walrus is another neighbourhood bar that is a bit out of the way for tourists, but very popular with anyone who lives or works nearby. There’s a big courtyard with colourful murals out the back and they serve a good range of lunch and dinner options, which you’ll probably need after a full day of terrace touring.
http://www.walrus-gent.be/, Coupure Links 497, open weekdays from 11am, weekends from 4pm
What are your favourite places to enjoy a drink with friends when it’s sunny in Ghent? Let us know in the comments section below.
Last updated: April, 2018