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Visitors to Belgium are sure to notice one very prominent feature of the country; the huge number of cafés, bars, pubs and clubs. It’s easy to find somewhere to stop for a refreshing drink, with venues located around every corner serving up some traditional, and not so traditional, favorites.
Belgium is famous for its beer, with popular brands such as Hoegaarden and Leffe brewed throughout the country. Trappist beers brewed in local monasteries, festive beers produced for the European Christmas markets, special gin blends and signature cocktails are also extremely popular with locals and visitors. Here’s the top 5 places to enjoy these Belgian specialities.
Those in Liège who enjoy great music and stunning views should spend an evening at the Sky Bar. The neon-lit, ultra-modern interior is a stark contrast to the 17th Century surroundings of the Liège Cathedral and the ruins of the nearby gothic buildings which can be viewed from the open air terrace. Patrons can enjoy the soft and smooth sounds of live jazz while sipping on premium brands such as Smirnoff, Bofferding and J&B.
2. Le Corbeau, Brussels
Travelers looking for the best beers in Belgium will find them all at Le Corbeau. This central Brussels bar is open during lunchtimes and evenings, but really comes to life at the weekend, with Fridays and Saturdays known as ‘nights of hell.’ It’s not uncommon to see locals ordering their beers by the yard and dancing on the tables. Le Corbeau is considered to be Belgium’s best kept secret and is a truly fun and lively establishment.
3. ‘t Dreupelkot, Ghent
Belgium is one of the top producers of a Dutch-style gin known as Jenever, particularly the city of Ghent. ‘t Dreupelkot has over 200 varieties of Jenever on offer, ranging from vanilla and chocolate to fruit and spicy pepper, all of which are served in the traditional style; straight from the freezer and poured to the very brim of a shot glass. The venue overlooks the famed canals of Ghent, providing a great place to view the sightseeing boats in action.
For travelers arriving on ferries to Belgium, the Old Steamer is a convenient and popular choice for relaxing after the journey. Located on the seafront overlooking the Port of Zeebrugge and the marina, this down-to-earth wood-panelled bar offers a choice of over 80 cocktails and 20 champagnes. The Old Steamer is open until the early hours and includes a small dance floor and heated terrace ideal for watching the boats come into dock.
5. SIPS, Antwerp
SIPS has to be one of the best cocktail bars in the country, with owners Manuel and Olivier able to make up over 1000 traditional cocktails such as Whiskey Sours and Banana Daiquiris to perfection, as well as a few of their own lethal concoctions such as the rum and ginger based Yellow Fever and the Chinese-inspired Sofe Mojito. There’s continental-style outdoor seating at this south Antwerp bar, ideal for warm summer evenings.
Jennifer Watts, a freelance writer, provided this article for P&O Ferries. The opinions expressed are those of the author and any data provided does not originate from P&O Ferries. The following is a link to the P&O Ferries homepage – http://www.poferries.com/