Top bars in Bruges

Best bars in Bruges

The charming city of Bruges is steeped in history, with gabled buildings, wide-spreading squares and tasty chocolates. Aside from its sightseeing, though, Bruges boasts a wide range of bars varying from the romantic to the eccentric: pretty much any vibe you’re after, you’ll find it here. Stopping off at one of many small taverns for a daytime drink is a great way to break up a day of sightseeing and soak up the Belgian culture. There are also bars set in historic buildings, from crypts to former Masonic lodges, and streetside affairs that take you away from the hustle and bustle of the more popular areas.

  1. Cafe Vlissinghe
  2. Groot Vlaenderen
  3. Le Trappist
  4. Volkscafe Sint-Jakobs
  5. Duvelorium
  6. Cafe Rose Red
  7. Retsin’s Lucifernum

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Cafe Vlissinghe

If you fancy a drink with a side-serving of history, head to Cafe Vlissinghe, Bruges’ oldest bar. Dating back to 1515, this historic bar retains a classic decor of wooden rafters, framed portraits and dark wooden furniture, and is filled with historic relics which tell the story of a time long gone. As well as taking in the rich decor of the place, another way to get a real feel for this historic bar is by sampling one of their local beers, or sit back and relax with a hot chocolate or tomato juice.

Vibe: Traditional decor.

Area: Sint-Anna district

2. Groot Vlaenderen

Looking for Bruges bars where you can don your finer clothes? Groot Vlaenderen is such a place, a slick affair that’s perfect for a pre- or after-dinner drink. Housed in an equally slick historic building, you can choose from a range of stylish drinks here, with talented and friendly bartenders on hand to make sure you enjoy your experience.

Vibe: Sophisticated.

Area: Vlamingstraat

3. Le Trappist

Located beneath a 13th-century castle, Le Trappiste is certainly one of the most ambient bars in Bruges with its crypt-like, curved brick walls and simple decor allowing you to soak up the medieval atmosphere. If you want to find out more about the history of the building and the church above, just ask the bar staff, who will be able to tell you more, or point you in the right direction for more info.

Vibe: Medieval crypt.

Area: Kuipersstraat

4. Volkscafe Sint-Jakobs

The unsupposing Volkscafe Sint-Jakobs is arguably one of the most chilled-out bars in Bruges. Old record sleeves, framed portraits and black-and-white photographs adorn the walls of this small space, which add to its quirky charm. Sit along the bar and choose from a range of excellent drinks, including beer from the country’s oldest brewery. Its opening hours means that it’s best enjoyed as a daytime bar to chill out in; a great way to experience Belgian culture on a rainy day, or if you simply want to chat to other patrons in a friendly environment. If you’re considering holidays to Bruges, this bar is a great place to break up the day with.

Vibe: Daytime haunts.

Area: Sint-Jakobsstraat

5. Duvelorium

Thanks to its unique setting (and decor), Duvelorium is one of the best bars in Bruges. Located on the first floor of the Historium building, it’s a great spot to mix in with sightseeing, and there are impressive views to be had from its panoramic terrace looking down over the historic square. The decor is minimalism meets colour, with a red-and-white curved roof and small tables with felt barstools.

Vibe: Sightseeing, great views and relaxation rolled into one.

Area: Markt 1

6. Cafe Rose Red

Cafe Rose Red is possibly one of the most relaxing, scenic bars in Bruges, with red roses hanging from the timber-framed rafters, half-red and -white walls and wooden floorboards. This bar is located close to Markt, so you’re in a great location, but you don’t have to compromise with busy crowds as the bar is tucked away on a quiet off-road. If you’re looking for a drink that is steeped in historical and cultural significance, try their speciality Trappist beer. There’s plenty of non-alcoholic options available, so whatever you choose to drink, you know you’re in for an enjoyable experience.

Vibe: Romance.

Area: Cordoeaniersstraat

7. Retsin’s Lucifernum

Okay, so Retsin’s Lucifernum is probably the most eccentric bar on this list, but it’s for good reason. It’s Halloween every day at this bar, located between the river and Choco-Story museum. With its shiver-inducing decor of eerie ghost paintings and spooky items of winged angels and more on display, this ominously-glowing bar is filled with so many curiosities that it’s almost a museum in its own right. The owner of the bar is Don Retsin himself, a ‘vampire’ who dresses the part and will enthusiastically tell you all about the origins of the building as a Masonic Lodge to the bar he runs today.

Vibe: Stumbling into a real-life ghost story.

Area: Twijnstraat

Find your perfect destination