The 5 best bars to drink like a local in Ghent

1) The Wan & Only

When the owners of Bodo restaurant took over Ghent’s oldest cafe (dating back to 1639), they resolved to keep its ancient interior and authentic atmosphere. The wooden bar, old card tables and photos of football teams are all still in place. But the old Dutch name De Wan has become The Wan & Only, and there is now a menu with authentic Belgian dishes. The result is a cool new spot for a pot of mussels and a local beer.

Ghent - exterior and terrace of The Wan & Only

Sint­-Salvatorstraat 1

+32 (0)9 324 31 77

2) Jan Van Gent

Here is a brown cafe with a comfortable old interior furnished with battered sofas, old wooden tables and strange stuffed animal heads. You can drop in at any time of day for an espresso, a Belgian beer or a bowl of soup. The little overgrown garden at the back is the perfect spot to sit on a summer evening with a glass of Keizer Karel beer.

people outside at Jan Van Gent

Annonciadenstraat 1

+32 (0)9 256 02 03

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3) Zenon

Zenon is a friendly local bar next to the old fish market with an owner who has a thing about Greece. The tiled floor and little round marble tables look Belgian. But it’s odd to see Greek street signs and car number plates dotted around the place, and odder still if you come here on Greek National Day when the owner throws a big Greek party.

a glass of Stella beer

Sint-Veerleplein 7

4) Café De Karper

This friendly bar has bare wooden floorboards, a timber counter and beer kegs for tables. It could almost be a saloon bar in the Wild West, except it is filled with Belgian cycling memorabilia, making it a popular place for a late-night beer during the Ghent Six Days race. Football fans also pack in here when Belgium is playing a game.

Café De Karper

5) Café Den Turk

Here is the oldest cafe in Ghent, where music students from the nearby conservatory rub shoulders with local councillors who work in the town hall opposite. The cafe dates back to 1340, or possibly even 1228, depending on who is telling the story. It is a friendly local place with old photographs on the walls, candles on the tables and jazz playing quietly in the background.

Cafe Den Turk in Ghent

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