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The historical and cultural heritage of Antwerp would lend you to thinking this is a tranquil place but once evening falls you will see the city come to life. The infamous Three Towers and Castle of the Counts dominate the skyline as they become illuminated at night. Lights reflect off the canal waterways, adding a magical sensation to this beautiful city and you can wander the streets, soaking up the atmosphere that oozes out of the many bars and clubs that entertain well into the early hours.
Home to around 50 thousand students, there is a large demand for entertainment. In Vooruit, on the edge of the student quarter, you will find one of the liveliest areas with a big concentration of cafés, bars, clubs and theatres. Students seem frequent the Sint Petersplein area and Overpoortstraat, while the more modern trendy spot to head at the moment is Vlas Markt.
No matter what your taste, you are sure to find a venue that attracts you. Jazz clubs and music halls provide live entertainment, nightclubs draw the attention of those looking to dance the night away and the Opera and theatre venues present cultural performances, though you may have to book seats ahead of your trip depending on the popularity of the show that is scheduled when you are visiting.
Recommended evening entertainment in Ghent
De Vlaamse Opera
Schouwburgstraat 3, Kouter
Based in a magnificent venue built in 1840, with tiered balconies, splendid ceilings and chandeliers, this Flemish opera company has a sister company is Antwerp, both with similar productions full of fantastic vocals and outstanding theatrical performances.
Lazy River Jazz Club
Stadhuissteeg 5, Torenrij
Jazz clubs are popular in Ghent and you will find there are a few to choose from, this particular venue is cosy and friendly and popular with the locals, which is always a good sign.
This is a concert hall that has a varied and interesting entertainment calendar throughout the year, hosting all kinds of live music performances from jazz and folk to modern and classical.
Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 23, Het Zuid
This popular venue puts on a number of quality concerts from rock to classical music and offers a full program of dance, theatre and jazz performances.
Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant
Groentenmarkt 9Next to the canal you will find this bar that serves over 100 different Belgium beers. The staff really know the products and are happy to help you select which ones you should try.
A famous local drink in Ghent is ‘Genever’, a gin-based liqueur. This establishment stocks over 200 different flavours all tempting you to sample.
Able to hold only 20 people at a time, this is the smallest pub in the town but one of the most popular. The name means ‘the gallows’ and dating back to the 17th century it is said to be the place where the condemned had their final drink before being hanged.
At Dulle Griet
This unusual bar is well worth a visit, the beer is served in such intricate wooden vases or vessels that drinkers are asked to leave a shoe as collateral to ensure its return.
You will have to travel to the outskirts of the town to find this, but it may be worth it as it is said to be one of the best clubs in Europe and is known for hosting big name DJ’s. Make sure you check the calendar and dress code before making the journey or you could be refused entry.
If you want to find a club in the centre of the town, look no further, this is the biggest music venue attracting live music gigs, DJ’s and general party people.