This small cocktail bar is best for one-on-one meetups and intimate gatherings; as they state on their menu, they tend not to serve groups of over four people. Their drinks are satisfyingly strong, and made with a focus on fresh ingredients, like fresh-squeezed fruit. They also prepare their own wildly popular house gin and homemade bitters, which are always the first things to sell out. If you’re having a hard time choosing a drink off the menu, just ask your bartender for help – they’ll know what to suggest.
Sips, Gillisplaats 8, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 477 63 91 52
One of the most popular bars in Het Zuid, Café Baron will draw you in with its warm, welcoming atmosphere and background soundtrack of funk and soul, plus a scenic terrace open all year round. There are plenty of seats both indoors and out on the terrace; good thing, too, since they tend to fill up in the evenings. One reason this place attracts such a big crowd is its great pricing – a good glass of wine here will cost you less than four euros. Their prime location on the Marnixplaats is the frosting on the cake.
Café Baron, Marnixplaats 5, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 336 00 40
There are many cocktail bars to choose from in Het Zuid, but Bar Bounce offers a low-key, subtle atmosphere that sets it apart. The music adds ambience but doesn’t compete with your conversation, and the high-top seating adds a refined touch to the interior. This is a great place to bring a date or catch up properly with a friend, talking at length while sampling one of their lovely cocktails. It’s also a classy setting for more professional talks among business associates, though take note that they’re only open on weekends (Thursdays – Saturday). It’s a bit pricier than Café Baron (about 12 Euro for a cocktail), but well worth it for the quality of the ingredients, the strength of the pour, and the skill level of the bartenders crafting your drink.
Bar Bounce, Waalsekaai 44, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 293 65 35
Jones & Co
Jones & Co is a cozy little cocktail bar known for its friendly atmosphere and phenomenal bespoke mixed drinks. Their menu features classics like whiskey sours, G&Ts and martinis, along with several sweet experiments that harness fun flavors like rhubarb and pumpkin, and uncommon ingredients like kriek and stoofvlees. From the glass it’s served in to the careful presentation and garnishing, it’s clear that every drink here is treated like a small work of art, which is what makes this place so special.
Jones & Co, Pelgrimstraat 7, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 4 93 07 37 71
Locals go to the Dogma Cocktails for both style and substance. Style is the first thing you’ll notice, and lots of it; moving past the curious façade into the speakeasy-chic interiors of old wood, dark leather, dim lights, and electro-swing music, you’ll be offered a tiny notebook which contains a hand-written copy of the drinks menu. Next, the substance; Dogma’s cocktails are concocted with care by a team of skillful suspender-clad bartenders, who make good use of the bar’s several unorthodox ingredients, like cigar smoke and orange zest preserved in cognac. This is one hidden gem cocktail geeks won’t want to miss.
Dogma Cocktails, Wijngaardstraat 5, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 4 96 95 33 77
Bar 11 specializes in Latin American and Caribbean drinks, with music and atmosphere drawing from these parts of the world to create an ambiance you won’t find elsewhere in Antwerp’s bar scene. Their mojitos, margaritas and piña coladas are perfectly executed. It’s clear from looking around at the decor that a great deal of care and attention to detail has gone into crafting a great environment to match the great drinks. Their thoughtful efforts have paid off, as this bar often gets extremely crowded. If you come on the weekend, you may want to explore their upper floor for additional seating.
Bar 11, Pelgrimsstr. 11, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 4 94 80 83 98
This late-night rock venue is well regarded for its cocktails, and gets rave reviews for its excellent rum selection. Aside from the many concerts that pass through here, Baah Bar offers a quieter attraction in their cozy patio, which stands on the front steps of the beautiful Sint Joris Church and looks out over the famous Mechelseplien. During the day they’ll air live soccer matches on their flat screen TV, and at night they’ll occasionally throw fun theme parties when they aren’t hosting shows.
Baah Bar, Sint-Jorispoort 2, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 4 96 05 89 32
Named for the statue of Poseidon in the center of Marnixplaats, Bar Neptune has a more down to earth sensibility than some of its hipster competitors in Het Zuid. A fresh face in the Marnixplaats, this pub is outfitted simply in vintage-style decor, working from a very Scandinavian ‘less is more’ minimalist mentality. They’ve chosen to forgo flashy gimmicks and focus on the quality of the drinks, which deftly combine everyday ingredients with not-so-everyday spirits. Take for example, the sweet Daisy (Elixir D’Anvers with lemon, raspberry, sugar and soda), or the Sloppy Joes Mojito (Flor De Cana Gold, mint, pomegranate, lime, soda). This is a great spot to kick back and relax after work or a long day exploring the neighborhood, with comfy cushions on the windowsill creating a romantic perch for lovebirds.