Ypres, a small and Gothic-style city in the northern part of Belgium, offers a great taste of the true Belgian tradition. The best way to experience a new environment and make new friends is to do a tour of the cafes and bars around the city. Here are six of the best in which to grab a great drink and mingle with the locals.
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Kaffe Bazaar | Courtesy of Kaffe Bazaar
Kaffee Bazaar is a small but cozy cafe that offers a great choice of over 30 Belgian beers and a selection of 50 different types of spirits. The cafe also hosts art exhibitions and concerts on Sundays, which make it a unique place to visit at the weekend. In addition, a fresh and new location makes this bar a must to visit for tourists, and it is highly recommended that you attend the ‘Sunday music tours’ that the bar hosts in order to get the full experience of Belgian live music and quality beer.
If you want to taste the local flavors, then The Times is the perfect place for you. You will have the opportunity to try the famous ‘Trappist Beer’; this beer is legally protected, and the name should only be used for beer brewed by Trappist monks in their monastery. Of all Belgian beers, there are only six Trappists that may bear the name – Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren. Only these six beers are brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey. To make the right choice, Alain, the owner, will tell you with great enthusiasm the secrets of the local history and guide you to the best beer to suit your tastes.
The Old Bill is a top pub with a great selection of beers. A popular choice among the locals, The Old Bill Pub features a friendly staff and serves as a great place to meet friends for a few drinks and a chat or an opportunity to catch a game. The motto of the owner – ‘If you’re drinking, I am serving,’ – gives you an idea of the ambiance that The Old Bill offers. His great attitude and dedication to this place makes it a perfect pub to visit after dinner.
All day until late in the evening, the attentive staff at Marktcafe Les Halles ensures an authentic and casual atmosphere while respecting every right-minded music lover and providing fresh food that can be tasted in the brand new restaurant connected to the pub. Together with your beer, you will have to opportunity to try the traditional Flemish stew with Bellegems (beer) sauce, the hock of ham with Omer (beer) sauce, and the famous pig’s cheek with Ypra (beer) sauce.
Café Nova is a supporter cafe for the football team, Club Brugge. If you are a football fan and want to find a friendly environment, this is the right place to enjoy a football match with a Jupiler in hand. This cafe is the place where, every week, football fans and visitors meet to grab a beer with friends.
The Café De Vauban is slightly off the main street on which most of the cafes are located. The cafe is very friendly and welcoming and has been run by the same family for three generations, who go out of their way to be helpful. The menu is limited, but the dishes are tasty and generous and the beer range is also excellent. If you want somewhere that is a little quieter after visiting the Menen Gate and Grotemarkt, this is a great little spot. Prices here are more reasonable than some other establishments situated around the Grotemarkt.
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