We like Bruges a lot, so we go back when we have time or we are nearby. It’s a very small town with a considerable number of tourists but it is beautiful.
This post contains a list of our favourite pubs plus a list of the best Belgian beers. On a side note, I recommend watching In Bruges if you haven’t seen it.
Brugs Beertje (Daisy’s)
Just a few meters away from the main street Steenstraat, this local pub is very cosy and warm. It really feels more like a friend’s living room than a pub. They have a very large selection of Belgium beers, with a quite detailed menu that groups them by region. They also have around 5 beers on tap, which change according to the time of the year. Normally they have the strongest in winter, with lighter and fresher ones in summer.
They have won a few awards, which can be seen hanging on the walls. Its owner Daisy is an extremely friendly lady who can advise you when you select your beer, which is not an easy task given the huge offer.
Staminee De Garre
This is a hidden place located on a small street that joins the two main squares. You need to pay attention and find a tiny hallway/aisle between the shops which ends at its entrance. This pub is very special mainly for two very simple reasons:
- Its house beer is one of the best in the country.
- The only place in the World (and this is 100% true) where you can get its house beer is at their pub.
So this magical, delightful and delicious beverage is called Tripel De Garre and it is brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge. It is really outstanding. It is blond (or it looks like) and very foamy. Even though is actually strong (11.5% alcohol), it tastes so good and light that even people who are not heavy beer drinkers love it (including all the women in our team). You will notice that its foam is particular and it will only make you drink it more.
The place itself is also interesting, the building is quite old and the decoration very modest and traditional. This year they opened the second floor so more visitors can be accommodated (so it has 3 floors counting the ground one), which was smart because it can get busy sometimes. However; it is worth mentioning that the second floor can get too warm in the summer.
One last detail is the tiny cheese plate that comes with the beer. It is an excellent companion for their magnificent beer. Another clarification here is that each table order comes with one and no more than one tiny cheese plate, which is not very fair if you are 7 people (which was our case). It seems to be a house rule that they are not willing to change. Anyway, you can still order a cheese board and some snacks. Totally recommended!
This is the oldest pub in town, open since 1515. It still keeps some of the original walls and decorations. It is between 10 and 15 minutes walking distance from the town centre (Saint-Anne quarter), but it is worth a visit without a doubt.
It also closes early (10 pm) so better to go in the afternoon. Their house beer is tasty and they also have food (snacks, sandwiches, and pasta). If the weather is dry, you can enjoy its sitting area outside. They do not take cards and their annual leave is from 25 July to 2 August.
As they sum up on their website: “The unique atmosphere and the friendly ambience make Vlissinghe a favourite meeting place for Brugeans and for tourists from around the world.”
Comptoir Des Arts
This is a very nice cellar bar with an excellent range of beers and a friendly atmosphere. It closes late (at 3 am) and there is live music (jazz/blues) starting at around 8 pm. The staff is friendly and they really know about Belgium beers. Nothing too fancy but a good place to go.
De Halve Maan
This is the town brewery’s pub. It is very modern and spacious inside, and it also has a garden which is great for the summer. It is the only brewery in Brugge, and it has been in the news lately because they are planning (or maybe they have started already) to build an underground pipeline to carry its production of beer.
Enough beer to fill 12000 bottles an hour will flow in this pipeline from the brewery to the bottling plant, which is outside the old town. The authorities hope this pipeline will preserve Bruge’s both medieval streets and beer tradition [Read more].
They also offer a tour to visit the brewery, which ends with a pint at the bar. These tours are organized daily between 11 am and 4 pm, in Dutch, French, and English. It takes 45 minutes and costs €8.5 per person.
This is #1 on nightlife spots according to TA. It is another cellar bar with vaulted ceilings. Kind and knowledgeable staff, and a good vibe in general. They have a large range of beers with 22 on tap. They also offer a tasting paddle. There is also live jazz music sometimes.
Cafe On The Rocks
This is a very peculiar and original pub. It used to be a strip club, so you can still see its old decoration, including the poles for dancing and a lot of mirrors on the walls. Besides all that, once you step in you can feel a very familiar and good atmosphere.
Most of its visitors are locals, and you can always find its owner “Tony” serving at the bar but also playing music from his laptop. They serve tapas, cocktails, and beers (they have Ciney and Chimay on tap, which is not easy to find).
Located in front of a hostel, it is spacious inside and has just a couple of tables on the front sidewalk. It is not as close to the city centre as the others. It is a popular bar that can get crowded with young people, which makes sense given that it is attached to the best youth hostel in Bruges.
There is a walking tour that ends in this pub as well. They also offer tasting sessions and pizza.
Especially recommended for dinner, as they serve traditional food and a large range of beers. It is a very traditional place and only 5 minutes away from the main square. It gets very busy so better to book a table in advance.
The Beer Wall
It is located in the city centre and overlooks one of the canals. It has a pleasant garden at the back and a big shop at the front. They offer all kinds of gifts (glasses, chocolates, souvenirs) and beers. They also offer a beer-tasting experience with 4 tiny pints of beer, sausages, and a little cheese for 10€. The downside is that it gets crowded and full of tourists.
What are the best Belgian Beers?
This is a short list of our favourite Belgian beers:
- Tripel de Garre. Tripel, 11.5%, Brouwerij Van Steenberge.
- Rochefort Trappistes 10. Quadrupel, 11.3%, Trappist Abbey of Rochefort. [T]
- Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII). Quadrupel, 10.2%, Brouwerij Westvleteren. [T]
- Augustijn Blond. Belgian Pale Ale, 8%, Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
- St. Bernardus Abt 12. Quadrupel, 10%, Brouwerij St. Bernardus.
- Westmalle Trappist Dubbel. 7%, Brouwerij Westmalle. [T]
- Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue). Belgian String Dark Ale, 9%, Trappist Abbey of Chimay. [T]
- Orval. Belgian Pale Ale, 6.2%, Brasserie D’Orval. [T]
- Ciney Blonde. Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 7%, Demarche Brewery.
- Chouffe Dobbelen IPA. Tripel, 9%, Brasserie D’Achouffe / Moortgat.
- Brugse Zot Blond. Belgian Blonde, 6%, Brouwerij de Halve Maan.
The ones marked with [T] are Trappist beers, which are brewed in monasteries following certain rules and standards. There are only 11 in the World (six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands and one each in Austria, Italy, and the United States). So their products are very authentic.
In some countries such as the UK, you can easily buy a Trappist Pack online, as the picture below. Another recommended website to buy online is Beer Hawk. And finally, a specialised online shop, directly from Belgium with worldwide delivery, is Beer Of Belgium.