Antwerp referred to by its citizens as Thé City! The rest of the country is considered parking lot. Not surprisingly a hotbed for cocktailbars and several good ones too! What’s more cocktail renaissance started here for Belgium, naturally the big city with lots of tourists has many cocktailbars. A selection of the finest you can find below.
This one is a real gem! And recently it became even better, none other than Dries Botty joined their already impressive team. A trio like Dieter Van Roy, Ben Belmans and Dries must be a recipe for succes…well cocktail wise we mean of course! The bar is an avid practitioner of bottle ageing and produces spectaculair cocktails, mainly classics, but they will also freewheel on demand.
Cocktails at NINE
This one is a real classic. Situated right next to the cathedral in the centre of touristic mayhem, this is an oasis of libational wellness, sporting a reputation of educating lots of famous Belgian bartenders. I also like the interior design, it’s loungy, but timeless, classy not tacky! If you are fortunate to have Patrick America behind the stick, ask for a “Patricksken”, relax and take your time, because it could take 15 minutes, but it’s sheer bliss and lots of entertainment!
Not so very far from NINE you can visit Dogma, a very nice and cosy cocktailbar. Talking with the bartenders is a self rewarding experience here, especially Didier Van Den Broeck. The man’s a born entertainer and capable of making some real killer cocktails (we remember a wicked Manhattan and of course the famous Flapper). Time flies when you’re at Dogma.
The Dirty Rabbit
We haven’t visited this one yet so we cannot say a lot about it. What we do know is that the place is like a weird party temple with a heavy rock ‘n’ roll vibe. You don’t come in this place to have a quiet chat with the bartender about which Fernet you prefer, you come here to shake your head off. Dries Botty used to be bartender here, but I have no idea who replaced him.
If you’re Belgian and into cocktails chances are high you’ve heard of Sips. This is where it all begun. Manuel Wouters was the first one to open a high end cocktailbar in Belgium, the man had learned the trade on luxury cruise ships. The bar is very small and can become very crowded in no time so we advice you to visit it in the low hours.
We only visited Bar Zar once, but we’re definitely coming back. It’s hard to describe this bar, the interior is grotesque, whaky, I’m sure David Lynch would love it. It’s worth a visit, also we know Maxime Biot can shake up a decent cocktail (he also has highballs on tap).