Planning a wild pub crawl in Antwerp? Then ‘t Stad has something special in store for you. It might be a dying breed, but Antwerp still boasts some authentic local pubs that you should not miss. Especially if you enjoy cold pints, honest conversations, typical local characters, and good times. These 29 are my personal favorites.
29 Cafes for the Ultimate Pub Crawl in Antwerp
One pub that tops the lists of many travel guides is Café Beveren. Here, you’ll find an original Decap organ against the wall. Dancing on the tables or chairs? No problem! Café Beveren is the typical starting point for many bachelor parties. The members of the Antwerp Mustache Club are also regulars here!
💡TIP: Nearby, you’ll find the beautiful Museum De Reede, featuring stunning art by Edvard Munch, Francisco Goya, and Félicien Rops.
Vlasmarkt 2 | Antwerp
Café Pelikaan is one of my favorites, nestled in the shadow of the cathedral! A typical local cafe where both true Antwerp locals and tourists find their way. Pelikaan offers a wide variety of beers, and in the summer, you can people-watch from the terrace.
Melkmarkt 14 | Antwerp
‘t Chauffeurke is a small, authentic local pub located at the entrance of the pedestrian tunnel to Linkeroever. If you’re out and about in Antwerp, this might just be the place to end your evening.
Sint-Jansvliet 4 | Antwerp
Café De Kat
De Kat (the cat) is a small, old café – but well-maintained – located near the Sint-Carolus Borromeus Church. Ideal for a chat and a delicious, cold beer. One of the few remaining true local pubs in Antwerp.
Wolstraat 22 | Antwerp 2000
In de stad Aalst
If you want to experience the true village pub feeling, turn right immediately in the direction of Astrid Square after you exit the train station. In de stad Aalst is one of the oldest pubs in Antwerp, and it’s where the real locals hang out. Those genuine Antwerp folks who prefer a 33-er Stella in the morning at 8:30 instead of a coffee. In this tiny pub, there’s always something happening, and the jukebox plays music by the Strangers, Johnny White, or André Hazes!
Carnotstraat 16 | Antwerp
Café De Klok
This De Klok (The clock) is a cozy little cafe located on Pelikaanstraat, near the Central Station and right across from the new DPG Media buildings. The interior from the 1950s remains untouched.
Pelikaanstraat 134 | Antwerp
On Koningin Astridplein, in the vicinity of In de stad Aalst, you’ll also find Café Jozef, a true institution in the city. It has been known for years as a place where old spinsters and cougars hunt for fresh, young prey. The motto here is the later it gets, the more fun it becomes. So, take your precautions! It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Koningin Astridplein 43 | Antwerp
Here, you can enjoy a Bolleke! De Duifkens is perhaps one of the best-preserved local cafes in ‘t Stad. It’s always bustling with activity. You can chat with a politician or someone working at the docks. There’s a terrace on the square, nestled between the two theaters.
Graanmarkt 5 | Antwerp
De Hovenier Café
De Hovenier, along with its cafe owner Patrick, who has been running the place for over 40 years, is another classic in Antwerp. Situated in the student neighborhood on Sint-Jacobsmarkt, this cozy local cafe has remained frozen in time. The cafe has been around since 1930. Sit on one of the wooden benches and don’t forget to admire the beautiful, authentic tiles. In the summer, you can sit on the terrace by the street and enjoy a delicious plate of spaghetti.
Sint-Jacobsmarkt 26 | Antwerp
De 7de Hemel
This cafe with the heavenly name is located in the heart of Antwerp’s red-light district. It may not be suitable for spending a whole evening at the bar, but it’s definitely worth stopping by to witness this “fascinating” neighborhood.
Oudemansstraat 9 | Antwerp
Fans of this typical Antwerp word will surely think of “Lili and Marleen,” the TV series set in Café De Lichttoren. Café Den Absjaar on Sint-Jansvliet is a must on our list. This small, cozy pub, located near the elevators of the pedestrian tunnel, also has a nice terrace at the front. Inside, you’ll be captivated by the poster of Elixir d’Anvers or the framed Rikske and Fikske albums. They serve Stella and Bolleke Keuning from the tap.
Sint-Jansvliet 13 | Antwerp
Café De Valk
Diane from Café De Valk was a key character in the Eén series “Een kwestie van geluk,” which was about the residents of the Borgerhout and Antwerp-Noord neighborhoods. This genuine local pub is located on Offerandestraat.
Offerandestraat 93 | 2060 Antwerp
Oud Arsenaal at the Vogelenmarkt has been in existence since 1924, as you can read on the sign above the entrance door. This timeless cafe offers a wide range of beers at democratic prices. Be sure to try one of the geuzes on the menu or sample the specialty beer: an “Arsenaaltje.” It’s always busy, with many regular customers.
Maria Pijpelincxstraat 4 | Antwerp
Café De Rui is just around the corner from Theaterplein and has no closing time, really. This is where you go when all of Antwerp is either still asleep or already in bed. After the Vogeltjesmarkt on Sundays, it’s usually a wild party and the place to be.
Oudevaartplaats 60 | Antwerp
Boer van Tienen
Amidst some trendy establishments on Mechelsplein, Café De Boer Van Tienen stands out. This pub is an absolute institution in Antwerp, a nostalgic favorite for many locals. A big plus is the large terrace and the fish tank/conservatory.
Mechelseplein 6 | Antwerp
Café Den Engel
Den Engel is perhaps the most famous local cafe in all of Antwerp. This pub is located on the Grote Markt, in the shadow of the City Hall, under the approving gaze of Brabo. Here, you’ll meet politicians of all persuasions after the city council meetings, and the clientele is a diverse mix. In fact, you’re only supposed to drink “Bollekes” (Antwerp’s own beer brand) here, or a Stella straight from the tap! The cafe has been around since the early 1900s.
Grote Markt 3 | Antwerp
Another one of the cozy local cafes in Antwerp is Scaldis, located on Eilandje at the corner of Cadixstraat. The cafe first opened its doors at the end of World War II. Decades later, the daughter of the house took over the taps from her parents. José is still behind the bar! Please note that this pub is only open a few days a week. If you can play the piano, you’ll have a blast here.
Cadixstraat 1 | Antwerp
On the lively and perhaps still somewhat infamous Sint Jansplein, you’ll find the authentic Antwerp local pub, Monda. The busiest days here are undoubtedly when the market takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays. They open their doors very early on those days.
Sint Jansplein 44 | Antwerp
Closed | Pub Breda, located near Central Station, is a café with a somewhat dubious reputation, to put it kindly. However, it houses a jukebox where you can easily blast music from André Hazes and Frans Bauer. I’ve spent a few memorable hours at Pub Breda (no further comment), but I realize that this place doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone in terms of having a good time.
Statiestraat 3 | Antwerp
‘t Licht der Dokken
How cute can a pub’s name sound? ‘t Licht der Dokken is a small harbor cafe at the Antwerp Londenbrug. The atmosphere is warm, and they play wonderfully cheesy music while the beers flow generously. It’s usually crowded, but it’s one of my personal favorites during a pub crawl in Antwerp and close to the Eilandje.
Verbindingsdok Westkaai 2 | Antwerp
Café Tante Lies, just a few meters from Franklin Rooseveltplein, has a very antique and authentic interior. The cafe isn’t large (there’s also a terrace), but it’s still cozy to sit at the small bar. This is where you can laugh and joke around. It’s the perfect stop when you’re waiting for your bus. Does Simonneke still stand behind the bar?
Kipdorpbrug 4 | Antwerp
Café De Klamper
Café De Klamper is a cozy local pub on the exotic Offerandestraat, open every day from 09:30. No nightlife here, but you can enjoy a cheap “Bolleke” from the tap at the tables with wooden paneling. Hungry after quenching your thirst? They offer croque-monsieurs to go.
Offerandestraat 21 | Antwerp
🛎️ ACCOMMODATION TIP: If you want to stay in the city center of Antwerp after a day of serious partying, we recommend Citybox Antwerpen – a brand-new, budget-friendly hotel just a few minutes from Central Station and Meir. You can check in at the terminal all day long, and you can sleep in, as check-out isn’t until noon. You can book a room starting from 49 euros per night. The next morning, you can continue your pub crawl in Antwerp.
In Café Telefoneke, you’ll feel like you’re in your grandma’s living room or an RTT (Belgian telecommunications company) phone shop from the ’80s. As the name suggests, this pub on Lange Nieuwstraat – where trams happily pass by – has something to do with old telephones. The barman is a real music connoisseur, and you can tell right away. On Sundays, his small, charming café remains closed.
Lange Nieuwstraat 121 | Antwerp
(recently taken over) Another true sailors’ café near the docks (Eilandje) is Petra’s Café, according to my Twitter followers and some Antwerp Facebook friends. Indeed, according to them. Because it’s the only café in my list of 29 that I haven’t personally visited yet. Just to complete the circle, who wants to go with me?
Kempisch Dok Westkaai 74 | Antwerp
Newly Added to the List: pub crawl in Antwerp
De Broodwinning, a local pub on Paardenmarkt, is a recent addition to our list. Everyone is welcome here, young and old, rich and poor. You can get a freshly poured Stella or Bolleke, and they also offer light snacks. There’s a cozy terrace. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Paardenmarkt 2 | Antwerp
In the past, “gaarkeukens” were places in the Antwerp harbor where dockworkers could eat their packed lunches or find an affordable hot meal. Gaarkeuken 110 is the last one that remained open and has now become a true local café. You can still enjoy affordable meals, and they have a changing weekly menu. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Vosseschijnstraat 21 | Antwerp
Paters Vaetje is a real institution in Antwerp, and this pub should have been included in our list a long time ago. This beer temple is located in the shadow of the cathedral, and it attracts both tourists and locals. The café is open daily until late, and you can also enjoy small snacks. Don’t forget to take a good look at the beautiful bar and back counter.
Blauwmoezelstraat 1 | Antwerp
De Ware Jacob
This pub on Vlasmarkt is one of those gems that you don’t often find in Antwerp anymore. Cozy, with a wide selection of beers that won’t break the bank. De Ware Jacob is another authentic local pub where a new delicious beer is featured on the suggested list every month. Closed on Mondays.
Vlasmarkt 19 | Antwerp