Traveling to a new country can be as exciting as frightening. If you are traveling solo or are moving for work, one of the first fears that come to mind is “what if I don’t meet anyone”.
If you are moving to Leuven or traveling solo to Leuven, you don’t have to worry about this because I got you covered to find the best international bars in Leuven!
International bars to meet new people in Leuven
Meeting new people can be difficult in a big city. Everyone seems occupied with their own lives and people don’t tend to make time for new encounters. But here in Leuven, we have a few bars where lost souls meet and create international friendships for life.
These are my favorite international cafés, where I met a lot of awesome travelers, backpackers, and expats.
This is the international hub to meet the world! Pangaea is much more than a bar, it’s a meet-up room, a place to learn a new language, to exchange culture, or to rent meeting rooms to discuss new opportunities.
The association is run by the KU Leuven University and is created for international students to connect with each other and offer a safe space for all their questions about Belgium. I studied at Leuven too and often went to the bar. You can go for a drink even if you are not a student there, you just get discounts if you show your Belgian student card.
They have a happy hour on Friday from 19:00 to 20:00 where you can enjoy a free drink, chat with people, or play a board game.
If you are a student in Leuven I would sign up for their buddy program to interact even more with the Pangaea community and join their exclusive activities, such as: visiting Belgium together, day trips, debates about the world, language courses, yoga night or the Pangaea parties!
Address: Andreas Vesaliusstraat 34, 3000 Leuven
2. Wereldcafe Coop
This is the best fair-trade bar in Leuven with an international vibe. They only support fair trade products that are made with respect for people and nature.
That’s why Wereld café is offering a wide range of products and where you can taste all the local beers! Also, the food is worth your while to taste the artisanal specialties of Belgium.
If you are sharing their mindset, have a chat with the barman, or even better join their theme evenings. They are very open-minded and love to debate about different subjects. You can check all their activities online.
Address: Joris Helleputteplein 2, 3000 Leuven
3. Demo spel
This café is out of the ordinary and the best board game bar in Leuven! If you like a good game-night and connecting with people over a drink and a game, then Demo Spel is your place. Bar owner Robin Jehaes, organizes amazing events in the game room in the back of his café. Check out the next events to participate.
If you would like to join a game-night with travelers or people that are also new in Leuven, check out the Meet-up site! A site to meet people all around the world. Select the city you are in and discover tons of Meet-up activities.
They have a board game night at Demo Spel too. This way you will all be new and connecting gets even easier! Sign up to the Meet-up site to check all the available slots.
Of course, you don’t need to join a specific event, you can also stop by for a drink with friends, choose a game you like from the test games and play over a drink.
Robin followed a barista course and makes the best coffees in the city or, so I have been told because I am a tea-lover and let me tell you the tea at Demo Spel is amazing! Check out their website to see all the available games.
Address: Sint-Hubertusstraat 3 | 3000 Leuven
4. Europe’s longest bar
The Old Market in Leuven is also known as Europe’s longest bar because it has the most bars next to each other in one square. If you pull a chair at the Old Market you sometimes don’t even know which café you are actually ordering from.
In the summer months, this square is filled with people and it is an excellent meeting place to enjoy a few local drinks and party till the sun comes up again.
You can also enjoy beer tours at the Old Market, brewery tours around Leuven, or pub tasting tours to meet people over a beer (or should I say a few beers).
The night to go out on the Old Market, would definitely be on Thursday as this is student night. Leuven is a university city, and all UNI students across Belgium have come at least one time to experience a party in this city.
Take a look at the Old Market with a 360 virtual tour.
5. De Werf
De Werf is a local bar and restaurant that serves amazing food and drinks! It is always filled with people from different backgrounds, students, and food lovers. When I meet someone new in Leuven, I often end up here talking about my life, with one of their incredible dishes.
If you don't like to eat out solo, I would recommend this place. It feels like Belgium opens up here and the vibe is open and relaxed. The entrance seems quite small but the restaurant has 3 floors.
Ask for their English menu, they have so many international students eating there that they made a separate menu. Check out their menu, and give it a try! At the entrance of the restaurant, they also have a vending machine with lovely food. If you don't have time to eat out, you can go for a takeaway option.
Address: Hogeschoolplein 5, Leuven
If you are an expat in Leuven or staying for a longer time you should also check out the International House.
This is not a bar but it’s a place where you can find all the information and help you need to settle in, in English. They also offer different meet-ups and sessions for housing and financial support.
If you want to explore Belgium even more, check out the Discover Belgium page on my blog to get more local experiences in Belgium.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Leuven and have the opportunity to meet a lot of new people during your time at these international bars. If you are looking for more things to do in Leuven, please send me a message and I will gladly help you out!
Keep on dreaming and Fly Along!