The Voorhuit is a Ghent institution. A Artdeco/socialist building, it has not lost its roots.
The huge café area plays host to multiple activities from quiet union meetings to cinema and concerts. Most of the latter are free. The French and Flemish press are available.
Sit down at any of the tables and you can be left alone or join in on the conversations. Nearly everyone talks English. The bar is good and very cheap and the food is wholesome. Homemade soup and bread for 2.60 euros which is great and pasta for about 8. Mostly fair trade and not bad for veggies.
For the stay over there my favourite in an ex-convent called Geertje Henckens on Zwartezusterstraat in the centre of town. There are only two bedrooms so book. A breakfast to die for and the second day it gets better.
If it is full try Faja Lobi in Tarbotstraat, a little further from the centre but with a lovely garden and (if possible) an even better welcome from the gay couple that run the place. Both are about 60 euros for a couple.
Then take a wander. Everything is within 30mins walk but take one of the river tours if you haven't done any research. The Cathedral is a must.
For light refreshment I recommend The Pink Flamingo in Onderstraat as possibly the most kitsch bar in the world. I go at least twice a year with my wife to Ghent and we are never disappointed.
The thing about the chip shop is true - it is the best.
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