Belgian DJ Nosedrip is one of Belgium’s most celebrated up-and-coming DJs, known for blending everything from future dub, lazy psyche and broken house to obscure pop and warm retro electronica. Though now based in Ghent, he grew up in coastal Ostend and we had a chat with him about what’s worth checking out in his beloved hometown.
For food there’s Stad Kortrijk (112 Langestraat 8400). They only have like four or five things on the menu. There’s an open kitchen and it’s famous for its steaks. It really looks a bit dodgy but the food is cheap and really really good. If you want to eat shrimps or a steak this is the place to go. I always order the same thing: the steak with mushrooms and I don’t even like mushrooms normally. It’s really simple, not classy at all. The only drinks you can order are beer and lemonade. It’s definitely the best place for food in whole of Ostend. I live in Ghent now and there is nothing coming close to that restaurant.
Another place I like to go for food is Koekoek (Langestraat 38-40 – 8400), which is famous for its chicken. You just get chicken and bread. It used to be open 24/7 but now it closes around 3am. It’s really good. The interior looks kind of medieval, with long dark wooden tables and little booths with walls in between. I think Ostend is a great place for cheap, simple, good food. You won’t find the hipness you find in the big cities.
There’s only one shop worth mentioning: it’s an army outlet actually. It’s really dodgy. It’s called Army Surplus (42 Kerkstraat 8400) It’s not open every day. I went there a few times to look for clothes and bought warm long underwear for the winter and a travelling bag. It’s really cheap. The guy also sells old collector’s weapons, and flags… It’s located in a garage in the city center.
You shouldn’t go to the typical city beach. Just take the tram, the ‘Kusttram‘ which goes along the shore and you have a really nice view. It goes almost all the way to France and The Netherlands. Close to where I grew up there’s the tramstop Mariakerke, this is where you should get off. There’s something called Ollie’s point, a spot without many tourists and very chill. There are just some surfers with their minivans. I used to go there a lot when I was 18. There’s a good ice cream place 200 meters from it, George’s (15 Adolf Buylstraat 8400) where my sister used to work. The lemon sorbet is nice.
In Mariakerke there are three Fritkots. One of them is called Kenny’s (Stertraat 8400), the ugliest of them all but definitely the best one. It’s just a crappy green booth and has been there forever. The portions are so big that two medium fries were enough for the whole family – and there were six of us.
Ostend is split in half by the harbour and there is a boat that brings you to the other side, to the industrial part of the harbour, for free. It leaves every 15 minutes and is close to Fort Napoleon (13 Vuurtorenweg 8400), a famous historic place, from the war. I love this industrial area, there’s a nice vibe there. I think it’s the best place in all of Ostend. Almost everything is deserted and in about 5 years it will be gone. They’re building new apartments there and stuff for the rich people from Brussels and Antwerp. I saw the plans, it looks terrible. Now there are still all the things left over from the fishers, rusty metal, old boats, … And there’s a fish factory with photos by Belgian photographer Stephan Vanfleteren on show. They still work in that building, it’s one of the few that has not been deserted. The photo series shows portraits of fishermen. The best thing I ever saw from Vanfleteren actually. Very powerful. You can even drive through the building with a car. The exhibition wasn’t meant to be permanent, but it is now. The images have been changed and partly destroyed from the wind and the salt – it’s a very special place.
There is not much in Ostend when it comes to art, even though it’s the city of James Ensor. His grave is close to Ollie’s point. It’s a very nice cemetery close to the dunes and there’s a nice little church.
Ostend’s library (7 Wellingtonstraat 8400) has a great music collection by the way, something that played a big role in my life. There was this Jazz musician from Ostend who gave his whole collection to the library after he died and it’s just incredible, an amazing jazz collection. I borrowed so many CDs from there when I was 17 and 18. I still play some tunes now that I discovered back then, like this music from a traditional Afghan wedding. I still think it’s amazing.
The first place I ever played was Copador (10 Langestraat 8400). It’s the best place to go out in Ostend, great atmosphere. At least they try to do something a little bit different. It’s very small and the sound is very good, an exception around here. The beer is not that great but the coffee is very good. There’s this one guy working there who used to travel all over the world, he’s about 30 or 40 and really cool and he’s one of the only persons from Ostend who know what I’m doing and talks to me about it. He always has new songs on his iPod and is really up to date when it comes to music. During the day it’s him who selects the music and even in Ghent I can’t think of a place where the selection is that good. It’s not the most beautiful bar but definitely the best one in the whole city, with everyone there from teenagers to grandpas. I still go there a lot.