Funk, hip hop, soul, afrobeat … Ever since hearing A Tribe Called Quest on the radio somewhere in the nineties, DJ Azer has been hooked to those smooth hip hop vibes, grooves and bass lines. After more than 10 years, Azer has been everywhere: shared the stages with Pusha T, FKA Twigs, Hudson Mohawke and many more, spins tunes at Democrazy, All Eyes on Hip Hop …. , is a 22 tracks selector, hosted shows on Studio Brussels and Urgent FM and is working for Chase, an online platform focusing on hip hop and bass music.
All this time, his beloved Ghent was the backdrop for numerous musical escapades and personal discoveries.
I’ve been living in the Portus Ganda area for about seven years now. The name refers to its location, as this is where the Scheldt and Leie rivers come together. I really like the area: I only have to cross the street to sit by the water and sip a cup of coffee in the morning or meet up for drinks with friends in the evening.
When I’m working from home, I often take a break to have a ride with my bike. My favourite route starts at the Keizerpark, following along the Tow Path along the Scheldt all the way to Schellebelle. Its’ about 40 kilometres, but it’s right in the middle of nature, without any cars passing by. When you get to Schellebelle, you can take a small ferryboat to the other side of the river and have a drink at one of the terraces in the centre. But when I don’t pause and maintain a good speed, I can be back behind my desk in an hour and a half, showered and ready for the rest of the working day.
Whenever my bike needs some maintenance, I head to Blanco Bike Luxury. Thomas started his bike atelier in his brother’s garage close to my house. After a few years he also added a small shop at the Bennesteeg. I’m really happy to see this guy pursuing his dream and succeeding at it. In fact, he’s looking for a bigger location now.
When it comes to food shopping, I like things basic. One of my favourite stops is at Vits-Staelens, a corner shop close to Sint Jacobs. It’s like going back into time here. The owner is super old already but it would be a big loss if this shop closes down, since they stock all the herbs and spices you will ever need. Also close to Sint Jacobs is Kathy Van Landschoot, who sells vegetables and fruit wholesale. A lot of the restaurants from the city centre get their vegetables here. It always makes me feel like I’m at an Asian market as they have tons of different fruits and vegetables.
To grab a bite, I often pop by La Bussola, a typical Italian restaurant close to the Dampoort station. No hip interior here, but the food is really top-notch. My personal favourite is the Pizza Tartufata with truffle oil. Het Gouden Hoofd is a truly unique restaurant with a very nice interior, a cosy yet busy atmosphere and most of all: great food. It’s located a little bit off-centre, but it’s really a must-eat.
A usual suspect in these lists about Ghent, but with reason: Jigger’s The Noble Drugstore. Olivier is just genius when it comes to making cocktails and coming up with new recipes. Be sure to make an appointment before you go, as this place is mostly packed to the brim.
Gomez is pretty new but quickly turned into my favourite bar in town. I really like the look of this place and it has great atmosphere. They’re also constructing a small club in the basement which should be ready to open during the Gentse Feesten this summer so I’m really curious about that. Kerk is a temporary creative place in the old Sidaplax factory buildings. All kind of stuff happens here, from food festivals to outdoor house parties starting at noon. This is the definite hot spot in Gent at the moment; everybody wants to be there. Jules, Basile and the whole Kerk crew are doing an awesome job. White Cat is the home base of the All Eyes On Hip Hop parties I’ve been deejaying for 8 years. I’ve spent so many nights here spinning, talking music or checking out the infamous Stuff. And having some late night jam sessions. The owners Nicolas & Nele just gave the place a total makeover and it is looking fresher than ever.
mobiliteitgent.be Blanco Bike Luxury – Bennesteeg 7
Bij Sint Jacobs 14 Kathy Van Landschoot – Bij Sint Jacobs 20-21
kathyvanlandschoot.com La Bussola
Antwerpsesteenweg 7 Het Gouden Hoofd – Slachthuisstraat 96
hetgoudenhoofd.be Jigger’s The Noble Drugstore – Oudburg 16
jiggers.be Gomez – Oude Beestenmarkt 4
cafegomez.be Kerk – Kerkstraat 24
kerkgent.be White Cat – Drongenhof 40