In this study, we analysed the frequency, morphological patterns and clinical characteristics of cerebral ischaemia in bacterial meningitis. We sought to determine predictors for the development of vasculopathy and ischaemic infarction in patients with bacterial meningitis. Consecutive adult patients admitted between March 1998 and February 2009 to a neurological intensive care unit at a university hospital in Germany with the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis were included in the study. Standard criteria were used to define bacterial meningitis. From 68 patients with bacterial meningitis, six patients suffered from cerebral ischaemia (8.8%). In our cohort, reduced level of consciousness on admission (p = 0.01) and lower white blood cell (WBC) count in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (p = 0.012) were associated with development of ischaemic cerebrovascular complications. The short-term outcome of all patients was poor (median modified Rankin scale 4.5). In patients presenting with reduced level of consciousness on admission and/or low WBC count in CSF early cerebral imaging including MR angiography or CT angiography are warranted to detect impending cerebrovascular complications.