7 great bars to visit while in Belgium
1) Taverne Manneken Pis, Brussels: This charming little bar with a traditional feel is located right next to the famous bronze sculpture – Manneken Pis. Despite this location it seems a million miles away from the throngs of tourists gathered outside taking snap shots of a peeing statue. There is a warm and friendly atmosphere and plenty of beers to choose from. Pop in, get cosy around the fire and sample the delights on offer. Just make sure you don’t drink too much and end up doing impressions of the peeing statue on your way out!
2) Poechenellekelder, Brussels: Much more than a bar. This is a museum of peculiar trinkets and string puppets. The moment you walk into this quirky building you will be enthralled. The place is bursting with character. The whole building is packed to the rafters with interesting and sometimes creepy dummies, dolls, puppets, masks and mannequins along with various other oddities, from trumpets to taxidermy. If you are visiting the famous Manneken Pis it would be a mistake not to pop in here and soak up the unusual ambiance. If you are not visiting the Manneken Pis, the tavern is worth frequenting anyway! There is so much to talk about it is easy to overlook the basics, but Poechanellekelder has an excellent range of Belgian beers all served in their own unique glasses. The staff are friendly and helpful. There is a small outdoor space, but to drink outside would be like visiting La Louvre and only seeing the glass pyramid outside.
3) Delerium cafe, Brussels: If you are looking for a busy, lively and bustling place to visit in Brussels then look no further. Delirium covers the entire block with separate vodka, rum, tequila, and absinthe bars, a bar focusing on Abbey beers, and one dedicated to Belgian beers. They claim to have 3000 beers on offer in total, so you won’t be short of choice! Each niche bar has its own distinct character. The first place we visited was the downstairs bar with thousands of bottles to choose from. It was quiet when we arrived so we propped ourselves on the stools at the bar and asked for the menu. With so many beers to navigate through it was hard to choose, but the bar staff were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They guided us through the menu and found us beers that suited our pallets. If you are going to choose one of the Delerium chain this is it.
The second Delerium we visited was the Delerium tap house. The atmosphere here was buoyant. A multi-cultural blend of people from across the globe battled to the bar to choose from about 30 of the beers on tap. We met a number of friendly and one or two strange people from Brazil, Chile, Holland, UK and even one or two Belgians.
Finally, we visited the rum house. Our recollection is limited as we were already pretty drunk by the time we got here. It was however exactly what you would expect, relatively quiet with a vast selection of rum to choose from. If you like rum this place is well worth a visit. I don’t especially like rum and have no idea why I ended up here. Perhaps it was the delirium from drinking so much beer in the other Deliriums.
4) l’Imaige Nostre-Dame, Brussels: We stumbled upon this hidden gem whilst wondering around the old town. As we walked along Rue de Marché aux Herbes we spotted an old fashioned looking sign above an alleyway. It was more intriguing than inviting. But once we got down the alleyway to the pub we were not disappointed. In fact we liked it so much that it was one of only a few places we visited again. The place seems steeped in history, authentic and off the beaten track. It doesn’t feel touristy at all and the staff and clientele all seemed friendly and welcoming. A good selection of beer and a great atmosphere for a small tavern.
5) Herberg Vlissinghe, Bruges: We were only in Brugge for the day and an item on the top of our agenda was to visit the oldest bar in Brugge. Herberg Vlissinghe is said to have opened its doors in 1515, making it exactly 500 years old on our visit. It is slightly out of the way from the main attractions in Brugge, but well worth a visit and in walking distance. The interior is full of charm with an imposing wood-burning stove, traditional wood panelling, a small bar and lots of bygone pictures garnishing the walls. There is also a pleasant garden area where you can relax with your beer outside. This place has been on the map for centuries and if it continues to provide excellent service and great beers then it could be around for many more!
6) 2be, Wall of Beer, Bruges: You are greeted at the entrance by a wall of beer. An impressive gallery of thousands of beer bottles lovingly displayed in a glass cabinet. A great little gimmick and perfect photo opportunity. You can only really appreciate the scale by seeing it in person. The only downside is that you will go home wondering if you could install a wall of beer somewhere in your own house!
This was the busiest bar we visited in Bruges. It feels a bit too touristy at first with everyone gathering in front of the wall of beer trying to get a decent photo, and the large queue of confused looking people trying to decide what beer to sample. But it is worth the wait. The location is idyllic, situated on the corner of the Groenerie canal. It is a fantastic place to relax, especially if you are lucky enough to seize a seat on the terrace outside. If like us you are looking to try as many Belgian beers as possible you can order a flight of small beers – a particularly effective way of ticking off some of the less pleasant beers. I like chocolate and I like beer. Here I discovered that the two should never be mixed!
7) ‘t Brugs Beertje, Bruges: This was our final stop whilst in Bruges. It was a great bar with a lovely atmosphere. The décor was unusual with colourful posters of the various beers covering the walls. The ‘beer menu’ was more like a ‘beer catalogue’ and the selection was extensive. The charming owner worked the bar and made sure everyone was content. There were plenty of locals frequenting the establishment, which is always a good sign. It was the perfect way to round off a superb trip to Bruges as it felt like we were sat in an authentic Belgian bar.Tags: Bars, Belgian Beer, Belgium, Bruges, Brugge, Brussels, Delerium, Manneken Pis, Poechenellekelder, Wall of beer