Brussels is the capital of Belgium, but it is way more than that. It offers amazing views and it has a rich history. This city is heavily inspired by numerous cultures, it is artsy and it is generally a very nice place to wander around. However, one aspect of Brussels that particularly deserves a lot of praise is the various options for relaxation.
Concretely, Brussels does not only have tons of cozy restaurants, but it has even more cozy bars. Everywhere you go, you have a high chance of stumbling upon a sociable bar. Any of these bars in Brussels have an amazing atmosphere and serve the most delicious drinks. Nevertheless, if you do not know where to start, this list is for you. That is, here comes a list of the best bars in Brussels so do not hesitate to check it out!
TRAVEL TIP: There’s a lot to see and do in Brussels, so be sure your belongings are safe. Check out mindmybag.com for a list of all the places in Brussels where you can leave your bags.
- Café le Coq
- The Green Lab
- Café de Markten
- Goudblommeke in Papier
- Théâtre Royal de Toone
- Delirium Café
- RITCS Café
- Chez Ta Mère
- Alice Cocktail Bar
- Café des Halles
- La Fabrique en Ville
- Au Soleil
- Café Roskam
- Le Balmoral
- Goupil le Fol
- L’Atelier en Ville
- Le Roi des Belges
- Kiosk Radio
- Moeder Lambic
- Le Jardin de Ma Soeur
- Cafe Caberdouche
- The Nightlife in Brussels
Café le Coq
First and foremost, you cannot experience everything that Brussels has to offer without visiting this bar called Café le Coq. Roughly translated to English, this bar is called “bar the rooster”. Nevertheless, this bar has nothing to do with animals whatsoever. The name refers to the location of this bar since you can find it in the square called “Fernand Cocqplein”.
If you are standing in front of the bar, you will probably wonder what the big fuss is about. However, this will all become clear once you step foot in the bar. The interior has a lot of wooden elements, which creates a very charming vibe. Also, the menu consists of a large chalkboard with the specials written on it. This chalkboard hangs on the walls of the bar and this results in a true eye-catcher.
Café le Coq has been around for different generations of owners. And this shows! Owner after owner, the bar has remained popular among the citizens of Brussels. This is due to the timeless charm that the bar radiates.
In this bar, you can order any drink you wish. However, it should be noted that it can best be described as a beer bar. As a result, you can enjoy a wide range of beers here. Some of these beers are generic, while others are rather rare. At any rate, Belgium is known as the country of beer and since Brussels is the capital, you cannot leave without drinking beer. And the best place to do so just happens to be in Café le Coq!
The Green Lab
Onto a bar that you should visit because of its concept: the Green Lab in Brussels. This bar is located very nearby the forest called “Terkamerenbos” in the street “Louizalaan”. Walking into this place, you will be met with thousands of different stimuli at once. For instance, the interior belongs to the industrial style, which gives off a vintage aesthetic. You can also find numerous plants there which give the place some character. Some of these are even hanging from the ceiling. A final thing about the interior is that you can find the weirdest decorations there. This ranges from mannequins, vintage cash registers, and trumpets to wall drawings and globes.
If you are visiting this bar on a sunny day, you should go sit on the terrace. The terrace is well taken care of and almost has an exotic vibe to it. So, this is the perfect place to enjoy drinks at the Green Lab. As far as these drinks go, this bar is more on the sophisticated side of things since it mainly revolves around liquor and cocktail. You will discover a varied selection of cocktails and each of them is served in a different glass. They all are garnished uniquely too. As far as the liquor goes, the selection is equally varied. Yet, it is the gin that stands out the most. Believe it or not, the menu lists almost 250 types of gin so this is positively something to keep in mind.
Throughout the day, it is also possible to grab something to eat in the Green Lab. In this aspect, the bar is all about organic food and using local ingredients. Of course, the same can be said about the drinks.
On some days, the Green Lab invites musicians of deejays to come over. Hence, if you visit this bar, it is best to do so on one of these nights. Namely, you will be in for a night full of entertainment.
Café de Markten
This next bar, Café de Markten is located in the heart of Brussels. on the “Oude Graanmarkt”. The best part about this bar is that it can be found right next to another square called the “Sint-Katelijneplein”. This square is a favorite place for many locals and tourists. The reason that underlies this is that there is just always something to do here. The link with Café de Markten is that the terrace of this bar looks out over the square. So, this bar is the place to go if you want to enjoy a drink in true Brussels fashion. That is, you can sip on your drink while doing some interesting people-watching.
Over the last few years, the owner of this bar invested a lot of resources into renovating the place. Since then, the bar is filled with nice vintage touches and numerous plants. The mirror walls also offer a nice extra! The menu of this place is also amazing since everything is as organic and durable as can be. To be more concrete, you can drink the best organic wine here. The selection of beers is entirely local and the coffee is all Fair Trade. Besides that, you should also definitely try one of the homemade cocktails. Or if you are not a fan of alcohol, Café de Markten offers several homemade lemonades with a lot of flavors. Besides drinks, this bar serves food as well. Naturally, this is also all organic with many options as regards vegetarian and vegan food. For instance, the falafel dish is worth a try, for sure.
Goudblommeke in Papier
Next up, Goudblommeke in Papier is another must if you are ever in search of a great bar in Brussels. Even more so, this place is considered an actual historical and cultural monument by the people in Brussels. If you translate the name of this bar to English, this will read “little marigold in the paper” in a Flemish accent. And well, this name is a direct reference to the history of this place. That is to say, Goudblommeke in Paper used to be one of the most influential meeting places for artists and writers in Brussels. For instance, the famous painter Magritte and writer Hugo Claus both considered this bar one of their favorite places in Brussels. Nowadays, the bar serves both as a literary café and a bar specializing in Belgian beers. As a result, people from all over the world travel to this quaint little café.
Thus, if you want a taste of a delicious Belgian local beer, this bar is the way to go. The bar also serves food, but not just any food. No, you can only eat traditional dishes here that come from Belgium in general and Brussels specifically.
Yes, you can get a variety of delectable dishes from the Goudblommeke in Papier.
Théâtre Royal de Toone
Théâtre Royal de Toone is a bar in Brussels that you should visit for many reasons. The first reason is the location. The bar is located in the heart of Brussels. It also borders very popular places in Brussels such as the “Grote Markt” or the train station. Despite the perfect location though, you might have some trouble discovering this hidden gem. Specifically, Théâtre Royal de Toone can be found in a blind alley, somewhat hidden in a corner. Yet, once you find this bar, you will never want to leave.
The second reason to visit Théâtre Royal de Toone has to do with the building it resides in. Indeed, the building is simultaneously a renowned puppet theater. Even more so, it is the oldest puppet theater that exists in Belgium. So, if you go to this bar, you will not only be able to enjoy a few drinks, but you can observe the theater too. What is more, you can watch a puppet performance while you are sipping on a refreshing beer!
The third and final reason to visit Théâtre Royal de Toone naturally relates to the drinks. Like many bars in Brussels, the selection of local Belgian beers is immense here. One thing that makes the bar stand out from most of the other bars though is that you can book a beer tasting here. If all the beer makes you hungry, this bar also offers you the option of ordering a delicious plate of tapas to share with your company.
In addition to serving Belgium beer, the old and eccentric Théâtre Royal de Toone also hosts regular puppet shows.
If you are looking for a bar that is slightly quiet and peaceful, you might want to consider this bar, Merlo. You can find this on a street called “Baksteenkaai”, very near the so-called “Vismarkt”. Despite its location in the heart of Brussels, this bar generally seems to be undiscovered by tourists still. Yet, this is a true shame because it is one of the most prominent places in Brussels to enjoy a Belgian beer of high quality. Merlo offers a wide selection of local Belgian beers and a great atmosphere.
A lot of bars on this list are all about local Belgian beers. Yet, the one that stands out by far in this regard is the Delirium Café. What is more, this bar has even broken a world record when it comes to beer. More concretely, this café launched a certain concept in 2004 that earned it a spot in the Guinness Book of (World) Records. This concept entails that the bar wanted to provide the world’s most varied selection of commercial beers. And they succeeded! Indeed, the Delirium Café offers more than 2500 different kinds of beer. The main focus is on Belgian beers, but you can discover certain international beers too. That is one reason why the Delirium Café is incredibly famous, both among tourists and locals.
One beer in particular that you should try while you are there is a beer called Delirium Tremens. This is the bar’s specialty, as you have probably guessed already by the name of the bar. This beer comes from a Belgian brewery that has been around for many years now, so the flavor is truly timeless.
Thus, if you want beer, do not hesitate to visit the Delirium Café. You will not have to walk far from the city center of Brussels since it is located right by the “Grote Markt”. Less abstractly, it can be found in one of the side streets of the “Beenhouwersstraat”. This street offers picturesque scenery so the trip to the Delirium Café will provide you with a great view.
During the summer, people sometimes tend to form a line outside to earn a spot in the Delirium Café. That is because this bar is so popular that many people want to check it out.
There are almost two thousand different kinds of beer available here. In 2004, Delirium Café set a Guinness World Record by offering 2,004 different beers for patrons to sample.
Another bar that is worth mentioning on this list is Gecko. This cozy little bar can be found in the middle of the “Sint-Goriksplein”, which is a sociable square in Brussels. Throughout the day, Gecko mainly functions as one of the most trendy places in the city to get brunch. As the day progresses, the place figuratively transforms into a cocktail bar. Especially Gecko’s Terrace lures a lot of people here for a tasty cocktail.
Although, a cocktail bar might not be the best term to describe this place. Because while it might be true that you can choose between a lot of homemade cocktails, the beer selection is also worth trying out. As a result, students are especially fond of Gecko. More concretely, students like to come here before they move on to one of the clubs in Brussels.
Now, the RITCS Café is a little bit different from the other bars on this list. Concretely, you should not visit this bar because of the interior, the beer selection, or the delicious cocktails. You should, however, visit this bar to get a feeling of student life in Brussels. Indeed, Brussels is a lively city filled with students so it would be only right to visit a student bar at least once. In that department, the RITCS Café is the best option.
This bar is organized by students and the main target audience naturally is students as well. Nevertheless, everyone is welcome to come in here to have a drink, student or not. If you decide to give RITCS Café a shot, you will not regret this in the slightest. Every week, theme nights are organized here and they always are a lot of fun. Hence, this is one reason to try it out. Besides theme nights, other events are a common occurrence in the RITCS Café as well. Examples include comedy shows, DJ nights, quiz nights, and so on. In other words, there is something to do here every week and that alone is reason enough to go to the RITCS Café. You will be rewarded with an immensely fun night out.
Chez Ta Mère
Next up, Chez Ta Mère is, without a doubt, the most Instagram-worthy place that you can find in Brussels. As a result, this trendy bar is frequently visited by young people who like to take pictures in front of the bar. The reason behind all of this has to do with the bright pink front of the building.
Anyhow, the charm does not stop with the building’s exterior. The inside is even more noteworthy. The bar is filled with vintage and retro furniture and decorations. That makes Chez Ta Mère the ideal place to lounge around while sipping on a cocktail. You can order other drinks here as well, but the cocktails are by far the signature drinks. They are original, colorful and homemade, piece by piece. Not to mention that they are unbelievably tasty too!
As is the case with many other bars on this list, you can get food here. Due to the trendy vibe that prevails at Chez Ta Mère, it is especially recommended to go brunching here if you have the time.
Alice Cocktail Bar
From one phenomenal cocktail bar to another, it is time to talk about Alice Cocktail Bar. And this is not just any cocktail bar! Alice Cocktail Bar will unquestionably take you on a journey back in time. This is the result of the cocktail bar’s atmosphere, interior, and vibe. Namely, Alice Cocktail Bar was inspired by the cocktail bars or speakeasies in America from the 1940s. This automatically means that the bar is filled with imposing chandeliers, mirrors, velvet chairs, gold elements, and a lot of candles.
The waiters and waitresses also all wear very neat costumes to match the chic vibe from the 40s. If you visit this bar, you will sit in a red room with velvet walls, which adds to the bar’s aesthetic. The bar also has a lounge room where you can enjoy the occasional cigarette or cigar. Again, this is about the atmosphere of the speakeasies in the 40s.
Alice Cocktail Bar is located on “Avenue Lousie”, which is one of the more luxurious places in town. As the name of the bar suggests, Alice Cocktail Bar mainly serves cocktails. You will have to be prepared though for the fact that these cocktails can be quite expensive. But that is just because you are simultaneously paying for the luxurious concept as well. Also, the cocktails are all very sophisticated and extravagant, so this is something to consider, for sure.
Walvis (Dutch for ‘whale’) is a bar that has been around in Brussels for quite some time now. Thus, the people from Brussels are very used to this bar being one of the many hotspots in town. Yet, the bar has undergone quite an update throughout the years. Back in the day, this bar used to be a typical, traditional local pub. Currently, the bar is a lot more branched out. What is more, Walvis is remarkably trendy!
Walvis is located at the very end of the “Antione Dansaertstraat”. And this is precisely why Walvis is one of the bars in Brussels that can offer you an amazing view. Because of its location, you should always sit out on the terrace of this bar if you get the chance. Then, you can look over the canal in Brussels while you are enjoying a delicious drink. However, this is not all. On the other side of the canal, you can find several colorful windmills. All in all, Walvis offers you the scenery you need to fully enjoy your beer or cocktail!
Café des Halles
If you are looking for a drink in a very impressive building, you might want to consider going to Café des Halles in Saint-Géry. Café des Halles can be found in the middle of the “Sint-Goriksplein”.This building was used for other related purposes many years ago. That is, it used to function as a covered market. As a consequence, the locals from Brussels came together each week to buy and sell local goods. In recent years, this building was renovated and the finished product now is Café des Halles.
Technically, this does not fall under the category of a singular bar. Instead, the building is divided into multiple rooms or spaces. Yet, each space shares the same common thread. Concretely, Amazing drinks and amazing foods are served in all these rooms constantly. The city of Brussels also invested a lot of time and resources to make this place feel homey. And they succeeded in doing so, for sure! For instance, you can lounge in these very comfortable leather sofas while you are sipping on your drink.
A fun fact about Café des Halles is that the vibe completely changes at nighttime. Then, people can come to the basement of this building. The basement has an awe-inspiring vaulted ceiling that you will want to look at for hours. Yet, you will not have the time because you will be too busy dancing your feet off. Indeed, the basement of Café des Halles functions as a club once it gets dark. Each week, deejays come here to fill the room with music. This always ends in a great party so you should go check it out sometime!
La Fabrique en Ville
From a vibrant bar to something a little calmer, La Fabrique en Ville can offer you exactly that. Specifically, La Fabrique en Ville is not located in the city center of Brussels. Instead, it is located in the “Egmontpark”, right beside the “Louizalaan”. In other words, this bar is located in the middle of a park in Brussels. As a result, you can easily spend hours here in peace without getting bored. In this department, it would be wise to sit out on the terrace of this bar. Then, you will look out over the park. Yet, you will still be able to see all the high buildings towering over the trees so you will not forget that you are in Brussels.
If there is no place out on the terrace, you can sit inside as well. The interior of this bar is remarkably trendy and colorful. It is the perfect place to go brunching as a consequence. Yet, you can get delicious drinks there too. Throughout the day, you can drink one of the many organic, homemade juices. At night, you can switch to beer, wine, or cocktails, whatever you want!
It’s not required in La Fabrique en Ville, but weekends are very busy, so it’s best to book.
Another bar that can offer you an amazing interior and a peaceful environment is Au Soleil. This bar is located on the “Kolenmarkt” and offers amazing scenery. The terrace attracts a lot of people every day because it is a great place to lounge around in the sun. Of course, the delicious drinks that you can get here play a big role in this aspect as well.
One tip when it comes to this bar is that you should pay special attention to the counter if you ever step foot in it. More specifically, you should observe what is behind the counter. There, you will find two things. On the one hand, you will find mind-blowing art in the shape of gorgeous mosaic tiles. On the other hand, you will find a large mirror with a sun on it. The sun is a reference to the name of this bar, which translates into “in the sun”. Both of these things are the true eye-catcher of Au Soleil.
This next bar, called Café Roskam is the exact definition of “old, but gold”. You can find this gem in the middle of Brussels on the “Vlaamsesteenweg”.
Café Roskam practically screams Brussels. That is, the interior is minimalistic but incredibly warm at the same time and that is precisely what Brussels is all about. This local pub will not wow you with the most extravagant cocktails. Instead, it will steadily win you over with its wide selection of local beers. Yet, if you are looking for something stronger, it is suggested that you order yourself a gin-tonic. Particularly, this is another specialty of Café Roskam that will not disappoint you in the slightest.
If you do decide to visit this bar, you should do so on a Sunday night if you can. That is to say, this bar invites different jazz groups each Sunday to provide some entertainment for the customers. So, if you want to experience a live jazz concert while sipping on a very tasty drink, do not hesitate to go to Café Roskam.
Café Roskam has been open for 18 years with the same owners.
Le Balmoral is located in the heart of Brussels. Nevertheless, if you are sitting in this restaurant/bar, you could easily mistake it for the USA. That is, Le Balmoral was designed after the example of diners in America. Specifically, it is meant to imitate the interior of American diners in the fifties and sixties. The whole bar is dedicated to recreating the vibe of such diners. This is especially true as far as the decorations and interior go. For example, the tables and chairs are all either blue and white striped or pink and white striped. Everywhere you look, you can see these vintage neon signs, such as the red coca cola sign. Then, there are other decorations such as vintage wall posters, bright bar stools, parts of vintage cars, and so on.
Naturally, the foods and drinks are similar to what you would have been able to order from a 50s diner. As far as the food goes, this includes hamburgers, curly fries, corndogs, onion rings, nachos, hot dogs, pancakes, donuts, brownies, and so on. Now, Le Balmoral is also a bar and not just a restaurant. So, the drinks matter too. You can get beer and cocktails here, besides many other drinks. Yet, if you want to stay true to the American culture, it is recommended to go for some root beer or to share a milkshake with your partner!
You can pay by credit card or cash in Le Balmoral, so you don’t have to worry about which one to use.
Goupil le Fol
Goupil le Fol is a bar in Brussels that you should visit due to a very specific reason. Of course, this bar serves the most amazing beer and cocktails. The interior also is very nice. Yet, those are not the reasons why you should visit this place. You should visit Goupil le Fol because of the history of this building. Indeed, the building used to be a brothel back in the day. As a result, you can still see traces of this fact when it comes to the bar’s design and interior. The walls are lined with hundreds of paintings of women. The ceiling too. Also, the light is always dimmed. Nowadays, however, Goupil le Fol no longer serves as a brothel. Instead, it serves as one of the coziest bars in Brussels.
More concretely, it is best described as a tavern. Throughout the whole day, French songs are played on the radio. This, in combination with the interior results in a very mysterious vibe. You can also find a long candle on each table, which only strengthens this vibe. Yet, the best thing about this bar is that there is a jukebox, so you can essentially play any song you want!
L’Atelier en Ville
L’Atelier en Villa is located near the “Louizalaan” and the “Marollen” district in Brussels. More precisely, you can find this place in the street called “Hoogstraat”. Thus, it is located very near the city center of Brussels. Yet, because of the terrace, you do not get the city feeling if you are sitting there. Instead, you can lounge around with a drink in your hand, away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. You can also eat in peace if you would prefer that. That is because the terrace is located at the back of the bar, turned away from the busy streets of Brussels.
The great thing about L’Atelier en Ville is that it combines two fun-filled activities: having a drink and shopping. That is to say, the building serves both as a bar and a clothing workshop. So, after your drink, you can browse through the clothes in the store. Yet, you can also find other decorations and such there. As far as the drinks are concerned, L’Atelier en Ville is especially renowned for its homemade lemonade. Hence, this is certainly something to keep in the back of your mind.
Le Roi des Belges
This bar, called Le Roi des Belges (translated: the King of the Belgians) is located not far from Café de Markten. And while the concept is wholly different, the two bars have one thing in common: their coziness. Each of them is packed with people throughout the whole day and has a sociable, spontaneous atmosphere.
The greatest advantage of Le Roi des Belges is its terrace, by far. That is to say, the sun shines down on this terrace at all times of the day during the summer. Hence, you do not have to worry about shivering in the shadow when you go enjoy a drink here. Because of its prime location, this bar is often used as a pitstop. Indeed, when the people in Bruges go out clubbing, they like to come to Le Roi des Belges first to lazily sip on some drinks first. In this aspect, the signature drink is the house cocktail. So, you should most definitely try that one out!
You can find Kiosk Radio in the middle of the “Warandepark”, which is easily one of the most gorgeous parks in Belgium. As the name suggests, Kiosk Radio can best be described as an outdoor bar or stall. Here, you can order some drinks and go enjoy them at one of the tables in the park. Kiosk Radio has a menu filled with drinks, although the main focus lies on local beers.
The best part about Kiosk Radio though is that it comes with a live radio show. So, you can sip on your beer while listening to the radio! When it is sunny in Brussels, this is truly the best way to spend your day.
We don’t take reservations in Kiosk Radio, which is a shame, but there is usually a way to find space.
Again, you must not forget that the people from Brussels love beer, through and through. So, that is exactly why Brussels is filled with beer bars on each corner. It is also exactly why you should taste different kinds of Belgian beer if you are ever in Brussels.
Well, one of those many beer bars is Moeder Lambic. This bar has two locations, but only one of them can be found in the city center of Brussels. There, you will not be blown away by the interior because it is rather basic. Yet, there is one part of the interior that is worth mentioning. That is to say, if you take a look above the bar, you will find dozens of beer bottles. This goes to show just how varied and wide the beer selection of Moeder Lambic is. So, if you go visit this bar, you will have numerous beer options to choose from to find out which kind of beer you like most!
Le Jardin de Ma Soeur
Lastly, the final bar that deserves a place on this list is Le Jardin de Ma Soeur. You can find this place near the “Vismarkt”. This bar was originally founded by a Belgian actor. Back then, the goal was not to establish a lively bar. Instead, the actor wanted to create a place where he could meet like-minded people with a love for theater. To make these meetings go smoother, drinks were served. And well, that is precisely how Le Jardin de Ma Soeur became a bar. Nowadays though, it still contains elements of both a bar and the theater.
Namely, you can enjoy diverse kinds of drinks here. At the same time though, you can attend a lot of events here that revolve around the theater. This includes musical concerts, plays, exhibitions, and so on.
The interior of this charming bar also contains traces of the theater world. If you step foot in the bar, it looks like you walk into the living room of an actor. The wall is filled with paintings and pictures. There also is a stunning fireplace in the middle of the bar. In general, the interior is relatively bombastic and picturesque. This all adds to a cozy room where you can enjoy a drink and simultaneously share your love for the theater.
A popular music cafe near the Grand Place is called Bonnefooi, which in Brussels dialect means “by accident or clumsily.” You can’t find a better place to drink and listen to live music in the evening. Every night in the nation’s capital, DJs and bands play live, so there’s never a dull moment.
The Beurskafee is part of the Beursschouwburg, an arts center that has performances of all kinds. It has a cafe-like atmosphere. The Beurskafee is a great place to go on a night out if you want to see a show, exhibit, or concert. It hosts a wide range of shows, exhibits, and concerts all the time. During the warmer months, people who go to the Beurskafee can enjoy a drink on the bar’s rooftop and look out over the city.
This historic cafe on a quiet, tree-lined square got a Nordic makeover with bare brick walls, big windows, hanging plants, and even a photo booth. On the menu, you can choose from a nice variety of craft beers, like Oude Gueuze Boon, and home-cooked meals.
The Nightlife in Brussels
Now, this list was all about the most fascinating bars in Brussels. When you visit these bars, you can enjoy a drink or two at ease. Nevertheless, Brussels also has a lot to offer if you are looking to dance the night away until the early hours. As a consequence, some final words should be dedicated to the nightlife in Brussels. For instance, you should know that the area around Saint-Géry is famous for its many dance cafés and clubs.
Three dance bars in particular that are worth mentioning are Ancienne Belgique, Fuse, and Soho Club. Ancienne Belgique has two rooms where you can dance the night away. The first room mainly offers rock, indie music, and pop music. The other room is dedicated to disco music, which is perfect for singing along with all the classics. Secondly, Fuse might just be the most well-known dance bar in Brussels. This one is especially recommended if you are a fan of techno and dance music.
The club often invites international deejays and as a result, this place attracts the attention of both locals and tourists. Thirdly, Soho Club truly is the hottest dance bar in town. This club essentially combines a mix of groove, funk, and dance music. It is particularly popular because you can find an amazing dancefloor in the middle of the club. Also, every night this club comes out with the most mind-blowing light show ever so this positively is a huge perk.