Brussels’ night life is eclectic, dynamic and full of surprises. It has a pretty wide range of options, entertainments and prices, depending on your interests and budget. You can find almost anything you are interested in, if you know where to look.
If you just arrived and you feel overwhelmed by the options -or if you know your way around the city and you are looking for a new hint- here is a list of five bars you can check in the centre. The list is organized for prize and for genre: it goes from the cheapest and more relaxed to the most expensive and formal.
Hidden in a small street close to De Brouckère there is Le Corbeau, a picturesque brewery tavern in which you can taste a number of great Belgian beers, both around lunch time or in the evenings. It is one of the oldest brasseries in Brussels (open since 1874!) and it is perfect to recover from exhausting shopping marathons in the afternoon, or to party during the weekends. That’s right, on Fridays and Saturdays’ nights the tavern transforms itself, offering DJ sets and cocktails. The atmosphere is unexpectedly insane: from 11 pm on all the tables are gathered and the customers can dance on them, dancing off the stress of the week.
To be honest, Goupil le Fol is the ideal bar for a first date, especially in winter nights. The bar is very close to the Grand Place and it has a unique and cozy environment. The ground floor’s walls are covered in vinyls, postcards, books, photos and pictures; the light is soft and an old-fashioned jukebox plays any kind of music in the background (although a strong preference for French music can be easily detected); the ceiling is not very high, but together with all the other details, it contributes to the warm and intimate atmosphere. The specialty of the house is a very sweet and fruity wine, but some of the most famous beer brands are available as well.
If you are a fan of live music and may be interested in unusual artists or genres, Bonnefooi is what you should look for. Located close to Bourse and even closer to Ancienne Belgique, the small bar seems stuck between two buildings: the ground floor is big enough just to host the bar and the band, but on top of a narrow staircase the first floor is the true space where people gather. The floor is covered in armchairs, sofas and small tables and offers a full view on what’s going on below through the iron balcony. Bonnefooi has a rich agenda, and is the ideal for both cozy nights out with friends or for partying.
Are you a lover of jazz and cocktails? Say no more: L’Archiduc is here for you! The bar often offers live music and is usually oriented towards jazz and lounge music. It is a bit more sophisticated and expensive than the previous bars, but the reason is the great music, the cocktails and its elegant allure. The first floor consists in a semi-circular balcony, that allows a full view on the entrance and on the band playing. The second floor hosts a smoking room, sober and almost empty, but intimate and with a nice view on Brussels.
Last but not least comes La Pharmacie Anglaise. It is a Gin bar a bit further away from the others, but still pretty central: it is located on Mont des Arts, the museum area from which you can admire Brussels from above. It is specialized in Gin, and it offers a wide choice of that spirit, as well as the tonics to go with it. Nonetheless, La Pharmacie Anglaise has some incredible -and quite expensive- cocktails that are absolutely worth a try. The place is unusual and full of bizarre objects, from fossils to stuffed animals, that create a sort of “wunderkammer” effect that fascinates the customers.