Home Lifestyle Food & Drink The best bars in Brussels for a taste of Belgian culture
Last update on October 19, 2020
Sophie Pettit Written by Sophie Pettit

From cozy beer taverns to eccentric cocktail joints, we explore the best bars in Brussels that offer a unique glimpse into local Belgian culture.

Bar life is an ingrained part of Belgian culture, so it comes as no surprise that the nation’s capital is brimming with fun options for a night out. From traditional beer bars to quirky cocktail venues, and everything in between, there are plenty of places to experience a slice of local life over a pint of witbier or a mojito. Just check out these popular joints which offer a taste of Belgian culture at its finest.

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A la Mort Subite

For a slice of authentic old Brussels life, this cavernous and lively bar certainly doesn’t lack atmosphere. With its long rows of wooden tables, shabby chic yellow pillars, and very own Mannekin Pis, A la Mort Subite is the perfect spot to sip on a Kriek lambic and catch up with friends. The family-run bar is a treasure trove for Gueuze and Lambic beer aficionados and boasts a wide selection of draught and bottled beers. These include abbey beers, Trappists, local and imported varieties, and, of course, Mort Subite. A simple menu of tasty bites is also available, featuring sandwiches, omelets, salads, and sweet and savory delicacies.

A la Mort Subite

A la Mort Subite, Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères 7

Le Bier Circus

As the name implies, this basic emporium of beer stocks a couple of hundred varieties from large and small breweries. Whether you’re a hop expert or not, you will likely be impressed by the extensive selection of unusual brews on offer; each of which come in their own ad-hoc glass. The cozy tasting corner provides the perfect spot to savor the various brews on offer. You can also delve into a home-cooked meal with a hint of beer. The beer ‘n beef stew with Westmalle Trappist beer and spaghetti bolognese cooked with Chimay pair particularly well with a pint of Noisy Pale Ale. 

Le Bier Circus

Le Bier Circus, Rue de l’Enseignement 57

Moeder Lambic Fontaines

Often considered one of the best beer bars in the world, this friendly neighborhood haunt boasts more than 100 bottles of beer and 50 on tap. The friendly bar staff is always on hand to help you whittle down the options and recommend what to choose. The lovely terrace overlooking the tranquil Place Fontainas is a bustling spot come summertime. Meanwhile, those seeking a more local vibe tend to head to the bar’s lesser-known sister, Moeder Lambic Original. Nestled behind the Saint Gillie town hall, this is the ideal spot to sip on Belgian beer with the regulars.

Moeder Lambic Fontaines

Moeder Lambic Original, Rue de Savoie 68, 1060 Saint-Gilles

Monk Bar

With its large selection of beers and cocktails and regular live music nights, Monk is a popular spot among those seeking a lively night out in Brussels. In fact, the bar has become somewhat of a landmark in the artsy Sainte-Catherine area. Despite being spacious, the venue maintains an intimate feel. This makes it the ideal place to catch up with friends over a cold Belgian beer and some hearty spaghetti; there are four flavors on offer. If you’re looking for a more buzzing vibe, though, swing by during a screening of a football match where the locals gather late into the night.

Monk Bar

Monk Bar, Rue Sainte-Catherine 42

La Porte Noire

If you love whiskey, then this atmospheric 16th-century vaulted cellar is the perfect bar for you. There are around 70 varieties on offer at La Porte Noire, making it a popular choice among hip young locals and foreigners, alike. Besides its impressive whiskey stash, the bar stocks around 20 rums and 120 Belgian craft beers, including 12 on tap. Its busy schedule of live music performances and special events also make it a go-to bar for a big night out in Brussels. The vaulted cellar was previously the kitchens of the Celtic Alexian convent. Today, the bar honors the Celtic spirit by hosting all the Celtic festivals throughout the year. Needless to say, it’s the place to be on Saint Patrick’s Day!

La Porte Noire

La Porte Noire, Rue des Alexiens 67

Le Fleur en Papier Doré

Perched on a steep hill near Sablon, this atmospheric old bar was once a popular hangout for the world-famous Surrealist René Magritte and his peers. Today, the venue pays homage to the Brussels-born artists by displaying scribbles, drawings, collages, and memorable expressions across its smoke-stained walls. With its dim lighting and old mismatched furniture, the quirky joint conjures the feeling of stepping back in time. The menu features a wide variety of Belgian beers and various wines, spirits, and classic cocktails. There are also some tempting hearty Belgian dishes on offer including stoemp, Brussels beef stew, and meatballs in tomato sauce.

Le Fleur en Papier Doré

Le Fleur en Papier Doré, Rue des Alexiens 55

Life is Beautiful

Cocktail lovers will be in paradise at this elegant little bar in downtown Brussels. The small but cozy venue offers an intimate yet unpretentious setting in which to gather with friends. You will have plenty of fun watching the mixologists whip up dazzling concoctions using various spirits, liquors, spices, bitters, and syrups; most of which are homemade. With an ever-changing menu, there are always adventurous new flavor combinations to try. The cocktails often incorporate surprising ingredients such as black walnut bitter and horseradish infused Quinoa Vodka. And if you want to delve even further into the world of mixology, you can book a cocktail masterclass or a tasting at the venue.

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful, Rue Antoine Dansaert 161

La Pharmacie Anglais

Nestled inside an old rustic pharmacy just north of Sablon, La Pharmacie Anglais is undoubtedly one of the most unique bars in Brussels. What makes it so special, aside from the fact that you have to first ring the doorbell and be greeted by a flamboyantly dressed host, is the extravagant interior. Decked out with cabinets full of curious objects, shelves of old medicine bottles, and walls of forest foliage, the venue oozes an eccentric, other-worldly vibe; made all the more dramatic by the dim lighting. Once seated in a comfortable armchair, you can enjoy a selection of classic drinks and imaginative cocktails. Better still, you can create your own concoction by telling the bar staff your preferences. Just make sure you reserve ahead of time as this popular little gem fills up fast on most evenings.

La Pharmacie Anglais

La Pharmacie Anglais, Coudenberg 66

Delirium Café

There are more than 2,000 international beers on offer at Delirium Café. In fact, the venue broke the Guinness World Record in 2004 for having the largest selection of brews. Beer lovers can also try unusual flavored beers such as chocolate, banana, coconut, and strawberry. The popular venue is essentially a treasure trove of brewery memorabilia and souvenirs, featuring old advertisements, trays, and glasses plastered across its walls. Needless to say, this is one of the best bars in Brussels for beer monsters looking for a fun night out. For extra kicks, make sure to swing by during the weekly jam sessions or live gigs.

Delirium Café

Delirium Café, Impasse de la Fidélité 4

Rock Classic Bar

With its arched brickwork corridor, retro pinball machines, and live gigs three nights a week, Rock Classic Bar is undoubtedly one of the best bars in Brussels to enjoy a rocking night out. The subtly-lit bar oozes a cool ambiance that draws crowds of rock music lovers each week. The extensive cocktail, beer, and shot menus offer plenty of variety too. Combine that with a jam-packed lineup of tribute bands playing everything from Nirvana and Oasis to U2 and Joy Division and you’re guaranteed to have a night to remember in Belgium’s vibrant capital.

Rock Classic Bar

Rock Classic Bar, Rue du Marché au Charbon 55