The Complete Guide
The City of Brussels is the largest municipality and historical center of the Brussels-Capital Region and the de jure capital of Belgium. Besides the strict center, it also covers the immediate northern outskirts where it borders municipalities in Flanders. It is the administrative center of the European Union, thus often dubbed, along with the region, the EU’s capital city.
As the center of European culture and institutions, Brussels has much more to offer than most people just imagine. Apart from its well-known and famous chocolates and beers, there are almost 90 museums, beautiful parks, architectures, bars, restaurants and much more. In order to experience the mesmerizing sightseeing of Brussels, the best option would be during the day, so in the evening you can enjoy creative and atmospheric restaurants, bars and nightlife of the city. Brussels is safe and people are cultured so walking around is a real pleasure. Still, the best way to see Brussels attractions is the well-known Hop-on Hop-off Bus.
In this article we are going to explore the nightlife of Brussels City by exploring some of the exciting activities/places to enjoy its nightlife, bars, restaurants and nightclubs which will make your trip to the Brussels highly memorable.
The nightlife in Brussels is a bit relaxed and slightly quieter than other European cities but there are still some good places to go for booze and dancing or just chilling with friends around a table. Witness the cozy city of Brussels come alive as the evening sets in. If you are looking for an incredible night out with friends, then Brussels is definitely the place for you.
The best way to see Brussels attractions comfortably is the well known hop-on-hop-off bus(a guided city sightseeing tour). Also worth considering is the Brussels card, which features discounts for Brussels attractions, free entrance to museums and public transport passes. The Brussels nightlife is full of delights, you can have a planned market visit, go a pub hopping, head to some super-cool night club, enjoy a great concert, or simply go out with your loved ones for a great time and much more.
So, get ready to visit Brussels and indulge in the myriad after-hours entertainment activities in the city. We have rounded some of the best things to do at night in Brussels for you :
It’s really hard to resist the friendly, alternative vibe of this centrally-located quarter that provides a flavor of real city living with a highly reachability to all the main tourist attractions in Brussels. From inspired haute couture studios to vintage second-hand shops, specialist fish restaurants, cozy terraces or typical Belgian bars, you get it all here. And if you can’t bear to leave at the end of the day, Hotel Cafe Pacific puts you in the heart of the action by St Catherine’s Square, with hearty breakfasts in the cafe downstairs to boot. Make sure to visit this locality/neighborhood to enjoy the true nightlife of brussels.
Entering L’Archiduc will make you think twice about where you are going: ring a bell on the street and then enter through a steel bubble swing door. This spins you into another world, an art deco room with high ceilings, a half-moon balcony and piano in the middle. This unique night spot has long been famous for its jazz sessions where talented artists play from the world over and even Miles Davis joined in on one occasion. Today’s popular sessions are Saturday’s “Jazz After Shopping” and Sunday’s “Round About Five”.
Heading towards an originally Belgian initiative, the “Dinner in the Sky” folks have taken gourmet chefs and their guests to the clouds in over 40 countries by now. Still, returning to the Brussels firmament for a month every year remains a key priority for the organization boasting a surreal experience.Time and time again, some of the capital’s best chefs take to the stoves of open-air restaurants suspended by cranes, overlooking nine steel balls, a glorious 17th-century main square, and other major landmarks. The rollercoaster ride-style seats fill up fast, so getting your reservation as soon as possible is essential.
As elaborated in above para, if dinner in the Brussels skies has been made possible, what about dinner in Brussels waters? Though it is less accessible to the general public due to the requirement of diving license for the event, scuba enthusiasts recently got the opportunity to have an underwater rendezvous over lobster and champagne. The gourmet plunge to the spherical, futuristic-looking restaurant called “Pearl’ is about a five meters (16 feet) dip. Once inside, it is off with the scuba gear, and guests can choose to dine either in their swimming attire or even their most stylish outfits.
Le Sablon is Brussels’ antique shopping area and comes with its fair share of characterful eateries and bars. Stop by Le Perroquet, an Art Nouveau bar, and restaurant that serves up a long list of quick and tasty pitta bread filled with all kind of ingredients. There is a small flea market with amazing antiques next to the church thereevery Saturday and Sunday morning. And if you are wondering what to do in Brussels on a weekend, there is no better answer than popping into the many chocolate shops in the area for a free taste!
If you want to get the most from your visit to Brussels then eating some hot and delicious Belgian fries should definitely be on your list of things to do. Place Flagey is also a great place for potato snacks, with numerous vendors and a bewildering choice of sauces but Frit Flagey is often considered to be home to the best fries in Brussels. Belgian fries are fried twice in animal fat (apologies to any vegetarians), which makes them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Weather permitting; devour your fries Belgian-style in the street or at the side of the lakes across from the square.
The Brussels social scene and nightlife is appropriately filled with venues to enjoy a drink outdoors during the weeknights. This special attraction towards the outdoors lead to Brussels events such as street drinks, al fresco dining and partying in the middle of traffic islands. There are spots all over the city where you can enjoy a beer, a glass of wine and some nibbles – affectionately called ‘apéro’ in French – before a meal. In many cases, the apéro fills you up with beer so you don’t eat too much! For weekday visitors, come along to one of these gatherings to feel the true Brussels cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Chilling out at a bar or lounge space with cocktails and beers are more of the style of Belgians’, who are laid back and enjoy talking and people watching. The next few suggestions are just some of the best bars that are frequented by people who prefer a chilled out evening over there :
It is indeed one of unique concept bar that has taken the imagination of Brussels people and foreigners working here alike. The Flat is a recreation of a traditional apartment with living room, bathroom, etc and some of the popular drinks are sold at ‘market price’ meaning depending on demand the price of the drink will go up or down during the evening.
Tables to cater for groups and very loud music! The PP Café is situated on 28 rue Jules van Praetstraat. It doesnot have comfortable couches but it is still a trendy Belgian style bar that has live concerts and live DJs every few nights. They have a large range of beers and cocktails. Happy hour is between 7 pm and 9 pm every day, so what are you waiting for . . . .
The ultimate Brussels craft-beer bar looks out over the tranquil Place Fontainas, a couple of minutes from the crowds surrounding the MannekenPis Statue. Moeder’s laid-back atmosphere resembles a friendly neighborhood boozer but the clientele is here for the unparalleled selection of artisan ales. Apart from more than 100 different bottles on the beer list, there are nearly 50 taps to choose from, with every local Brussels brewer represented. The bar staff is especially helpful explaining the delicate differences between Belgium’s Gueuze and Lambic: actually the same beers, with the flat, cloudy Lambic aged in barrels before bottling, while a second fermentation adds bubbles transforming it into the more sourGueuze.
If you want to try something a little more exotic than the usual Pure Bar, located near the Grand Place, has shishas (water pipes) and, for the adventurous, oxygen. This bar has cushions for you to sit on and platforms to lie down to have a good relaxing drink and chat with friends.
Oft-mentioned in guide books as the venue with the world’s largest selection of commercially available beers, a certain kind of local will scoff at the mention of Délirium Café and their 3,000 brews. Admittedly, you will find tourists here by the dozens if not hundreds – it is a large yet homey three-floor space offering a sea of Belgian beer, after all. What you will also find if you manage not to be put off by the cool kids, however, is a ton of like-minded beer lovers. And what is not to love about spending the evening with a new international friend, swapping recommendations, and sampling obscure regional brews you never knew existed?
Don’t fall into a tourist trap when looking for the best beer in Brussels: Moeder Lambic is your bar. Ask the waiters for help if you don’t know what to order as they do a great job making recommendations. They have Belgian as well as international beers to go with the food they serve, including quiches, bread with numerous lovely toppings, cheeses, salads and more. There are two MoederLambics in Brussels, one on Place Fontainas and the original on Rue de Savoie (open until 3 am every day), so check out both if you are thirsty!
Café Merlo is one of the best examples of a typical Flemish café-bar in the city, which is actually a rare find in Brussels. On cold days, snuggle up inside by the long wooden bar, on warm days relax outside on their lovely terrace. Order a ‘Belgo’ from the tap and try to come on a Tuesday evening to catch one of the great live gigs here.
This splendid, ornate bar called ‘Sudden Death’ is always busy. Opened in 1928, it got its peculiar name after a game of dice that the regulars played in a previous bar. It is still in the same family with the fourth generation Vossens serving beers from Trappist offerings to the splendid Gueuze and Lambic beers. But you really should go for the Lambic White Mort Subite at least once. After a few beers, you will really appreciate the dramatic and theatrical songs of one of the regulars of the past, the Belgian singer and actor, Jacques Brel, and you might even start singing.
There are several areas in Brussels where the food is being offered with a good mix of different types of cuisine and a good atmosphere. Belgians and visitors alike would love to dine out on the footpath or in gardens at the back of some establishments. Tables and chairs are usually carried straight out of the restaurant and onto the street if it is a particularly wonderful summer evening (June to August).
Excellence dining is one of the pleasures of Brussels, but you need to know where to eat otherwise you will fall into tourist traps. Just because a place is crowded doesnot mean the food and beverages are good. Want to know where the locals go to be treated with first class service and fair price for a quality and healthy food, have a brief look at our recommendations:
Their menu caters well to vegetarians as well as carnivores. Café Novo’s falafels are favorite summer dish when carbonnade is just too heavy. The restaurant is close to Grand Place, so it is obviously a tourist-friendly, but it is out of the way enough to still be a little secret. They also serve up traditional dishes like Stoemp, Boulettes, and Filet Americain. Beyond the typically Belgian dishes, there are plenty of surprises, like Kangaroo Steaks and Moroccan Tajines.
It is a tradition Belgian Restaurant, Jef’s menu is a well prepared, short, seasonal and much creative. One of their specialties is Goat Cheese salad which looks unassuming when it served at your table having awesome flavors. Their main courses are hearty, homey, and served on vintage flora plates, giving the feeling of Sunday lunch at Grandma’s place . . .
Le Corbeau is well known for its typical Belgian pub decoration: wooden walls, wooden tables, wooden chairs. Basically everything is in wood! If you want to eat well with a limited budget, this might be the place for you to go! Also, after 10PM, the restaurant transforms itself into a nightclub! Which surely is an exciting thing and wouldn’t have to leave the place if you just to enjoy dancing on some good music.
Whenever we recommend the best fish & chips in Brussels, we confidently endorse people to Bia Mara. The fish is sustainably sourced, the restaurant is near Grand Place, it has a modern, lively interior, and, best of all, it is simply delicious. Did we mentioned is it affordable too? The only downside is, it is so popular there is often a lineup. Go early and when you arenot in a rush. It is worth the wait. Trust us.
There is a reason for this to be included in our recommendations for restaurants in Brussels list. If you want a real taste of “Quirky’ Belgium”, then “L’Idiot du Village” is not to be missed. While the décor is funky (with just a touch of odd), the food is just straight up delicious. In fact, you will love this place so much after your visit there. Their duck and game dishes are heavenly, and they have a way with scallops. If you are adventurous, order whatever the special of the day is, as it is bound to be seasonal and wonderful. L’Idiot isnot opened on weekends, and it books up quickly, so reservations are essential to avoid the hassle.
If you love all things fungus, Café des Spores is your mushroom restaurant in Brussels (ok, maybe the world). Owned by the folks who own La Buvette, everything on the menu features mushrooms – and that includes a cheese course and dessert too for the satisfaction of your mushroom related food craving. The menu has now a little changed, but the creations cooked up in the open kitchen are all delightful. Request a seat on the upper level, and you can watch your dinner being cooked below, and that would be really an awesome experience. The only reason not to visit this innovative restaurant is if you are allergic to mushrooms, in which case, we are very sorry for you. . . .
La Mamma is located in an unassuming vine-covered building in St. Josse. But don’t let appearances fool you. This is by far, one of the most authentic and best Italian restaurants in Brussels. In addition to a terrific Italian wine and grappa list, La Mamma features traditional Italian pasta and meat dishes. Many of their ingredients are imported from Italy, and there are always seasonal menu selections. The portions are hearty too and you will never quite make it to the scrumptious looking desserts.The atmosphere is so cozy; you almost forget you are on the bustling Place St. Josse. With Italian being spoken in the kitchen and a heaping plate of Italy on the table before you, you are transported to la dolce vita.
Belga is the perfect café to blend in with both expats and locals, as everyone in Brussels knows this place. Open all day, you can go for breakfast, brunch or lunch, coffee in the late afternoon, an aperitif before dinner or a drink late at night. Located at Place Flagey (a melting pot of all cultures and classes), this big, busy bar has good music and a jovial atmosphere. It can get crowded but you can always lose yourself in the views: look over the nearby lakes from Belga’s big windows or its terrace. It is a little way from the city center but absolutely worth visiting if you want to go beyond the usual Brussels sightseeing and experience real local life.
To meet other nightlife-loving people and visit places with a well-connected guide, you can join the Brussels pub crawl / night clubs. It is a strongly recommended option for the people who have it harder to jump into the crowd. You will get free entrance to the venues and free shots too, but most importantly you won’t feel lost and alone in this busy city.The best night clubs in Brussels are scattered all over the city rather than on a central strip or a specific and dedicated area. Clubbers normally choose one or two for the evening and stay there to dance the night away. The party starts around midnight and go into the early hours of the morning. There are no maximum opening hours or alcohol sale restrictions.
Head to some lively pub and enjoy live music ranging from techno music to soulful jazz. Taste delicious Belgian beer and dance your heart away all night. Look out for L’Archiduc, a popular jazz club, which is admired for its jazz sessions. The Fuse is a trendy hangout and known for its techno music.
Following are some of the best night club options at Brussels where you can enjoy a great night out:
The coolest bar in all of Belgium, this classic near the Bourse has to be seen to be believed. Ring a bell on the street and you enter a steel bubble swing door like entering a Bank. This spins you out into an art deco room with high ceilings, half-moon balcony, pillars to the roof, a piano in the middle and tiny corner bar.
Your fellow drinkers are architects, intellectuals and artistic beauties and the bar staff knows their music as well as their martinis. Anything from trip-hop to country plays until late and you only get your bill when you leave. Famous for jazz sessions too, the owner might tell you about the times Miles Davis used to come in and jam.
Located in the middle of an ancient forest! But still, not too far from the city center, this is a large barn-like building to the south of the city. The music is modern hip-hop and pop remixes and there is also a huge space dedicated to dancing and lounging too.
Situated at Madou metro. On a normal Friday or Saturday night, this trendy club plays an awesome selection of pop, house and dance music but at least once a month, themed parties are also hosted over there. Some of the amenities that make this club are a stage, revolving dance floor, balcony, salon bar and a really nice dressing room for the ladies which ranked this venue different from others.
This is a truly fashionable nightclub for young people located in the center near the Grand Place at 18 rue Duquesnoy. This night club has even more theme nights than the Mirano and good, loud music from top DJs in Brussels. So, hurry up and dress to impress to get into this trendy number.
Fuse is the Belgian techno club to beat. Over the course of more than 20 years, the Marolles institution has built a reputation for steady excellence, easily attracting the biggest and renowned DJs and the most dedicated melomaniacs to Brussels’s old working man’s quarter. Once per month, there is La Démence, a huge, mostly shirtless gay party that is been part of the ride since the beginning.
Madame Moustache is something of a local’s favorite place to go out in Brussels as they have a really broad selection of music and it is free on weekdays. The waiters have been known to wear sailor outfits, there is old-school music hall decor and themed nights from swing dancing to electro to disco and funk. They sometimes have live music, so check their monthly programto see what is in store. If dancing is not your thing there is a smoking room and table football as well.
Before Bloody Louis arrived, the spacious Louise Gallery in the heart of Brussels went through lots of different incarnations, none of which proved too intriguing – or lasting. Tarantino-inspired with a young, casual clientele and pink neon lights, the fresh-faced Bloody Louis has taken a different route in its three-year existence. “We don’t sleep, we dream” its motto goes, and with some fantastic musical nights led by Martin Solveig, Snakehips, Diplo, Major Lazer and Drake on its resumé, that seems entirely plausible.
Some think it is wonderful, while others consider it the pinnacle of gaudiness – whatever the case, an opinion is to be had about Spirito’s lush conversion of an old church into a crystal-and-gold temple of the night. Sumptuous as can be, you will need the right kind of outfit to get in – the more glitter, the better. Once on their mammoth of a dance floor, sweeping dance beats and champagne are king and queen.
Conveniently located beside Petit Sablon, Les PetitsOignons is one of the best and enjoyable restaurants in Brussels serving traditional Belgian dishes in a fine-dining setting. The menu is extensive and features classic Belgian cuisine like vol-au-vent and steak frites. The set menus feature international cuisine with additions like risotto and octopus salad. The starters are excellent, and we surely can highly recommend the perfectly crispy grey shrimp croquettes and rich and delicious goose foie gras.
Let us conclude the topic, here we had a brief introduction of The City of Brussels along with elaborating some of its prominent norms, culture and nightlife activities. We also went through different activities, and options available there to enjoy the nightlife of the City, Musical venues, Bars, Restaurants and Nightclubs as well. Such activities provide a great source of entertainment for tourists and locals.
As already elaborated the city has a very unique and exclusive cultural background, and the nightlife activities are fairly scattered all over the city rather than on a central strip or a specific and dedicated area. In that area, City’s best bars are located and satisfying the desire of thirsty visitors where you can experience the best booze with the mesmerizing architectural beauty of state of the art bars and their decors.
You don’t feel any hunger during your trip to Brussels that is why we also suggested some of the finest restaurants in the city that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite cocktails. You will truly enjoy the taste of good food along with some great drinks.
And lastly, we went through comprehensive options of Nightclubs that offers great music with some delightfully exotic choices for drinks and cocktail that will polish your overall experience of a great night out.
All of the aforementioned options/experiences will work together to make your journeyindeedremarkable. A perfect and balanced blend of the above-identified activities can truly boost your experience and make your trip exceptionally unforgettable for you.