Whisper the words “cocktail bar” and probably associations of classy, candlelit establishments, muted pianos and mojitos will come to mind. There are plenty of cool-kid places in the Saint-Géry area which will mix you a pretty decent cocktail, catering for the tastes of 20 and 30 somethings who flood this area, seeking beer and more. A few strides from all of these bars is Coaster. It has peeling brown walls, candles tilting precariously from rum bottles and an operating table light casting a dim glow over proceedings. You could say this is a cultivated neglected look, as if the squatters have moved in and the Bar Police haven’t the time or inclination to evict them. The clientele doesn’t mind about roug decor and approximate spirit measurements, which anyway still produce good results.
We are generally young, cradling glass shakers protectively as we huddle around copper- topped tables. Meanwhile, the pulsing 90s dance mix is discouraging us from lapsing into conversation (even on a Monday), and why would we want deep conversations anyway while the blackboard has a list of around 40 cocktails to peruse, a twitchy dancing barman, and the television in the corner, inexplicably showing an evening chat show with my least favourite person on French channels, Laurent Ruquier. Every day between 20:00 and 23:00 except the day of rest, Coaster offers the appealing prospect of two 10cl or 15cl shakers for the price of one - it’s Happy Hour seemingly for most of the time the bar is open, or at least the hours when you’re most likely to want to frequent it. Well, I exaggerate: I haven’t yet hung out here until 6am! But I have slunk into the office wearing my hangover in a secret smile. Like a proper self-respecting Belgian bar, Jupiler is on tap. And of course the cocktails (be they mojitos, jet sets or teddy bears) are generous and colourful. And definitely not wimpish.
Rue des riches Claires/ Rijke Klarenstraat 28,
Google map: bit.ly/KCw1bM
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