Tucked away on a side street behind Place Flagey you could easily walk past this wine seller and bar because from the outside it resembles a lock-up garage, whose shutters only rise Thursday to Saturday. Perhaps this is a ruse to deter noisy crowds in other bars nearby: I for one wouldn’t want to see this place lose its intimacy! A small group of people know to come on Friday and Saturday nights for ringside seats at concerts of gypsy music. “We never know quite who’s going to turn up; I don’t think even the Patron knows” says a double bassist cum guitarist. Most of the musicians are Hungarians who have been living in Belgium for many years, playing violin, guitar and cimbalom.
When he is not on tour, they are joined by whiskered virtuoso violinist Roby Lakatos , who keeps us all transfixed with his nimble bow work and finger plucking frenzy, while my poor tapping feet can barely keep up. In Lakatos’ hands the violin is variously a percussion instrument, a guitar and mandolin, and he weaves traditional gypsy tunes and then surprises us all with a variation of “La vie en rose”. A good selection of wines is available by the glass or bottle, and there are tapas and desserts so you won’t go hungry. You can be sure that everyone: staff, players, customers, folk dancer, will be having a good time.
If you’re too early for the concert soak up a beer – and witness Brussels’ Bohemian, alternative side at bar Le Murmure, no.18.
Open Thursday to Saturday from 17:00
14, rue du Belvédère/ Belvédèrestraat, 1050, Brussels
+32(0)2 640 56 10
Google map: bit.ly/H56Pox
* Bec is our Been there local for Brussels. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/brussels-local-rebecca.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/Becinbrussels
Aux Armes De Bruxelles is a long-established restaurant near the Grand Place with an excellent menu and good beer and wine list. The moules are to die for. I ate there every evening on my last trip.
La Quincaillerie (if you can pronounce it) is the place to go for upmarket Belgian dining in the atmospheric, bustling setting of an old ironmonger's store. It's a really memorable experience for visitors to Brussels and has fantastic seafood.
Thanks indeed to the Two Hairy Bikers for their suggestion to try this fantastic restaurant. The food was gorgeous and the staff were obviously selected for their efficiency as much as their looks. We dined like kings and yet the meal came to about 100 euros, a bargain. I'd love to go back and try the steak & chips and some more wonderful Belgian beer. Try it, you will not be disappointed.
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