One of the world's classic beer bars, Kulminator's beer list runs to over 400 beers including a lot of vintage beers, some as much as 20 years old. The five-year-old bottle of Gueuze de Neve I bought here was the most delicious beer I've ever tasted (and I've tasted quite a few). The one down-side is that the last couple of times I've visited, the place has been infested with clouds of irritating flying insects, so I'd suggest only visiting in the winter, when with luck they won't be there.
Vleminckveld 32, Antwerpen Tel: 03/232.45.38
A small bar popular with the locals, between the main shopping area and the market. The Oud Arsenaal specialises in Lambic and Trappist beers; it's probably your best bet in the city if you want to try the rare Westvleteren Abt (deservedly voted the world's greatest beer in 2005.) This is a very friendly bar, the couple who run it have amazing memories for faces; the first time I visited Antwerpen I spent an evening there, then when I came back six months later they recognised me at the Beer Passion Weekend and came over to say "hello". Guest beers change frequently and there are often special offers (I had a wonderful evening here drinking bottles of Hercule at only EUR2.20 each.) They also have a special beer, Arsenaaltje, brewed for them by the local De Koninck brewery. The only downside to the Oud Arsenaal is its opening hours. It closes early in the evening (about 7:30 or 8:00) but it's worth a visit while it's open.
Maria Pijpelincxstraat 4, Antwerpen Tel: 03/231.84.76
My favourite bar in Antwerpen, 't Waagstuk may not have the most extensive beer menu in the city, but what's on the menu never disappoints. There's always a good selection of Lambics and Trappist beers and a regularly changing guest beer on tap. Decent food too, with a reasonable selection suitable for vegetarians.
Stadswaag 20, Antwerpen, about 5 minutes' walk from Meir, the main shopping street. Telephone: 03/225.02.19 Website: www.proximedia.com/web/waagstuk.html
An average Belgian bar might have a couple of dozen beers available. A good Belgian bar might have a couple of hundred. The Delirium Cafe has over TWO THOUSAND beers available at any one time. Not only a terrific range of Belgian beers but also beers from over 60 other countries. The menu actually lists about 2500 beers, but they restrict their claimed selection to "over 2000" as not all are available 100% of the time, though I've never ordered anything they couldn't find. One thing to be aware of, the beer price goes up during live music gigs, which happen twice a week. It's in the maze of alleyways that make up the Ilot Sacre, so can be hard to find at first.
Impasse de la Fidélité, 4A, Brussels. About 100m from the Grand Place and not far from Brussels Central Station. Website: www.deliriumcafe.be/ Tel: 32/2.514.44.34
Beer Mania offers over 400 Belgian beers to sample on site, buy and drink at home, or order online. Open 11am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday. The owner, Nasser Eftekhairi, is usually there and is fount of knowledge on all things to do with Belgian beers.
174-176 Chaussée de Wavre, 1050 Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. www.beermania.be Tel: 00 32 2 512 17 88 Nearest metro, Trone or Porte de Namur
Another charming old boozer tucked away off the main drag, The Bear is celebrated for its curious collection of old school ties. Mind your head - in this historic building the ceiling is rather low.
6 Alfred Street, off the corner of St Aldates and High Street
The all-year-round beer garden is warmed by the sun in summer and by scented braziers in winter. Some great ales too, all in a creaking, cellar-like building straight from the middle ages.
4 Bath Place just off Holywell Road Tel: 01865 243235
Every city's got one; Shanghai has three. But this newly refurbished English pub currently has its Irish rivals beat on value at least. The Sheperd's Pie is great and they even have Cornish pasty (sometimes).
1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu (near Dong Ping Lu)
Cafe Popular and Cafe Tacuba are both intsitutions and deliver the authentic DF experience. Cafe Popular is great for good value breakfasts with tons of food and coffee. Can get very busy as it's (as the name suggests) very popular with the locals. Cafe de Tacuba is a bit more expensive but a real experience with waiting staff in pinnies and 50's style head-dresses. Very colourful decor and delicious food. I recommend the hot chocolate and sweet breads. Great to people watch, especially on a Sunday when clans of "chilangos" head out for food.
Cafe Popular - 5 de Mayo Street; Cafe de Tacuba - Tacuba Street nr Allende Metro.
It's the most fantastic classic Italian espresso bar, and the perfect place to spend an hour or so - whether for a coffee at its long sleek bar, or for a bowl of steaming home-made pasta round the kitchen table, cooked in front of you by Italian mammas. Everybody who is anybody goes there.
Bourke Street, Melbourne (nearest station: Parliament) Open Mon-Sat 8am-11.30pm, Sun 12 Noon-8pm Tel 03 9662 1885 No URL but a review can be found here www.miettas.com/Australia/Victoria/Melbourne/PellegriniS.html
A seedy but classy downstairs bar off Pariska off the Old Town Sqaure. The best cocktail menu I have ever seen, and odd fish sticks to go with it. You can just imagine the soviet spies sitting in the corner sipping vodka...
Translates as "At Little Glen's", owned by the guy who set up Bohemia Bagels and the Museum of Communism. Excellent jazz bar at Karmelitska 23 118 00 Prague 1 - Mala Strana, but get there early as it's tiny downstairs & fills up quickly. Highly recommend Rene Trossman on a wednesday night. Word of warning: don't get in the way of the waitress - she's a rottweiller!
Karmelitska 23 118 00 Prague 1 - Mala Strana; www.malyglen.cz/
In a sea of Irish and chain bars, it was refreshing to find this local pub/restuarant that brewed its own beer locally (in Brooklyn). There are three of these places in New York, one of them being in Union square. They have delightful beers tastin like orange, cinnamon, red fruit. They let you taste it before you buy it and i was told that they change the ingredients every month or so. They also do food and the portions were generous and the food delicious. The place has a lot of locals there especially people going there after work or pre-theatre. I enjoyed it immensely and thoroughly recommend it. The closest I have found in London has been the Bunker in Covent Garden and the Freedom bar off Carnaby street.
Free literary readings Sundays through Thursdays where some surprisingly famous names turning up for nothing but the drinks and atmosphere to read fiction, poetry or whatever takes their fancy. If that's not enough it is one of the coolest places on the planet and mixes a superb Martini any evening of the week. Honestly you'll be fine - go on risk the walk up the murky flight of stairs direct from the East Village Street.
85 E 4th St NYC; www.kgbbar.com/
Nice summer place in Brick Lane- good happy hour and the best outdoor drinking in London for that pre-clubbing vibe. Right around the corner from your pick of the best South Asian food this side of Bangalore.
Sleazy little bar with all the essentials: pool tables in the back, small dancefloor and a DJ on Monday nights packin the house. Friendly bar staff and interesting crowd - backpackers up the road ensures continuous variety ;)
Tucked down Spring Street, this little brasserie is a great place to rest your weary feet after a hard day's shopping in Soho. It's pricey and you may have to wrestle for a table or a space at the bar but the Bloody Mary's are worth it!
80 Spring Street, NY 10012 212 965-1785 www.newyorkmetro.com/frame/set.htm?site=http://balthazarny.com
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