In the hometown of over four hundred local beers, the amount of quality pubs and clubs is bound to speak for itself and it does. In fact the pubs, for many, are a large part of the city’s appeal. From the classier types of drinking holes of Le Grande Place, to the arty hangouts around St. Gilles to the dingy and the smoky bars which are hidden down dark alleyways in the Marolles, there should be something to suit everyone’s drinking requirements.
And, for those of you with any energy left after checking out the various pubs, head to the Lower Town part of the city where you will find the best of Brussels’ nightclubs. The good news is that most places are free before midnight but the reality is that nobody starts to go in until about 2.00am. Admission in most places is not all that expensive anyway, usually under 500BEF but you do need to tip the bouncer a nominal fee of about 20BEF. So, you don’t need to be in any hurry, particularly as most venues stay open until after sunrise, and the pubs are usually much more impressive than the clubs in the city.
The majority of clubs are open from Thursday to Sunday but for an up to the minute guide about what’s happening on the pub and club scene you should try to get your hands on a copy of The Bulletin which is out every Wednesday. For live events and concerts you should go to FNAC on Rue Neuve or to the main tourist office on Le Grande Place.
Finally, if neither of the above sound like what you’re looking for during your stay you also have an extensive variety of theatres to choose from including the infinitely popular puppet theatre. Or, you could check out one of the café cabarets or dinner shows but do bear in mind that this variety of entertainment can be pretty expensive.
Impasse de la Fidélité 4A, Brussels, Belgium
With over 2,000 types of beer to choose from (yes, 2,000), Déleirum offers one of the biggest selections of beer in the city. Even though it's found down a basement in a building tucked down an alley, throngs of backpackers and locals visit this bar regularly. Thursday nights are particularly busy due to live music.
Open daily from 10am-4am.
1 Place de la Bourse, Brussels, Belgium
All you well travelled backpackers know that if you are looking for a fun night out, an Irish pub almost always guarantees exactly that. And O’Reilly’s, one of the largest in the city, attracts both locals and visitors from all over to sample the traditional food and drink that the Irish are so well known for. Apparently, the Guinness even tastes good and that’s saying something.
10 Rue des Harengs, Brussels, Belgium
This place can well and truly be classified as one of the weirder pubs in the city. When you walk in you are serenaded by funeral music and seated at coffin lids which double as tables. Draped with black velvet and decorated with skulls and the like, Le Cerceuil is certainly an experience worth checking out even once. And, with prices as high as they are, it may well only be once.
49 Rue de la Fourche, Brussels, Belgium
Absolutely packed at the weekends, this oldies club plays tunes from the sixties, seventies, and eighties, making it an extremely popular choice for the true disco fans among you.
68 Rue de Savoie, Brussels, Belgium
If you’re looking for something a little more typically Belgian than the above, this little hideaway is just the thing. Serving between 800 and 1,000 different types of beer, all you have to do is decide which one you think would best suit your particular drinking requirements. And, that’s much easier said than done.
7 Rue des Chartreux, Brussels, Belgium
This is one of the classic establishments in the city, a chess café which you would be inclined to believe has not changed over the past century. Dingy and smoky and a type of pub which is rapidly becoming rare in a capital city, a visit to this place is like stepping into a time warp – but a good one.
14 Rue Berckmans, Brussels, Belgium
If you’re looking for somewhere to chill out after a hard day seeing the sights, then this little piece of Latin America is exactly where you should go. Exotic and relaxing serving a large variety of Brazilian cocktails and Cuban rums as well as several local beers, it is an extremely popular venue with the youth of the city be they visitors or full time residents.
28 Rue de la Tulip, Brussels, Belgium
Jazz is becoming increasingly popular in cities right throughout Europe, and Brussels is certainly no exception. For one of the top clubs in the city, you should head to Sounds which has live jazz up to five nights per week. And, as if that wasn’t enough it also has tango and salsa sessions at least once a fortnight making it an excellent venue for a night out.
77 Rue Elise, Brussels, Belgium
If you’re looking for a place where the youth of the city hang out, then L’Atelier is certainly the place you need to look for. One of the more popular university bars with live music on occasion and over two hundred different types of reasonably priced beers, this is a good place for those of you who are beginning to become just a little cost conscious but still looking for a good night out.
6 Place de la Chapelle, Brussels, Belgium
This is a relatively new addition to the club scene in the city and is built in several underground rooms which used to serve as cellars. The layout is actually what makes it so impressive as you can walk through all the different rooms and hear different types of music in each one. Drinks are reasonably priced and there is no cover charge between 10.00pm and 11.00pm. It is worth noting, however, that this particular club only opens on Fridays.
208 Rue Blaes, Brussels, Belgium
Now one of the top techno discos in Brussels, Fuse was once actually a Spanish disco. The transformation, however, has proved extremely popular and if you’re spending a Saturday or Sunday night in the city you should stop in. It is also worth noting that one Sunday per month Fuse gives itself over to La Démence, which is the biggest gay party in the city and provides some pretty memorable experiences.