Festive, trendy, eccentric and definitely enthusiastic, Brussels’ nightlife is an oasis of every source of enjoyment. Whether you’re looking for a good barrel of beer or record decks playing electro, a lounge sofa or Latino rhythms, you can move quickly from one atmosphere to the next, each as sociable as they are exciting. Go to the Sablon, for example, for a very “stylish” evening. To the upper part of the city to enjoy cost and loungestyle settings. To the area around the Grande-Place to delve into the mysterious secrets of Belgian beer or around Halles Saint-Gery to take the pulse of the trendy lifestyle of the young “bruxellois”. If it were up to you, sometimes you’d prefer the sun not to rise in Brussels, as the “bruxellois” say.
In addition to the incomparable beauty of its architecture, the historic centre of Brussels has, over the years, become an unrivalled landmark for night-time revellers. For its tourist appeal, obviously, but also for its great places to go, whether traditionally local, gay or ‘in’, and sometimes even all three at once. The neighbouring streets around the Grand-Place also have a number of good places where you can eat late, a big advantage when you’ve been bouncing around to some wild bass rhythms all evening or when you’ve tried out all the special beers served by the local brasseries.
Goupil le Fol Bar (French music) rue de la Violette -22 We love Goupil! For it’s dimly-lit labyrinth layout with weird décor, for its juke box that plays Piaf, Brel or Ferre non-stop until the wee small hours, for its insomniac, chocolate dispensing owner, for its fruity wines and, well, and for its good old cost couches the you can sink into slowly. Open every day from 8pm till very late.
L'Homo Erectus Bar (Disco/Hits) (Gay) rue des Pierres - 57 A little bar that's everything a trendy gay haunt should be, including glitter ball and ubiquitous music. They serve afternoon tea from 3pm. Open every day from 3pm Montecristo Nightclub (salsa) rue Henri Maus - 25 The ground floor of the lounge is a tropical haven, a blend of salsa, Cuban cigars, exotic cocktails and a few 'bad boys'. The ambience there is cometime hot, sometimes a bit too hot… better to go in good time. But the place is still a must in the area. Duquesnoy Bar (Gay) rue Duquesnoy - 12 At the Dug, uniform is no laughing matter. There's a strict ban on wearing suit and tie. Jeans, leather, latex and uniforms on the other hand, are highly recommended. Don't forget your coloured handherchiefs to signal your preferences. Not for 'wimpy' gays. Open Monday to Saturday from 9pm. Sunday from 3pm.
Music Village Bar (Jazz) rue des Pierres - 50 In a 17th-century house, you'll find all the charm of New York jazz bars with a succession of crooner and big bands every evening. The programme is high quality and the biggest names in jazz have set foot on this stage, which has become in the genre. If your pocket tells you this isn't for you, no more excuses because they've just introduced a student deal: €7.50. Open from 8.30pm.
Saint-Gery / Dansaert The territory of every good socialiser is still the inexhaustible Quatier Saint-Gery. The birthplace of the new trends observed in Quartier Dansaert, well-known for its fashion boutiques and designers, it’s the landmark for all the bars and terraces for meeting people. Here, you go from one place to the next in an instant, and abandon yourself very quickly to the most varied kinds of music (electro, house, latino, drum n bass). The very popular terraces are also wonderful platforms for seeing and being seen. In this district, you find a few good places to eat at night, mainly Asian and often very affordable.
L'Archiduc Bar (Jazz / Electro) rue A. Dansaert - 6 The hazy charm of the Archiduc always works. Its thirties décor has something to do with it, of course, as do its armchairs and round balcony. Concerts are often held there around the famous grand piano, which occupies pride of place in the middle of it. Also to be enjoyed at the end of the evening, when you come across a damous singer or two. Open every day from 5pm until late.
Bizon Bar (Blues / Rock) rue du Pont de la Carpe - 7 Nice little bar where jam sessions, blues and special vodkas come together year round. Don’t miss the Bizon blood and other stimulating vodkas. Open every day from 6pm.
Café Central Bar (House / Funk / Electro) rue Borgval - 14 — 16 Although not so central as other Les Halles venues, this café is well worth a “quick” detour in itself. There’s sure to be a lively and trendy ambience there all year round thanks to the mini-concerts, themed film screenings and wicked DJ sets (all free). However packed it is in the central space, that’s never stopped the smoot-talkers and flirts from swaying their hips to a good track or two, as varied as they are numerous. Open every evening.
Coaster Cocktail bar (House / Hits) rue des Riches Claires - 28 Its true, the place isn’t big, but its reputation for late-night partying is well established. Two solutions, both good ones 1. Arrive early and make the most of the flexible happy hours starting at 8pm. 2. Arrive after midnight when heads are already spinning a little and bodies jam-packed. Either way, they always end up dancing on the tables. Open from 8pm.
Well-known for its labyrinth of gourmet establishments (look for the restaurants bearing the City hallmark), the Ilot sacre is still a pleasant place for a night-time stroll. The maze of restaurants hides a few gems, some of which are internationally-famous bars. There you can taste some truely special beers and dance to specialist DJ sets, swaying between drum n bass, reggae or house. It’s up to you now to follow the right tip.
Dali’s bar Bar (Electro / Downtempto / Drum ‘n’ bass) petite rue des Bouchers - 35 At the end of a strange blue corridor, one of the oldest electro bars in the city emerges into view. In this inecitaly surrealist place, you sink into lip-shaped sofas whilst admiring the canvasses of the Master himself (fakes, we’re assured) and sipping one of the explosive cocktails — the blue or the red ones, it’s a matter of taste. And then, there’s the music, which will always reign supreme here, whether it’s on the main floor or in the basement; there's hardly an evening without people jumping around. Drum n bass, house, reggae, down tempo… Come and see. Open every day from 10pm ‘til late.
Delirium café Bar (Blues / Rock) Impasse de la Fidelite - 4a Officially, 2004 beers, but actually 2500 depending on the season, that’s the credo of this cul-de-sac bar, which is home to the sister of the famous Manneken-Pis. At the Delirium, conversation naturally revolves around beer, some flambéed, others with a greenish colour or else served in 4-litre glasses that certainly quench your thirst. You can also taste no fewer than 500 Dutch gins and delicious pure malt whiskies here. All things considered, a nice place and very flexible opening hours. Open until 4am (Sunday until 1am).
A district for passing through and shopping during the daytime, situated between the city centre and rue Neuve, here, in the main, you track down good places to go at night around the Monnaie building. Rue de l’Ecuyer and rue Fosse aux Loups are good nighttime landmarks in this respect.
Saint-Jacques area They don’t compare it to the “Parisian Marais” for nothing. Artists and craftsmen, decorators, florists with amazing creations, and collectors of objects as eccentric and ill-assorted as they are unusual have passed the word around to create a district in which there’s an eternal holiday feeling in the air. It’s the ideal place for strolling around, discovering a comic strip mural and savouring a drink on one of the charming terraces on Place de la Vielle Halle aux Bles or in the shadow of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Bon Secours. This is the heart of Brussels’ life where Latino nightclubs, crazy drag queens, gay bobos and electro rhythms weave a wonderful tapestry of life. Oh Sain-Jacques, if only you knew….
Les Marolles is teeming with little places to seek out. Although its more an area for hunting out good restaurants, theres no shortage of places to be at night there either. Even if its only that temple of techno, le Fuse. At around 6 in the morning, the flea market starts. And that could well be around the time you’ll be finishing your “pub crawl”.
Luxury, pleasure and show: those would be the most appropriate words to describe this charming district of the antiques dealers and delicacies. Apart from the very popular café terraces on the square, there’s a large number of lower-profile but much more fascinating little places.
Avenue de la Toison d’Or has its own set of night-time diversions to offer. There’s a string of cinemas, bars and discotheques right in the middle of the smart establishments of this well-known district. The pedestrianised rues Stas and Jourdan are also pleasant landmarks for modern socialites.
Well-known for its lounge and trendy places, this district is continually growing. There are plenty of geat chic or romantic places here. From the bar with chill-out rhythms to the fashionable restaurant, don’t worry, you’ll get in.
After the City Centre, this is surely the liveliest area in Brussels. As is obligatory for a university district, a myriad of student bars stand side by side around it, with the Pils often flowing at a more than reasonable rate here. This is where you’ll get a snack at rather unconventional hours. A little farther along is Saint-Boniface area with its trendier places a a few good restaurants. Not far from there is the Matonge district and its famous African establishments. This is the place to come in good weather.
This is not, strictly speaking, a night-life district. But you’ll find a few temples to the night scattered about and bars with very special concepts.
European area Its true that the place is usually livelier during the day but the European district is far from boring after work either. On the one had, because cosmopolitan European horde is finally free to let their hair down and, on the other, because places full of very pronounced geographical accents are legion here. Cheers, salud, chin-chin, salute, proost!