10 things to do in Brussels concept bars

05 febbraio 2023
Le New Chattouille - cat bar

Imagine a city without bars, that would just be… unlivable! Fortunately, in Brussels, you’re spoilt for choice!

Here we have bars aplenty with landlords and waiters who’ll gladly help you pick your poison. Whether you're tele-working, bar-hopping, enjoying a cosy catch up or all-out, exuberant partying: in Brussels you'll find the right place for every occasion! 

But there's more… Bars that combine a drinks menu with a totally different activity are popping up like mushrooms. 

Do you wish to impress your brand-new crush, publish kick-ass snapshots on Instagram, or treat your friends to an original bar experience?  

Then go for these quirky concept bars and put the following activities on your to-do list!

Throw an axe

Just an axe throw from the Grand Place is Woodcutter, the first pub where a pint is served with an axe. This is the place to be for a liberating activity with friends or colleagues (it would be a tad suspicious to do this by yourself, wouldn’t it?). No logging experience? No worries. Thanks to the experienced axe masters of the house, the task at hand will be child's play for everyone. If you have an axe to grind, you know which bar to pick.

axe throwing at Woodcutter

Spend quality time with a quality cat

Fancy something fluffier? Welcome to Saint-Gilles at cat bar Le New Chattouille. Here, you’ll be kindly tolerated by a dozen four-legged friends. These cuties are great company! And if you sense a strong connection with any of these fluffy beasties, they can be adopted. This seemingly innocent bar visit could be a game changer.     

Read and/or buy a book

A rather curious fact in times of digital drift and online buying compulsion: bookstores are thriving in Brussels! In the Tour & Taxis neighbourhood, Replica is a welcome newcomer. They serve tasty coffee and compelling reading material: a perfect match. Or rather… one for the books! 

Herbes Folles in the Saint-Guidon neighbourhood of Anderlecht, Tram{e} in Forest and BXL Central [Chez PIAS] also opted for this magic formula, whether or not in combination with plants and plates. This is where bookworms meet up in a casual bar setting. 

Buy highly personalised sneakers

Looking for a hip restaurant where you can customise sneakers? Search no more and head over to The Sneakers Café at the Petite Rue des Bouchers, just off the Grand Place. If the shoe fits, buy it! 

interior of the Sneakers Café

Sing out loud

Offering karaoke is not the boldest move for a bar owner, but it depends on how you do it. If you do it right, you'll get everyone up and singing for all they're worth! That's what BOA Karaoke Room in the Saint-Jacques neighbourhood has clearly proven. Here you don't have to listen to any old person singing their heart out; you can book a private room for you and your friends.

one of Boa Karaoke Room's privatisable rooms

Buy plants or design

Sometimes, we ought to take more time to fully appreciate the merchandise. And what better way to do this than by being totally immersed in the decor while having a drink? 

After a visit to LuLu Home Interior & Café in the Canal or Châtelain quarter, you might feel tempted to add a designer chair to your living room. Experiencing atmospheric design in the midst of various goodies is also what Living Room in the European quarter and Marina Bautier's universe in Forest are all about. 

At coffee bar GRUUN on Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés, you can hook up with a gang of cool houseplants that would love to sample your tap water. 

Do the washing

In the laundry list of reasons to visit bars, this one takes the biscuit! Near the stock exchange (no link to laundering anything else, of course), you’ll find Wasbar, a concept that has drifted over from the Flemish cities. This beautiful, spacious bar has three rooms where you can eat, drink, and wash in peace. What more do you need? 

bar and washing machines in the laundry bar

Play a game

Whether you’re a seasoned geek or someone with an outgoing inner child, we all love to play. In Brussels, you can play your cards right (or wrong) in more than one bar or board game. 

In the Châtelain neighbourhood, you can visit La Luck, a playful good-food brasserie with Canadian roots (yep: poutine and maple syrup). The game guides will help you master the rules of more than a hundred games. 

Le Bar à Jeux can be found near Forest Park. It’s an ideal spot for lovers of beer and board games. You can also have a speciality beer while you play in the city centre, at Kings & Queens Café.  
PC gamers, in turn, find refuge at Meltdown Bar in the university district.

Get your bike or mixer repaired

Say no to waste and planned obsolescence; objects deserve multiple lives! Take your broken items to the nearest repair café

Bike bars also reflect the current zeitgeist. Get your bicycle fixed over a refreshing coffee or sustainable meal at Cyclovia in Ixelles and Tandem in Saint-Josse.

in front of the facade of Tandem Bike Café

Do something artistic

The C. RAMIC Art Café is located near Place Eugène Flagey. This art café saw the light of day back in 2002, long before concept bars became a thing in Brussels. The principle is simple: you buy a ceramic mug, plate or piggy bank and then let your painting talent do the rest. A few days later, you can pick up your creation fresh from the kiln. Especially children are fond of this creative spot that is midway between an artist's studio and a restaurant. 

interior of C. Ramic Art Café