Tavernes and regular pubs, Antwerp
I'd already discovered Cafe Corso on a previous visit, but that had been an early afternoon one and so got written up as a "Thing to Do" when visiting the St Anna Tunnel. That time round I'd found it a cosy, friendly, little bar and so I was delighted to find it was equally cosy and friendly for an evening visit.
This was busiest of the smaller pubs I dropped into this trip and despite it being a damp evening its terrace was fully occupied by what were obviously a group of regulars, Inside too most of the tables were taken and of course there were the two guys sitting at the bar - I don't know whether this should be written up as a "Local Custom" since it seemed that every pub had exactly two guys at the bar!
Being busy gave the place a laid-back buzz and despite being kept fully occupied the bartender was always to hand when my beer needed refreshing.
With reasonably-cheap beer and the local atmosphere to soak up I ended up having three or four here and was so laid-back myself I totally forgot to take any evening pics - HA!
Atlas is another little local pub that I found within the immediate environs of my hotel. On a quiet Monday night my presence added 50% to the customer numbers - the other two being the requisite pair of guys sitting at the bar chatting to the attractive young barmaid.
When I walked in I got a friendly enough greeting from the barmaid and nods from the guys What beer I ordered I can't remember but it must have been reasonably-priced otherwise I would have. The decor, with its modern lighting, gave the impression that the pub had aspirations to be trendy but fortunately was succeeding miserably and so came across as the laid-back style of boozer that I much prefer.
Once again, nothing particularly exciting happening, although the terrace looks an inviting one for a summer afternoon escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
"300 Beers, 300 Stories" is the motto of 't Antwaerps Bierhuiske and I got the impression the barman knows them all, intimately. Despite its reputation as a temple devoted to beer this is in fact a cracking pub with a very local feel to it. As to be expected the decor is mostly breweriana but tastefully done and the hop vines hanging from the ceiling give it a comfortable sense of compactness. The hundreds, if not thousands, of gleaming glasses stacked ready behind the bar, along with those hanging from the ceiling racks, tempt one to make this an all night destination to work through the extensive beer menu.
The real star of the show is the attentive, and knowledgeable, barman who was more than happy to come out to go through the list with one of the other customers and offer his personal recommendations - in English. He even gave directions for 't Pakhuis brewery which is within walking distance before returning behind the bar to let the customer sample the product.
Overhearing their conversation settled my choice for my next beer too - den Bangelijke, which turned out well worth sampling.
Tempted though I was to make an evening of it, it was getting to that time where I needed to eat something substantial but it's definitely on my list for a future visit - a proper one!
One of my criteria when choosing my hotel on this trip (Oct 2014) was its neighbourhood location with its wealth of little bars and local restaurants.
Pretty much next door was 't Chauffeurken and so that was the obvious place to start my investigations.
On a damp Sunday evening it wasn't particularly busy with only a couple of guys, who looked like part of the fixtures, sitting at the bar passing the time of day. I got a friendly welcome from the landlady and with half-a-dozen beers on tap I was immediately at home. A couple of La Chouffes went down well, served in the appropriate glass, and if I remember correctly were about 2 euros each and so very reasonably-priced.
Nothing too exciting but I do believe they have a bit of music on Saturday nights.
Despite it's faded appearance Bier Central is actually a relatively recent addition to the Antwerp pub scene and despite some negative reviews I kinda liked the place.
This is a cavernous building which is obviously aimed to try and capture as wide a market as possible and offers something for everyone. Because of its proximity to my hotel I found myself dropping in at various times of the day and even continued my little VT meet with Kirsti (Kshezz) and Ad one evening. Sitting at the bar, service was always prompt, the beers dispensed in the correct glasses and price-wise, although slightly expensive, weren't too outrageous.
The couple of times I popped in during the day my beers were always accompanied by a bowl of interesting nutty things which was refreshed with each subsequent beer and so made for an ideal stop-off for an afternoon snack.
The Irish Times pub was established in on 26th July 1996.The idea behind it was to bring to Antwerp a traditional Irish Public House,in which it could offer its clients the best in sporting events and live music from Irish and International artists every friday and saturday night.There is always a loud and lively atmosphere here and the live bands play on till the late hours at weekends.Open from 2pm till late.food served daily.
There are two other Irish Times pub's in Belgium,located in Charleroi and Hasselt.
Dress Code: Casual.
I walked and drove by this place many times, always thinking to myself that it looked like a good place. I called some of my local friends for a night out and suggested this place, each one replied that it was a great place and one of their favorites.
The atmosphere is very relaxed, with plenty of tables and sitting area. If there was music, it was soft enough that we could not hear it over out regular voices. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. They do offer good food, but they are simple hearty local dishes.
You come here for the ability to have conversations and try the beers. They have one of the best selections in the city. There are more than a dozen on tap and several dozen more to choose from in the bottle.
Dress Code: The dress code is very casual.
This bar has a nice interior design, full of old, nostalgic posters.
You can pop in for a snack as well, though I never tried one.
All kinds of people you find here. Just a great, quiet spot to have a chat!
Dress Code: God! Please be yourself....
This pub is the Antwerp's best kept secret. Fortunately, Rudy (diamonddog) can't keep secrets and showed this bar to a few VTers that wanted to drink and didn't feel like walking around the city for the 10th time.
Het Zand is a tiny pub that serves pretty good Guiness beer, it is locatef right across from the famous tunnel which takes you all the way accross the river. If you're lucky you may find an empty table at this bar, although usually it is really packed with people, especially late in the evening.
With all the delicious beer Belgium produces there is still place for an irish pub. The taste of Ireland is located at ´t Zand. They serve the real irish beers like Guiness, Kilkenny and Murphys.
It is always crowded in this pub, so it seems there is a market for this beer, and that is not surprising with the good taste.
Drinking between Maria, Saint Gertrude and Sainte Helene, it is possible in the pub Het Elfde Gebod. At the left side, behind the big Cathedral you can find this pub full of Sacred statues. It is really worth a visit!
' t Pakhuis, meaning the warehouse, is located in a building dating back to 1850. It was a warehouse near the port in the South of Antwerp, until this port was closed in the middle of the last century. In 1996 it was transformed into the House Brewery ' t Pakhuis, the first and the only house brewery in Antwerp.
What to drink here ?
Nen Bangelijke (A frightning one), the proud piece of the brewery is a lightly ambercoloured beer of 9,5% alc.vol.
This little Swiss style tavern is situated at the edge of the shopping area "De Wilde Zee" (The Wild Sea). Though very tiny with its eight tables and a few stools at the bar , like a genuin Swiss mountain cabin it is very cosy. The service is friendly enough. Due its situation it is a good place for a stop over when one is shopping in the nearby streets. The prices are democratic (three sorts of champagne, respectively of 40,50 and 65 ? are the most expensive) and the range of things to eat and drink is ample. The menu is adorned with several photos of the famous mountain and some explanations about its history. In the tavern itself a few photos adorn the walls.
Nightlife in Antwerpen is booming like nowhere else in Belgium. The town has an amazing amount of cafés, bars, discotheques and (night)clubs. The liberated (almost as tolerant as the Dutch) makes the atmosphere very loosened up and that becomes only better after drinking a few tasty Belgian beers (among it the best beers in the world). Sad that some Dutch spoil the fun by doing things that they don't dare to do at home and on behalve of them my appologises.
This is a corner pub that I happened to wander into for a beer or ten. The clientele was local and very friendly. They didn't play billiards very well, but played good music. The English spoken here was no better than my Dutch so we ended up speaking kind of half and half. The billiards cost a euro, beers are like 1,40 or so, not expensive. The locals seemed to like to talk to new people. They don't serve food and its cash only.
Dress Code: Anything goes.