I first visited this bar more than 10 years ago, and the décor was getting old then. It doesn't appear to have been replaced. However, that doesn't detract from the appeal of L'Archiduc. The cocktails are excellent if not cheap at around €10. There is quite often live jazz in the early evenings; this is replaced by a DJ who usually plays until the sun comes up.
I like to sit with friends on the balcony which runs around the top of L'Archiduc, making my way down the cocktail list. It's a great place to spend an evening.
Dress Code: No dress code, although some people dress up.
A former, historic jazz club that was designed to resemble an art deco crusieliner bar-in-the-round. A buzzer to get in only adds to the hidden pleasures behind the locked door. Very well-mixed drinks. Definitely an insiderish feel. occasionally live music is performed (March 27, 2006)
**Revisited in November 2011: went on the early side. the door was actually open so (disappointedly) no need need to ring the bell. Staff was a bit apathetic**
Dress Code: Nicely .casual dress.
Luckily we met VT's local, Melissa, one evening when we were in Brussels. She brought us to a pub which from the outside didn't really look spectacular. But as she was telling us about great cocktails we gave it a try. We didn't know then that the night had only started then ;)
Entering L'archiduc is like time travelling. You need all your courage to ring the door bell (!) but it's worth it. You enter (through a beautiful door) into an original Art Deco bar from the 1930s. The bar was opened in 1937 and nothing has changed since then (apart from the drinks I guess ;). There's a lovely balcony overlooking the ground floor, there's a piano many famous artists have used over the years, there's a great mixture of people here, from arty farty over sophisticated to local celebrities even. And they even play Swing and Jazz classics here - fantastic. We only came for one drink, we stayed until 3 in the morning and nobody cared that it was the night before New Year's Eve and that we would be suffering the day after!
The drinks are great, not the best cocktails I have ever had but I didn't care because of the great surroundings. My favourite drink was a longdrink even: Tatanka, Bison grass vodka with apple juice! The drink fit perfectly into this bar, just like a Martini or a Cosmopolitan. To order a Caipirinha here wouldn't have been authentic enough for me (plus they were a bit on the small side ;)
For me this is Europe's best bar! Well definitely the best I have been in (and there were many ;). Don't miss it if you are in Brussels!
Dress Code: If I had known before that we would be ending up in such a trendy place I would have dressed up. However, nobody cared that we came as we were, in hiking boots and winter clothes. I felt a little underdressed though.
There are concerts here too, make sure to see their website before you visit Brussels.
Being intruduced to this wonderful art-deco bar certainly was one of the highlights of my trip. The interior has to be seen to be believed. The artsy decor is matched by many artsy people, but not in a posh way of meaning. Very pleasant atmosphere. People dancing to jazz standards like Take Five -- very cool! The drinks are okay and quite reasonably priced for such a famous haunt. Do not be fooled by the small measures -- my caipirinha was small in serving but quite concentrated in content!
Dress Code: Anything goes, but try to meet the artsy-studentsy-intellectual style of the majority of guests in order to blend in well!
To enter this establishment, you have to ring the bell, even at 5:00 in the afternoon. However, once you're inside, you find yourself in a unique ambiance. It's rather quiet and jazzy, a good place for those of you who dream of finishing off the evening with a bang, whilst comfortably ensconced in an old leather armchair. The grand piano still attracts a few amateurs certain evenings when the establishment is crowded. This is definitely a place to visit to finish a long, romantic discussion for instance.
On the other hand, I read a lot of negative comments of foreign visitors who went there. Yes it's true, the service is quite slow, but there's a reason for that: it's so popular amongh the inhabitants of brussels, so they are very busy serving people allllllllllll the time. Be patient! Enjoy the relaxed/funky/motown atmosphere. For me it is one of the best places in town. But than again, I am not a tourist :p
When Melissa took me to the Archiduc, I was sure it would be a cool place and right it was!
It was a real suprise that behind the weird blue painted facade, was such a tasteful pub.
Well... the gate at the entrance lift a tip of the veil :)
The Art Deco interior is fabulous and the tissue of the seats reminds me to something of late 50ties or the perhaps the 70ties, I coudn't figure out right away. I found out eventually it was still the original from when the pub started in 1937!
In the middle of the place was a covered up piano.
"It is Jacques Brel's piano" Melissa confined me. "Also, it is very calm right now, it is not late yet, but sometimes this place is really crowded and you can enjoy music performances. Even Arno is almost a regular here"
I don't know if she is right if it was his but I am sure many famous jazz lovers musicians have played on it.
(Arno... for those who don't know him, can visit his website at www.arno.be. He is a famous Belgian music artist. I guess I don't need to explain who Jacques Brell is ?)
The coctails in the bar were plenty, what a list! and so hard to choose from!
Above the huge choice, I must tell you there were really made with the right proportions... !
Too many times I had coctails that you hardly could call such, but here in Archiduc you get the real ones!
For 7 Euro a piece you should!
Dress Code: Relax! :)
I had had a great time here. I caouldn't belive how friendly (and beautiful) the clientele were!
I had just arrived in Belgium and took a wonder to find somehwere to have a couple of drinks! This hit the nail on the head providing a great party atmosphere with some quality music and beutiful girls!
Staff were friendly and as always the selction and standard of beers was EXCELLENT!
see my pics here http://lifeofriley2006.blogspot.com/2006/06/night-to-remember.html
Dress Code: anything goes really
Finally, I have made to l'Archiduc. I just needed the right excuses (foreign friend in town, looking for a great place to have a drink) and I was not disapointed!
Located in the St-Gery neighbourhood (which has already a nice supply of trendy cafes) behind an unassuming door, hides one of Brussels' coolest bar. Ring the bell and enter this beautiful art deco gem. Originally a piano-bar built in 40's, the place is all in curves with a second floor overlooking the ground-floor, just like a mini-theatre (so people could watch - and ear - the musicians from above). An old piano, said to be Jacques Brel's own, sits at the place of honour and although I have not seen it, I heard amateurs are sometimes playing with it. Nice cosy armchairs, a mix of jazz, acid-jazz, cool electro and dimmed lights really add to the cozy feeling. Frankly, it was hard to leave. the prices are a little on the expansive side but you feel so faboulus ordering a cocktail in that kind of place and the bar team really knows what it's doing with its shakers!
The crowd ? A mix really! 40something bachelors on a night out ordering spirits, young artsy type hanging at the bar, seasonned travellers who have heard of the place, lovey-dovey couples at tables for two... A pretty classy crowd but not discriminating!
I went back the day after to try their "Jazz apres le shopping". Rue Dansaert being where all the famous Belgian designers have established their boutiques, my friend after a hard day of window-shopping (our wallets couldn't afford it), we decided to get warm and enjoy some live music. Soon, a glass of mulled wine and the smoth sound of jazz was just conspiring to prevent me from getting up. I also actually encounter the owner's wife at the toilets (they were there to check on the band playing) and she's an absolutely lovely lady. It starts at 5PM until 7.
They are doing also a "Take 5" session every Sundays.
Words to the wise : be there at least half-an-hour early. It's very popular and you might not be able to find a seat.
Dress Code: You don't have to but it would be be a shame not to dress up.
L'Archiduc is an art deco jazz bar and a fantastic place to get cosy and indulge in a martini or two.
We spent way too long here, having a dinner of vodkatini's and complimentary peanuts...
Really loved the atmosphere here, service was friendly and the drinks were well made and evil!
Dress Code: well, they let us tourists in...
The archduc has great word of mouth fame and I think tourists are finding it more and more. Still, you have to ring the bell to get in and then disuades a percentage of people right off the bat. You go to the archduc often at the end of an evening (or after a long meal). Generally, you go with your amour of the moment. and sit in on of the cozy dimly lit nooks where you can lean into the shadows for intimate conversation or a smooch. On the other hand, I've had some nice tete a tete gatherings with girlfriends as well when we've needed a quiet chat over a fabulous drink. There is also live music on certain nights. Typically piano (since it is offically a piano bar) but I've also seen acapelo singing. The atmosphere is art deco, trendy, and artsy. The drinks are great. I highly recommend the Vodka Gimlet and the upstairs tables are the best for ambience.
Dress Code: You can wear jeans but it's certainly not in line with the posh artsy set that goes here.
Jazz-pianist Stan Brenners opened this gorgeous bar in the 1940s; in the 1980s, a group of trendy young things renovated and reopened the place, turning it into the quintessential Brussels nightspot.
Carouse at the bar or take your place behind the piano if you dare. There is usually live jazz on Sundays at 5pm, and on Saturdays there's Le Jazz après shopping (Jazz after shopping), which you can enjoy for free.
The owners offer excellent wines and fabulous cocktails.
Dress Code: Casual
Un endroit où il fait bon aller savourer un de leurs coktails....allez j'ose: préparé par un des plus beaux serveurs de la ville!
Et le dimanche concert live!
Dress Code: pas de dresscode pour l'Archiduc.
Bon, on est tout de même dans le quartier branché de Bruxelles donc pas d'excès si vous ne voulez pas détonner!
You have to ring the door bell to enter even if it's still late afternoon!
Once inside what an atmosphere. Rather cosy and calm in a jazzy tone, just the right place to end a romantic evening...
Dress Code: No jeans!
The coolest bar in all of Belgium, this classic near the Bourse has to be seen to be believed. Ring a bell on the street and you enter a steel bubble swing door like entering a bank. This spins you out into an art nouveau room with high ceilings, half-moon balcony, pillars to the roof, a piano in the middle and tiny corner bar. Your fellow drinkers are architects, intellectuals and artistic beauties and the bar-staff know their music as well as their martinis, without being pretentious. Anything from trip-hop to country plays until late and you only get your bill when you leave. Famous for jazz sessions too, the owner might tell you about the times Miles Davis used to come in and jam. Definitely worth checking this place out.
Dress Code: No jeans, No trainers
Anything with a bit of style
Behind the blue facade, a nice Art Deco interior with high ceilings and a half-circle balconey. In the middle : a band playing jazz music (Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm). Good atmosphere. Very trendy.