Tag Archives: bars

Spotted by Locals

So the nice folks over at Spotted by Locals are sharing the Brussels love this week. Their City of the Week is Brussels and to celebrate they’re offering their iPhone app guide for free until Friday (usually costs $3.99). I downloaded it yesterday and gave it a little test run. Here are the results.

SpottedbyLocals

The app is easy to use, with lists of places around Brussels sorted by categories like bars, restaurants, music, shopping, etc. You can also view the featured locations on a map or by searching nearby. Each entry has a short review from the Spotted by Locals team, address, hours and other useful info.

SpottedbyLocals app             SpottedbyLocals app

The list of bars is pretty decent and includes some popular spots like Bar Beton, Chez Franz and L’Ultime Atome. The restaurant list is okay with reviews of places like Kokuban, Ici and Toukoul but is missing some of my favorites and generally more up-scale eateries.

I like that they have a list dedicated to coffee & tea, as a good cup of coffee isn’t always easy to find. There is also a list of spots to relax around Brussels, including parks, squares and other public spaces. The shopping list is rather limited but they make up for it with the more complete overview of arts, culture and music venues.

SpottedbyLocals app            SpottedbyLocals app

Overall the app is useful and allows you to make a selection of your favorites. This week Spotted by Locals is also offering free city apps for London and Berlin so get’em while they’re hot. If you roll old-school style, you can always download the PDF version of the Brussels city guide for a reduced price of $0.89.

There are several other smartphone apps for Brussels out there, many of them for free, which I posted about here and here a little while back. This latest one is a good addition to the mix!

P.S. and be sure to also check out The Spotted by Locals list of top Brussels blogs posted yesterday. Best of Brussels made the cut!

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Euro 2012

I know many of you are looking forward to the start of the European Football Championship this weekend. I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of football (or soccer as the American in me calls it :)), so I’ve brought in a friend to help me out with a preview. Thanks to Conor for guest posting today and his recommendations on some of the best places to watch games in Brussels. I’ve thrown in a couple of extra tips as well!

Over to you Conor…

 

From this Friday on there will be plenty of distracted people around Brussels. For twenty-four days and thirty-one matches, Europe’s attention will be on Poland and Ukraine. The European Football Championships kick off with Poland playing Greece and culminate just over three weeks later with the final in Kiev.

Brussels is a great place to catch a big sporting event. Pretty much everyone will know someone who will have a vested interest in every match. A bit of national fervour usually spices up the viewing experience and most of the expats tend to get more rabidly patriotic than usual when the big football matches are taking place.

So where best to check it all out? The various Irish pubs will be showing the majority of the matches which conveniently kick off at 6pm and 8:45pm. (Check out my previous post on some of the best pubs here.) The usual sports bars such as Fatboys will be predictably popular. In fact most of the bars around Place Luxembourg will have screens inside and out and will be even busier than usual.

There is normally a big screen put up on Place Flagey as the tournament enters the knockout stages. However if you want something different try some of the Portuguese bars in the Flagey area for a real partisan experience. Similarly ask one of the Polish people you know where they’ll be watching.

Who are the favourites? Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, in that order, look much better than the rest. Spain are World and European champions and are aiming to become the first national team to win three major international tournaments on the bounce. They have the best players, play the best football and have the best squad. They’re tired though and most of their stars have been playing more or less non-stop for the last four years. Nonetheless, it’ll be a surprise if they don’t make the final.

The Germans are the up-and-coming team, losing to Spain in the final of the 2008 European Championships and the semi-final of the World Cup in South Africa. They are one of the youngest squads with options in most positions and a very direct and exciting style of play. They do however have a slight weakness in the centre of defence. The Dutch were runners-up at the World Cup and have maintained their form since. Slight doubts persist about the depth of the squad and some of their best players are notoriously injury prone.

Of the other major teams Italy and England seem to be in relative turmoil, France are trying to rebuild their reputation after a calamitous World Cup, Portugal are a one-man show and Russia are the perennial dark horses.France have some talented attackers and could end up surprising people. Sit back and enjoy the show. I know I will, starting with the pick of the first matches, Germany against Portugal this Saturday evening.

***

Thanks so much Conor for that great run down on the teams!

For some of us (hint, hint me) where to watch the game is just as important as the game itself. Besides the many pubs around Brussels, there are a couple of other unique places to watch the Championship.

There is a special Euro 2012 Village set up in the newly renovated Autoworld Brasserie (formerly Espace53) in Park du Cinquantenaire during the tournament. The venue boasts both an indoor bar and restaurant with two maxi-screens and a large terrace with several more TV screens and outdoor bar. Join for the opening night party on Friday 8 June as of 6pm (VIP event in the afternoon including Parliament and Commission officials and staff) or visit the website to reserve a table or make a corporate booking for one of the matches.

The Aloft Hotel will also be showing all matches live on big screens in the W xyz Bar, with Happy Hour from 6-6:30 and 8-8:30pm.

May the best team win!

Images via Flagey, Euro 2012 Village and Aloft Hotel.

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Beer Notes

It’s time for the next installment of Beer Notes by my good friend Eoin. He knows his Belgian beer better than most, so I’m sure he’s got something good in store for us. For more recommendations, you can see his previous guest posts here and here. Over to you Eoin!

As the weather recently treated us to a little sunshine, I thought I would write a few notes on a beer created to refresh the working man in warmer days. You can’t always trust the Belgian weather, but I’ll share my thoughts on this beer with the hope that spring is just around the corner.

The Belgian beer style known as saison has its origins in the province of Hainaut, in the south-west of the country. This is a region known for industry and agriculture, and it is here that many different types of saison beers (or farmhouse ales) were first brewed. Traditionally these saison beers were brewed to quench the thirst of those who worked in the harvests in late summer. For this, the beer needed to be brewed in spring and maintain its flavor and freshness over the summer.

Of the various brands of the beer widely available now, one of my favorites (and my wife’s) is the St Feuillien Saison. The beer is brewed by the well-known St Feuillien brewery close to Mons, in the Hainut province, which also makes popular beers such as the St Feuillien Blonde.

The color of St Feuillien Saison when poured is amber and cloudy, with a creamy and well-packed head initially. There’s a myriad of aromas after the pour – hops, something slightly sharp, minerally, and even some citrus fruits. After that build up you’ll be glad to know that the taste is very satisfying! It has just the right amount of hops, not overpowering, with a touch of herbs somewhere in the background, balanced by a slight sharpness. And even though it has an alcohol content of 6.5%, this beer doesn’t leave you with an overwhelming alcohol aftertaste.

The simplicity of aromas and taste involved in the St Feuillien means it generally goes well with most foods. I am partial to drinking it as an aperitif. While you can buy it in most supermarkets, the Moeder Lambic bar in Brussels, which has bottles on offer, makes a great place to savor this unique beer, especially in warmer weather on the terrace.

All in all, a well-rounded and tasty beer, and winner of world’s best Saison Ale at the World Beer Awards to boot!

Thanks Eoin for introducing us to St Feuillien Saison. Here’s to spring and enjoying a glass soon!

Images via Wine Searcher, Beer Obsessed, Gli Beer and Event Seekr.

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Favorite posts

How time flies, especially when you’re having fun. Today marks six months since I started blogging about Brussels, so I wanted to do a little roundup of some of the top posts to celebrate. I’ve really enjoyed writing about my favorites and finding new places around the city – there really is so much if you just do a bit of exploring. The blog has also given me the chance to do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise, like attend the Smets Premium store opening party and share my tips with Agenda Magazine. I’ve also been lucky to meet some great new people through blogging, including fellow Brussels bloggers, other American expats and some new friends.

I’m blown away by how many people have visited the blog, so a huge thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read, leave comments and get in touch. I love sharing my favorite spots and tips on Brussels, but keep sending me your questions and recommendations for what you want to hear about!

Your favorite (most views) – The Ultimate Burger Guide

During the cold, dark days of January I had a craving for a hamburger. Not the assembly line, McDonald’s style, but a real, juicy, stacked-to-the-sky burger. Restaurants dedicated to making good burgers have popped up all over Brussels and many have shared their views on where to find the best one. I haven’t managed to try all the options yet (thank god for my waist line), but put together this top list based on my experiences and other blogger reviews. This post also generated the most comments and discussion – it seems burgers are a contentious subject! The burger battle continues, with a close tie between Ellis Gourmet Burger and Cool Bun for the number one spot.

My favorite – Dinner and a movie

  

For one of my first Foodie Friday posts I wrote about where to eat if you’re going to the movies in Brussels. Always a tricking one (do we eat before? after? just have a meal of popcorn and coke?), I found myself looking for good restaurant choices near cinemas. My top combination has to be Toison d’Or and Ars Vinorum afterwards for a delicious Italian meal. What would be yours? 

The husband’s favorite – Dreaming of a White Russian

And of course I couldn’t forget the husband. He has been a great sounding board for ideas and sometimes a helpful proofreader late at night, so I had to ask him which post was his favorite. His pick – having a cocktail at l’Archiduc. This is one of the best (and oldest) bars in Brussels and one of the few places to find a good cocktail, like a White or Black Russian. The husband loves a well-made drink and was glad to learn something new about Brussels – the Black Russian was actually invented here!

Here’s to the next six months and much more!

Images via Ellis Gourmet Burger, Atrium, Ars Vinorum and The Guardian.

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